Glenn Chamberlain, "Country Road" (ca 1934)
Glenn Chamberlain, Country Road (ca 1934)
Can a Game Be Literature?

Mark's Pages

College students near the end of a cross-country road trip, daybreak, truckstop diner, Needles, California. Bleary, unshaven, red-eyed. Home is two or three hours ahead.

Truckers: beer bellies, overalls, caps with truck part brand names. Short hair. The room falls silent as the long-haired boys stagger to the counter. A kind of guarded hostility, not active, yet palpably disapproving.

Waitress with white blouse and name tag. Truck stop coffee, terse smile. "Ready to order?"

Smaller of the two boys picks his head up from where it's fallen to the counter. Blinks, barely awake. Answers in a voice as bleary as his eyes, "Yes, I'll have a cup of boiling water and two strips of raw bacon."

A pause as long as one heartbeat before the place explodes in riotous laughter. Perhaps to everyone's surprise it's friendly laughter, now. They've each felt exactly the same way, so that the unexpected joke forms a bond between them all.

"Where y'all in from?" And the morning is less like a roadside breakfast than a ritual breaking of bread.