Thunder Bay © 1999 Mick Cusimano

Driving down the highway with my arms around a woman

We turn the corner and a black car turns behind us. Weíre being followed. Some one is stalking us on the dark back streets. Who is this sinister shadow following us? We pull over to the safety of the hot dog stand. Rayís hot dog standÖ.where everyone gathers on a summer night. We walk up to Ray. "Whatís new Ray?", we ask. "New York, New England, New Rochelle." Ray replies. We repeat the ritual every night. "Whatís new Ray?" Ray never runs out of new answers. "New Zealand, New Jersey, Newcastle." An electric sound interrupts Rayís witticisms. Itís the sound of guitars. Thereís a huge backyard party going on at the cottage down the street. Throngs of college kids and cases of beer. A band is playing on the roof. It looks like Alice Cooper. Heís got a boa constrictor around his neck and pours chicken feathers on the audience below. The crowd is loosing control going mad, mud wrestling with the mummy, mashing through the muck. Drunken college kids are throwing down their philosophy books and worshipping at the foot of a statue of Isis. A statue of Isis fashioned from cans of Molson Ale. The dean of the faculty of arts and sciences meets Hieronymous Bosch. The party is getting out of hand.

We jump into my cart for a spin down winding country roads. Just her, me, and the cricketsÖÖthe never ending crickets. Suddenly I jump out of the car and look the bewildered young woman in the eye. I look at her in the moonlight. I tell her we must grab the moment, this precious moment in life. Never forget what the poet said. "Life is only collection of those fleeting moments, those important little moments." The stars blink incessantly and the wind whisks through the fields of wheat. We look at each other. The crickets are chirping ÖÖthe never ending crickets. Then a howl. We turn around. There a pack of wolves in the road growling at us with their hungry red eyes. Weíre frightened, frozen. Finally I pick up a stone and throw it at the lead wolf, the leader of the pack. He bolts Into the fields followed by his auxiliary wolves.

We jump into the car and return to the safety of Rayís. . "Whatís new Ray?" "New Britain, New Canaan, New Hampshire." Everythingís new to Ray. To us itís the same old night.

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