Skip to main content

The Shiny Side Stayed Up





From high in the passenger seat of a Peterbilt truck, the featureless expanse of the Great Plains stretched to the horizons. Beside me The Cisco Kid, a Canadian trucker, my ride, a lonely soul who spotted me hitchhiking in Sacramento, thumped the steering wheel, keeping time. It was March, and Cisco — I never learned his real name — kept the cab cold and the music loud, just above the CB chatter.
“Ooh, I'm driving my life away, looking for a better way, for me,” Cisco sang in his scratchy voice. It was the hundredth time I’d heard Eddie Rabbitt’s song since my road adventure started.
Behind us an 18-wheeler carried a load of concentrated juice. Cisco drove and drank sweet creamy coffee while I smoked and told stories to keep him awake. Eddie Rabbitt was fading away, but never very far. Cisco reached for the CB and increased the squelch.
“Breaker 1-9, Westbounders on the I-80, how’s it look over your shoulder?”
“Lake Rat here. Y’all look good back that way,” a disembodied voice said. “Copy?”
“Cisco Kid copies.” He took a gulp of sugary caffeine juice. “Clean and green your way, but smile and comb your hair east of Des Moines. 4-10?”
“10-4. Keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down.”
The Cisco Kid winked as he hung up the mic. “Pizza and Murder by noon.”
“Chicago?”
“That’s right, boy. Chicago. The Windy City. Find me some country music.”
I gave a silent groan and fiddled with the dial. Seconds later Eddie Rabbitt’s voice returned. “Well, the midnight headlight finds you on a rainy night…”
“Great job!” Cisco said. “Yeah.”
“Gotta keep rollin',” Eddie sang. “Ooh, I’m driving my life away…”
Two thousand miles we’d come together, and I was far, but still nowhere further. I rummaged for my notebook and wrote a couplet.
“Looking for a better way,” Eddie sang, and the Cisco Kid grinned. I smiled back, inhaled toxic smoke, and watched the snow-covered cornfields shoot past.
“Looking for a sunny day,” I whispered along.
He’d heard me anyhow.
“That’s right!” he said. “Gotta keep rollin’.”


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Nwahulwana

Wazimbo's "Nwahulwana" Found this on a German site: Warum wanderst du von Bar zu Bar? (“Why do you wander from bar to bar?”) So, the first time I heard this I thought I recognized some Portuguese, but it’s illusory; the language is actually Ronga. I suppose it was just the echoes of Brazilian music. I found, though, a translation into Portuguese, which I will translate to English, but here’s the thing: this transcription of the words isn’t correct. Also, I’m almost certain I hear “vôce” which means “you” in the lyrics. First, “nwahulwana” itself is a soft expression for prostitute, hence “night bird” is the poetic meaning. I thought it was a love song. My wife thought it was a prayer (probably because of the way Wazimbo lifts his eyes to the sky when he sings “Maria”). So, it is something like this, but there are mistakes, because the lines don’t match up. Also, I wonder if he is singing “Nwahulwana” when the song starts - . It’s hard to know since I don’t

Script Abbreviations in Screen Writing

SCRIPT ABBREVIATIONS  ELS extreme long shot  MLS medium long shot  LS long shot  MS medium shot  MCU medium close-up  CU close-up  ECU extreme close-up  OS over-the-shoulder shot  2-S or 3-S two-shot or three-shot  POV point of view shot  ZI or ZO zoom in or zoom out  INT interior  EXT exterior  SOT or SOF sound on tape or sound on film BG background  SFX or F/X special effects (can be either sound or visual)  VO voice-over  OSV off-screen voice  DIS dissolve  MIC microphone  VTR videotape  Q cue (as in cue talent)  ANNCR announcer  SUPER superimposition

My review of The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood My rating: 5 of 5 stars Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is brilliant literary science fiction. I will discuss the literary aspects of it in a moment, but first it’s important to place it squarely in the domain of science fiction. First, under Darko Suvin's definition of sci fi, the question is whether there is cognitive strangeness and nova. They are very apparent, specifically the new assignment of gender roles, along with the reason they exist. The nova introduced are ecological disasters, an enormous rise in failure to Gileadeans to sexually reproduce, and the imposition of a fundamentalist government that divides women by their function, entirely controlling them. We know (again from the lecture) that Atwood was responding to societal changes, such as the rise of the Moral Majority, which lends a spooky plausibility to the strangeness, making it not so strange and that much scarier. Delany's definition is wider. He as