The Second Son

Emerson waves to all motorcyclists, presumably feeling a certain two-wheeled kinship. I do not, for I have boundaries. He estimates a return-wave rate of approximately 50%, dropping to 0% when he wears his second buff over his face in true-jihadist fashion. Even his father, the most open and non-judgemental of people, cringes when Emer assumes his Death-to-America guise. Yes, he may get 72 unexperienced-females-of-varying-ages-and-body-types in Paradise, but he ain't getting lucky on this trip rocking the Achmed-the-Unwashed look.

The Middle Child is faring well so far. The lashing cane is attached to my bike, in the spot where long pumps used to sit, and perhaps the visual reminder of the beating stick has dampened Emer's historic tendency to carp. For whatever reason, long days of mild toil, long weeks without a hint of soap or water to disturb the body's natural cleansing function, and an exclusive diet of Jif Extra Crunchy all combine to create, beneath layers of sediment, a fine figure of a man.

The profoundly squalid tree-planting culture may explain Emer's comfort level with grime and, of course, tedium. For the last two summers the Middle Child has thrived amid the black flies in a post-apocalyptic landscape: bend, perform C-cut in scorched earth, insert sapling, repeat - thousands of times a day. Why, this bike tour must seem almost like... almost like...  a vacation (It seems so simple once you think it through...). If, every night, like the planters, we were folded in the warm, wafting arms of ganja, I believe Emer would touch the Atlantic, point his bike in a new direction, and just keep going.

But the demon weed plays no part in our travels at the moment, he said righteously and, looked at narrowly enough, without even a spliff of the hypocrite. I write from the porch of the Lost Maples Country Store in Vanderpool, Texas. Sprawling trees surround me. It's beautiful. Toto, we're not in Pecos anymore. See ya.