Fragments of the world, cowboy edition


“Gonna need to stop for a squirt of gas,” I said, sheepish.

Gas was more expensive than in the US and for me, every centime counted.  In my emails to Banjoman, Fritolay and Genome Project, my riders for that Tuesday morning, I harped on like I always did, no matter if someone was a repeat offender of mine or someone totally new: “NO Canadian money.  It’s $40 US only, which you can get at the ATM when we stop for gas in Vermont.”

You never knew which fragment of the world would be showing up for a lift, and more importantly what currency they’d try to pin on you.

But there I was stopping for gas in Montreal, and I could really use some capital input.  I turned to Banjoman.  His lips were red and supple.  I wondered if he wore kilts in his spare time.

“I’ve got some Canadian cash on me if you want.”

I felt irritated and glad.  “Have you got ten?”

We pulled up at a tiny station in Westmount that specialized in servicing Audis.  “Dix dollars pour l’essence s’il vous plait,” I bumbled.

“You’re in Westmount,” gas man said, eyeing my Massachusetts inspection sticker.  “We speak English.”

“Tenner, then,” I said, hitching my star to a cowboy accent.

A cowboy who drank loads of Peach Snapple while driving her fast car with the turbo engine, married to a good ol’ gal, and forcing pliable riders to listen to podcasts on the long drives, allowing them to eat crackers in the car.  The cowboy who wore flipflops whenever possible usually but more so since hearing a song about a man having a breakdown in New York City and flipflops posing as evidence.  This cowboy who instigated an occasional hookup between the riders but mostly pretended she was Switzerland.  She was Switzerland of the South, the East, the North and the West, depending on who all she was driving that weekend.  That’s the kind of cowboy she was.

A horn honked behind me, a rare occasion not in Massachusetts.  Banjoman said, “We can leave now.  We got about 7 seconds of gas.”

I turned my flicker on, and got back on the boulevard heading East before ultimately turning South.

What do ya think?

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