Wednesday, April 06, 2005

An Honest Living

The truck stop in Seneca, S.C. offered back-room massages for weary truckers--like those plugging down quarters in the unlit game room--and curious motorists like myself. It was at the end of a long hallway past the common bathrooms and 25 cent showers. Like I said, I was curious.

I opened the door to find what equates to a peep show in the Times-Square-of-the-past sans safety glass, the encounter of lonely man and working girl. I dark-eyed from night driving, she bored and heavy-lidded from rag-mag reading. She placed down her glossy, handed me a towel and pointed me in the direction of a toiletless stall so I could change.

In the gaps above and below the orange door, I noticed the lights dim to a hot cinnamon red--all that remained was the twang music playing from the gas station speakers. Upon exiting the stall, I found a large black man seated in the chair by the door, his arms crossed and eyes fixed on me. The woman stood shirtless, her hair wrapped in a shower cap, her hands in rubber gloves. And on the massage table, my shoes in a heavy-duty Ziploc bag.

And this was the vice I had chosen.

Painting by Patricia Chidlaw/"Truck Stop"/2003/from Posted by Hello