Needles at Three

Been coming down since Flagstaff

my empty gallon water jugs outnumber

the full ones in the back seat of the Rabbit

God what was I thinking when I bought

this car without air conditioning

tint doesn’t help nor does the moon roof

wind strait out of an oven getting

hotter as I approach California


The lizard in the passenger seat is laughing

voice on a lonely radio station whispers

“Go back! Go back!”

vulture on my headrest pecks my shoulder

mocks my inner madness

“Too late!  Too late!”


Needles appears – a mirage

this has to be Death Valley

Ron Reagan driving a twenty mule team wagon

where did that come from?


the motel is my white flag moment

I ask the desk clerk

“When is the coolest time to travel?”

she says, “December.”


I’m sure that isn’t what I meant.


At the pool in the shade

thermometer pushing one-one-five

I squint yep it’s in Fahrenheit

lizard is kicked back on an air mattress

sipping a sissy drink and smiling

“So, how ya liking the desert?”


Three in the morning

motel AC drives me

out into the night

time to press onward


thermometer at the pool says one-one-eight

lizard calls out, “Adios!  Enjoy your trip.”


all the way to LA I repeat my mantra

“It’s only the heat.  It’s only the heat.  It’s only the heat.”


38 thoughts on “Needles at Three

  1. It’s a dry heat. It’s a dry heat. It’s a dry heat. 😉
    I’m from the Vegas area, and we hear that a LOT. Well, so’s a blowdryer.

    Not a fan of the heat, so I LOVED this. This is why I escape as much of June-August as I can. 🙂 Great piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this…so fun to read and enjoyed all the delusional touches, “Ron Reagan driving a 20 mule team wagon”…and that dang lizard, ha! I must admit that the first time I was driven through the Texas desert, on our way to New Mexico, I felt pretty nervous about breaking down out there with no water, no gas…just those vultures circling overhead… :~)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ….but it’s dry heat!” 🙂 How many times I’ve heard people say that as the perspiration is dripping down my forehead! 🙂 This is so well done — I’m smiling as I can relate to so many of your feelings and images here. Been to the Borax site and you’re right — you can just see Reagan with his cowboy hat sitting on that wagon 🙂 LOVE the December response! Smiling I am….wonderful write!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This reminded me of my first car with no AC and I drove it to Texas with my cousin. What were we thinking? It was in the summer and it was hot. Houston was the destination and we did arrive safely. That was quite the summer and then we wandered back north.

    Liked by 1 person

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