Pedascule, recently Bachelored of Science, steers the old Jetta through the currents of Interstate 79 South. The Great Erie Lake falling away behind him. The future all around him, and now, just the distant hum of his tires beneath his feet, hummmmhnh. Five years of Higher Education and Internships and Kissing Asses and Now He’s Free to begin. He thinks This, now, this, this this this is the first day, for the first actual time, of the rest of my life. The rest has all been practice. The rest: clods of dirt and roots and small boulders, aggregate, moss and rot, bones and dust and layers and layers and layers of ashes: a base at the base of the rest of my life. This, now, this. Life. Cruise controlling through the slow rest of the world, he lights a smoke, flicks the ash towards the windshield, and watches it lift through the slightly open window. Whoosh, he thinks, though in fact the motion is without discernable noise.
Five years of college fall into and out of his head and that was not a life of moments, but movement, not a series of experiences, but an experiment in being human – the early mistakes of his Freshman year crash up against viewing the incoming classes making the same mistakes; the moment he crawled out of his parents’ brand-new Jetta and climbing the New York Hillside to his first college dormitory flows into his final hungover middle finger to the entire temporary hometown. The empire of books and computers and small late fees crumbles. He tames his mind’s chimera of lectures and Buddhists and breasts, soft underbellies of institutions and marvelously frail coeds. Hidden fistpumps of triumphs and regrets meld into one another and fade away like so many pebbly ripples in the vast and breathless waves of a hurricane. Fighting the urge he’s been fighting since the West Coast called him back and called him back and finally offered him the salary he’d anticipated, he refuses to even think the tune “California, here I come,” and shakes his head hard against the notion. Pedascule, B.S., he thinks to himself, slams his palm against the C.D. player, flicks his butt out the window and jams, baby, yeah yeah yeah.
“Yeah, yeah, hell yeahyeahyeah,” he says, to the tune of the c.d. “Yeah.” He lights another cigarette and fake flicks ashes through a crack in the driverside window. “Uhm, uhmuhmuhm. Yeah, yeahyeah.” The sun floats on up there. Floats bright and springy on a slow-moving day, the road pulling along underneath him. The world funnelling him on and on while the flowers and the Earth and the future open up all around, a bowelly, soddy smell – silt dredged up from a slow-slow-slow-moving stream. He blows smoke, pounds his palms on the handed-me-down steering wheel of the Old Jetta, a graduation present, alongside a few thousand miles worth of gas money. Better fuel up. The Jetta pops and swerves beneath the great big blue and green world, the sun high overhead, the crest and troughs among and between the I-79 Southbound stream. The Jetta hops onto an off-ramp, into a parking lot. Pedascule swipes Pedascule Sr.’s credit card for a carton of smokes and a bottle of rum, asks for a bar and gets pointed just around the bend there. He thanks the old man and flirts with himself in the tall glass door on the way out – Sharp, he thinks, and scratches the fifty dollar mess of hair back into place.