A jittery man with long blonde hair and a tight leather jacket warns me about the desert. “When you go out there, don’t listen to anybody who dares you to walk into the desert,” he says, sending his half-smoked cigarette skittering across the dark parking lot where it sparks against a pick-up truck. He clamps a big hand on my shoulder, squeezing hard. “I’m serious, man. People do it all the time. They’ll challenge each other to walk ten miles into Death Valley without any supplies and then walk back. They wager money on it.”

I tell him I’ve never heard of such a thing and he stares beyond me, watching the late-night traffic. “Yeah, you can make some good money on a bet like that,” he says, “but I lost a few good friends that way.” His eyes narrow and I can see the tension in his jaw, the cords in his neck. God knows what he’s remembering. I turn to go. “Don’t forget,” he calls, “if you’re out there and you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated!”

James A. Reeves – Enchanted Desert

From American Decay | 2015 | Bandcamp

Built from a blurry loop of ‘Enchanted Sea’ by The Counts (Sea Crest Records, 1964). This track appears on American Decay, a collection of loops and reverberations recorded between 2009 and 2014.