Day One

Today I wore my best suit, fresh pressed and cleaned. The ride through Hooverville in a truck bed stacked with fresh-ripped rail ties did manage to dirty it some, but I have decided not to let it ruin my disposition. I am starting a new phase of my life -- I should feel good. Looking good is a plus.

The squint-eyed redneck also in the bed certainly gave me a perplexed look when he saw me hitching my thumb their way, all the greater when the truck pulled to the side and let me on. He asked me just what I think I'm doing, here. I told him my story: the job, the fall, the lack of meaning.

He doesn't see terribly impressed. This is a shame. You tell someone you are searching for the meaning of life, some reason behind 'it all' and all you receive are blank, well-meaninged blinks in your direction.

"Whyn't ya look fer the meanin of 'ad hoc'?"

"Ad hoc?" I must admit, I never dreamed of hearing latin from his brittle lips.

"Yar. Sum funny-soundin word I herd once. Never knew what it waz talkin bout, though."

A sunburned youth craned his head out of the cab. "You talkin ferin at the per guy?" He winked at me, cranking a thumb at the older man. "Don't mine him -- outta his head, mosta the time."

"Fishbolls, too." He grinned at me, teeth like shattered candies. "Those'ns with the whole-round bottoms -- how they s'possed ta balance, like that?"

I thanked them for their input and waved at the driver to let me out before they banked the next turn.

The spraypaint-splattered sign, or rather what was left of it, at the edge of the road announced: "Welcome to H ------, E ----, L -----."

The End

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