their cars are a long way away.
a whole day of hard driving away.
the bus ride from georgia to missouri is just intimidating.
it is hard to fathom covering all those miles on foot...
a whole day on a bus.
it gives the veterans pause.
and they have done it before.
i can only imagine what is going thru the minds of the virgins.
getting off the bus in union city was an eye opener.
there is a special kind of humidity
that haunts the banks of the mississippi.
it is as if the water and the air exist in a spectrum
and there is no line that clearly delineates where one ends
and the other begins.
the humidity is a suffocating, crushing force.
it is a living thing that sucks the oxygen from your lungs
and boils the sweat on your skin.
it is a hot python,
constricting your entire body.
the searing sun, directly overhead
completes the sensation of being steamed in an oven.
the jovial mood of the bus evaporated in an instant
as the reality of their situation was the only thing that was crystal clear....
they had left the world they knew 300 miles away
parked in a beanfield on top of sand mountain.
tomorrow they would be enveloped by a malicious, destroying force
hell bent on breaking their will
and eliciting that phone call that would bring rescue from its clutches.
and they knew that tomorrow was going to be hotter still.
as forecasts are wont to do
and not for the better.
in a killing climate.
beneath a killing sun.
i wonder how they sleep tonight.
are they restlessly tossing?
are they staring into darkness,
listening to the clock ticking away their last hours,
like the condemned awaiting execution at dawn?
do nightmare monsters clutch at them,
dragons with flaming breath to scorch their flesh?
do they try to flee,
arms and legs moving as if in molasses,
the pavement like a griddle
melting shoes and blistering feet?
will the nightmares of their tonight
be any worse than the nightmares of their tomorrow?
for, step on that ferry they will.
and into a day,
that the people in that other world are warned to stay indoors to avoid
they will spread themselves out into that long thin line.
and off they will go on their impossible quest.
seeking to perform an extraordinary feat.
if it was easy everyone would do it.
they have seen the thing
that is waiting for them on the open roads.
but none have yet faltered.
they have come to find their measure
on the cruelest of scales.
and find it they will.
to those about to fry;
we salute you.