1500 miles from home ⎯ now the van was running funny ⎯ still a long way to go. Better not press our luck. A quick pause at a roadside rest stop told us all we needed to know. The long way got longer. I eyed the corn, into the shop with ye, Chevy.
We killed time in the best way we knew how, cold Cokes in the warm sun. Oh hey, an antique shop ⎯ let’s pop in for a quick look-see. Much cooler inside. Mom and I browsed while Dad chewed the fat with the old man. Dad was always up for a chat.
The room, perfumed in age… old woods, motor oil, tanned hides; filthy pine floorboards caked with grime; shelves amassed in knick-knacks of every kind; steamer trunks of a bygone time. Cobwebs clung to stacks of tobacco tins. In one case, a death’s head pin – how surprising to see such a thing. Spoils of war, collected from the corpse of a dead German – affordable for those who enjoy the souvenirs of sin. I imagined some middle-American named Bill or Jim telling the proprietor to “wrap it up with those Bakelite plates and that hurricane lantern.” How casually it sat, embossed with a rictus, that grin, a grim reminder to some, a display piece for him. No one else seemed to care. I pretended I didn’t either.
We walked out empty-handed and into the still-warming day. Repairs made, once more on our way… 1500 miles from home and double that back. One day I’ll return with my own children. Will the pin still be there in that case? And, if it were, wouldn’t it look better at the bottom of the river? We crossed over the mighty Miss. Onto Illinois and all points east.
Davey Adams was born and raised in Southern California to a family of actors. Lifelong student. Collector of Associates Degrees and part-time jobs. Writer. Poet. Singer. AKA The Good Doctor. You can find him on Facebook, Instagram, and Bandcamp.