The Rockies appeared through the gloom, slow beasts moving across the continent at the speed of time, oblivious to the tiny metal creatures carving up their sides. Headlights and taillights shimmered, their drivers hopped up on coffee and talk radio, heads on fire with hope and regret as they rehearsed thousands of monologues nobody would ever hear. What was the reason for all this consciousness? If we’re only here to replicate our genetic code and serve the demands of some blind Darwinian logic, why carry around heads filled with so much noise? Perhaps this is why every religion riffs on the renunciation of self. The bondage of ego. The pain of identity. It is by self-forgetting that one finds. And that’s all we crave in the end, isn’t it? Self-forgetting. To get out of our heads and see the mountain. My eyes flicked up to the sky, half-expecting to see God’s face beaming at my insight, even though I did not yet believe in such things.

This is the seventh episode of Interstate Scenes, a fictional collection of homeless paragraphs, remixed and upcycled bits from the past, and bloopers from the stories I’m writing.