Trump Country Road

From Issue 1: Shell Shock

Michael Lewis 22|Nashville, TN|@myylomusic

Four of us drove the Trump Country Road to Dollywood last week. In a Texas-bought jeep, we sped eastward on the 40 freeway out of Nashville. Mexican San Diego, Jewish Los Angeles, and two from small-town Christian Texas were buckled up, chattering away about the impending election. We zoomed past little hovels, hills painted with burgundy fall, and small outposts swamped by fast food chains and gas stations.

Halfway through, I told my friends to pull over: A Subway sandwich was calling my name and what kind of God-fearing soul doesn’t answer The Call. Off of a nameless exit, we found a Subway attached to a gas station convenience store. Six-foot tall truckers with crooked, unsmiling teeth and camouflage hoodies stalked the chip aisle. A mother with road trip hair purchased sour patch kids for her daughter. Everyone was white.

I walked up to the Subway counter, ordering before striking up a conversation with the pasty, pock-marked server. There was a “Now Hiring” sign posted on the register and I joked that my commute would be be well-over an hour and a half if I took the job. He told me he’d make it work for me because he could use the help: he worked 70 hours a week at the gas station Subway and had 12 hours of class at the half-hour away state college. I admired him. I mourned him. He deserved more than plastic gloves and passionless sandwiches.

While he made his 10,000th sandwich for Mexican San Diego, I made a bee-line for the bathroom. The six-foot tall truckers were pissing out their last 9 hours on the road. I imagine that they had probably never seen a faggoty Jew like me: ripped-up women’s overalls, loose curls, a Top Man button-up hugging my 120 pounds. Hate crimes happen to boys like me in bathrooms like this by men like that. I prayed for safety with my fly down.

My friends and I decided to eat our sandwiches speeding down the Trump Country Road. Many miles. Many hovels. A lot of talking. Less talking. Then, mostly thinking. Thinking to myself, “What the hell do those people want from life?”

Now, I wish we would have stopped to ask.

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