Three days now since we stopped for souvenir hats and lighter fluid at that place near where the river ran dry. I gave the guy at the counter all of my Canadian coins and he didn’t object to their use of wildlife imagery. Even placed three of their little-too-shiny pennies in his mouth and swallowed. Or at least gulped real hard.
The hat came with an extra sweatband in a plastic bag. He pointed it out to me, rolled up behind the rim or else I would’ve missed it. He did so without making a sound. Even fresh, a sweatband from down south is slightly yellow under the Yankee sun. Still, I forgive him. He had a nice little shop with plenty of alligator cartoons on the walls and no loose children to make you feel guilty about taking up the government’s offer of free sterilization.
The hat, which I’m looking at right now in the mirror, reads the same forward or back: PROPERTY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH – NO REFUNDS. I squeezed out all the lighter fluid in his parking lot, lit a match and burned away most of my footprints. I gave him a fake name, but wish I had picked something less flamboyant than Floyd.
Seventeen more hours til the coast.