ADMIX: Episode II
By: Connor Pohlman, Creative Corner and Opinion Editor
“You really mean to tell me that we’ve got no facial ID on these guys at all? No unique traits or possessions they may have? Tattoos, piercings, birthmarks?” Moose asked.
Buffalo shook his head stoically as his eyes focused on the road, one hand on top of the wheel and the other nonchalantly resting on the pad that split the two seats. Moose squinted his eyes and locked onto the car maybe a mile ahead of them on the empty desert road. He followed the two red tail lights as they vanished in the dusty wind ahead. Moose closed the tan file and tossed it on the dashboard, slumping back in his seat. His eyes glanced at the bright yellow sign that passed them by, blazing, “Welcome to New Mexico, Land of Enchantment.” Moose turned ahead back to the road in front of them, his leg starting to shake impatiently.
“Want me to drive? You’ve been at it for a while,” Moose offered. Buffalo once again just shook his head “No,” maneuvering the stale toothpick around his yellow teeth. “You know, we should be thanking God right about now that we found these guys at all,” Moose said, seeming to be talking to an audience of zero now. “They almost snuck out right under our nose.” The barren desert refused to end, and Moose wondered if they had just been driving in place for the last few hours. Moose had stayed quiet for these hours, and even that was past his limit.
“We should find a stop soon. Tank’s getting low,” Moose said, pointing to the meter, which teetered on the edge of “E.”
“We’ll be fine, boy,” Buffalo said, his deep voice hoarse and rough. He placed his right hand on the wheel, and with his left rolled down the car window, spitting out of it. He left it open and rested his left arm on it, now using both hands to fish out another toothpick from the box in his breast pocket. Moose uneasily glanced at the wheel, which sputtered just slightly as Buffalo eased off the gas to prevent losing more fuel, only to be met with disappointed glares from Buffalo.
“So, where are you from, how’d you hear about this?” Moose asked. Buffalo ignored him and plucked the toothpick from his mouth, only to replace it soon after. Moose nodded, looking out of his window now.
“Right. Anonymity. That’s the whole deal,” he finished. The silence was deafening for however long it lasted, with Moose just making sure he didn't lose sight of the two tail lights in the distance. He didn’t know why Buffalo wasn’t being a leadfoot right now — they didn’t even know what kind of car it was they were chasing.
Before he knew it, it was night, and the cold of the desert wasn’t any better than its heat, especially in this car with no A/C system of any kind. Moose drew the short end of the stick being paired with Buffalo, the only guy in the crew who drove his own, beat-up car.
Moose felt the car sputter and wobble, hearing the gas light go off, but he didn’t yet believe the car was out of fuel, because Buffalo hadn’t acknowledged it. That was until he heaved a sigh, pulled over and stepped out.
Moose begrudgingly closed the low car door and leaned up against the hood, crossing his arms. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Buffalo already starting down the side of the never-ending road, first moving the strap of his suspenders out of the way and then reaching into his shirt pocket for yet another toothpick.
Every bone in Moose’s body told him to not follow and to stay put where he was. Buffalo was obviously out of his mind, and here he was marching towards a lonely death, but the distance that he had created from him already was like a rope that wrapped around Moose and pulled him away from the broken-down car.
The change of scenery did not have any impact on the silence at all: at least Buffalo still had that intact. Moose wanted to question why he was even doing this, why he was still following Buffalo and why he seemed not to care at all that his car had just been abandoned on the side of an isolated New Mexico road. It was like he had planned for it to happen this way, like this was a necessary step to take while climbing the ladder. All of this wasn’t enough to trump Moose’s growing discomfort, but it was something he just couldn’t break free from at the moment.
Watch out for the finale of ADMIX with Episode III in the next edition of The Griffin