The KOA campground in Amarillo sits in a surprisingly seedy neighborhood, more urban than I had expected. A very middle-class couple with impossibly wide smiles advertises an adult video and novelty store from a billboard just before the final turn-off to the campground. Cattle graze in a pasture along the road. An unsettling mixture of the bucolic and the pornographic. Rusted trucks sit the driveways of rusted mobile homes.
I am here to visit Mot, a new and unlikely friend who wanders from place to place, dragging a coterie of dead relatives, celebrities, Polish folktale villains, and Old Testament gods along with him in his head. He left our home in Morgantown, West Virgina a month ago, heading for Amarillo, because cars, he said, can be had more cheaply out West, and he needed a car. But more than that, although he didn't say it, he needed to move on. By his own report, he hasn't stayed in anyone place for longer than three months in more than thirty years. Friends have sometimes lasted a place or two, never many, but while they are around his voices are quieter, more easily managed. Having someone real to talk with keeps him grounded, he says, and humor helps.
Our friendship is an experiment for both of us; we are trying to see if it can fend off our individual demons. His the literal sort, mine the metaphorical. Mot is dubious. "There are a lot of bad characters over here," he tells me on the phone. "And most of them don't want you around."
To read the rest of "Mot" and to check out all the awesome fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, pick up a copy of vol. 6, no. 2 in our webstore. To get it for $5.95, choose, "sample copy, editor's choice" and enter "fall back sale" in the special instructions box.