I flinch for like the sixth time while passing the exit to Yazoo City. It’s one of the organ donors that does it do me this time; he’s alone, clad in green Kevlar, riding without a pack, bobbing and weaving in between the battered Corollas and single-headlight F-150s. For the hundredth time I think that anybody riding a motorcycle this fast on the highway in Jackson must have a sincere desire to go out the old-fashioned way: with a joyous spray of arterial blood over the spiderwebbed windshield of an elderly Baptist deacon driving ten miles under the speed limit while buzzed on Mad Dog and Kools.
When I drank I never used to flinch. I used to bob and weave in traffic like the organ donors on their chopped & screwed Kawasakis and Ducatis. I’d have the windows down in the Camino—the windows were always down—with a Miller Lite tallboy between my legs as the little cassette player struggled to cough up enough decibels to get over the sputtering engine and roadhum.
I’m singing along to Stevie Wonder asking for Heaven to Help Us All when my phone buzzes. I miss y’all. I am at a country western bar that is playing rap music. I grin so hard that I don’t even flinch when a two-toned Caprice edges me off the highway by riding down the middle of both lanes, a dense heartbeat of bass throbbing and Dopplering behind the Chevy as it roars into the distance, painted yellow by a hundred sodium vapor lights. There are no taillights.