Note from Twissel’s caretaker: JT (Jan) is blog lame today. Actually the condition began during the final editing of FLIPKA and reached its peak after the release of the manuscript for publication. She’s frozen in the fetal position, screaming through the bars at me: “Sigmus Freudicon – at least release the first five pages to my legions of followers.” Delusion is another one of her sad afflictions. She has only four followers and three of them are her alternate personalities. The fourth is her mother.” But in an effort to pacify her, here are the first couple of pages of her book.
FLIPKA (available now in Kindle Version on Amazon)
He held a yellowed phone in one hand and a lit cigarette posed about four inches from his mouth in the other. “Yup, that’s right,” he coughed, pent up cigarette smoke escaping through every orifice north of his neck, “You got it. Ok, well then. Ok. If that’s all you want, I got a customer, capeesh?” He slammed the receiver down. “Damn government.”
His was as strange a place as I’d ever walked into in rural Nevada, and that’s saying a bunch. There were only a few rows of wooden shelves, half full of packaged, canned, and bottled food — nothing fresh. In the corner several cats, frozen in various states of ire by a taxidermist, posed under a dead Christmas tree hung upside down from the rafters. The cats were clearly marked “not for sale” lest any of the many travelers drawn to his place way out in the middle of nowhere had a hankering for a stuffed cat.
Luckily there was at least one refrigerated unit behind the cash register. It had been a long ride up from Vegas and I knew that where I was going the food would be institutional, unseasoned, and probably powdered—the only drinks apple juice and weak coffee sweetened with saccharin. I needed a junk-food infusion to keep me going for what I hoped would only be a few days of culinary hell.
“I’m sorry, Ma’am,” he coughed. “What’ll it be?”
“I’ll take a cold Pepsi and these Cheetos.” I informed him, plopping a large bag of Cheetos on the Formica counter.
He gave me a once-over and pulled a can of Diet Pepsi from the refrigerated unit.
“I want the regular Pepsi! I might need to lose a few pounds but that diet stuff’s full of chemicals!”
He looked at me as if to say your funeral, lady, and grabbed a regular Pepsi, “You come in that Nova?” he asked.
I squelched the urge to point out that mine was the only car in front of his store. “Yup. Say, where am I?”
“Pile of junk those Novas.”
“It’s a rental. I didn’t have much of a choice.”
“Wouldn’t catch me in one of them piles of junk.”
“Oh yeah. Well I wasn’t thinking of offering you a ride, so don’t worry. Now, could you kindly tell me where am I?”
“This here’d be the turn off to Steptoe,” he replied. “Steptoe, Nevada, Planet Earth. You know we get a lot of Martians out here. You wouldn’t be one of them, would you?”
I chuckled, mostly out of politeness. It was an old and very tired joke in that part of the world. “I’m looking for the turnoff to Fort Palmer. It’s supposed to be around here somewhere. You wouldn’t happen to . . .”
“Yeah, you could say that.”