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THREE STORIES

ONE

The irony was that this photo was meant to be of the open landscape, he and his companion just happened to be there.

He never spoke much, those days.

The pain was visible in his face; you could just feel the life he had lived, the shit he had seen, no words had to be uttered.

Moments of grief, of joy, of love, of despair; each etched with a unique line demarking the experiences. I knew nothing of those times, nothing of those elations and depressions; they went unspoken. There was no one with him, he had nowhere to return to, and he was probably en route to anywhere but he was going, you could see it in his eyes.

The wear on his face was almost echoed by the wear on his rusting Winnebago, leaving a trail of oil as the pair rolled, dripping, down the macadam across the Bible Belt.

It’s a lonely life he was living. Having lived the life he lived, seen the shit saw, felt the pain you could see, you couldn’t blame him and he didn’t want help on his journey. The hum and cough of the engine, the buzz of the road-under-wheel, the wind whistling through the inch-cracked windows, and the ever-changing images of what was in front and beside him, and that W-emblazoned truck were all that he had and all that he needed.

He was a simple man but had more history, trauma, and love spent than I could have ever dreamt.

He would never have wished his life on anyone but as the sun set at the close of every evening, he wished he could share the small, mundane moments with someone, again. The irony.

Story by Max Levine-Poch

TWO

This is Bill McGovern. Bill grew up in a small town in Oklahoma. He lived in a small, one story house with a little yard and a chicken coop. His parents, Wendy and Paul, never left the town, and therefore, Bill didn’t either. He went to school and had a pretty normal childhood. The thing about Bill was that he was always on his bike. Wherever he went into the town, Bill was always moving, either to the local ice cream shop or school playground. His view of the world never really stretched beyond his little town, though. It was his senior year of high school when he went on a school field trip to the local library. He was assigned a project on ancient Egypt, so while pulling out a book about the pyramids, a little rugged, blank-covered book fell out from behind. He opened it and saw pictures of all different places around the world with their locations written in messy handwriting below. Bill never thought places like this existed. His eyes widened with amazement, as he had never seen such beautiful images before. After that, Bill was inspired to go out and find these places. After graduation, he bought an RV and started traveling across the country. Much like when he was on his bike, he never stopped moving. It was his passion to travel endlessly. Since then, Bill has been from coast to coast multiple times, constantly discovering new, hidden places filled with so much beauty. This photo was taken on the side of the road in Colorado by his best friend whom he had met on a previous trip.

Story by Quinn Murphy

THREE

He’d been staring through the kitchen curtain every now and again for days, threatening himself to do it, and today he did: Sunk down in the burgundy seat of the Buick and shut himself inside, fired her up and drove 14 long, sports-radio minutes on Route 9 to Shane’s U-Drive-It, right there at the northwest corner of Mulholland, and pulled in quick next to the spit-shined Minnie Winnie he’d been eyeing since Pamela up and left five Sundays ago with the Dachshund and hadn’t as much as called since.

He cut the motor and turned to look and its big pinstriped belly filled the window. A ‘78 model, he knew. Twenty-four foot, VCR included. Not a ding. He’d been thinking about the dog. The last thing she did before she skedaddled, besides shove her dry cleaning in the trunk and storm back inside to rip that lamp out of the wall, was scoop the dog off the lawn. She kicked up gravel on the way out and and yelled something and he bent his ear but it was God knows what. She didn’t even take the kibble, and now the house was filled with such a quiet that he kept hearing himself move.

Inside, Shane was running his mouth. He’d go back and lock up, put the Coors on ice, strip the bed and pack his laundry inside. Ask Danny to keep an eye out. Take it down the street and bring the tires up to 32 PSI. He drew all the air he could into his chest and let it go. He’d take the key down from the back doorframe, and that’s tough. Her mother would have tanned her hide.

“Must be my lucky day,” Shane said, and he pinned another picture to the pegboard with a big banner in permanent marker that said “Our Satisfied Customers!” He grabbed the camera off his desk, wagged his elbow toward the parking lot and bared some teeth. “Let’s do it, my man, looks like your number’s up.”

Story by J. Williams

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