Blue Highways by Heat-Moon William Least

Blue Highways by Heat-Moon William Least

Author:Heat-Moon, William Least [Heat-Moon, William Least]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 0316353914
Publisher: Mariner Books
Published: 1982-01-02T07:00:00+00:00

Money half gone, I’d come up with a bit of epistemological small change.

Not knowing what else to do, I drove off westward. The highway rolled out of the mountains into the basin of the Willamette River, a broad trough with at least as many shades of green as the Irishman can count in Eire. The level and verdant valley should have soothed after so much aridness and stone, so much up and down, but I sat absorbed in my own blue funk.

Old Oregon 99 led into the clean college town of Corvallis. I had no heart for more road. At a grocery I bought six bottles of Blitz beer and six of Buffalo and a hunk of smoked salmon and drove to the campus of Oregon State University and pulled up under a flowering cherry tree of large girth. I walked in the rain, came back in the dark, sat in the truck, and drank a Blitz, then a Buffalo, ate some salmon, and drank another, and one more. I just stared into the morose rain and watched petals slip wetly down the windows.

That’s when I remembered the slug. Too late for pictures now. I turned on the light to release the damn thing. It wasn’t in the pail, and it wasn’t in the box the pail was in; it wasn’t anywhere I could discover. Impossible. With the van tightly sealed, the slug couldn’t have gotten out, but the rain prevented me from emptying the truck.

Listing a little from the beer, I crawled around hunting one of the most primitive and unsightly creatures on earth. Nothing. I looked for the telltale glossy trail. No trail. Whether or not slugs have ears, I didn’t know, but I called to it anyway. Finally, unsteadily, I undressed and went to bed.

Somewhere in Ghost Dancing was a slug—horned, fat, gelatinous with primeval slime, and free to ooze its footless way anywhere while I slept: up walls, onto bunks, over eyelids, across lips. Of all nights for this to happen.

The biggest hindrance to learning is fear of showing one’s self a fool. But this was ridiculous. Never had I figured on this kind of humiliation.


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