Lost Highway
Andrew R. Crow
Hayward Faultline Winner
Hey there, good mornin'. Don't be shy, come on in. Yes, you are in the Route 66 Sunshine Kitchen. As if there was any other! What'll it be? Burger? Heck yeah, we got 'em. And the coldest beer on the Route, no matter what Lucille's down the road says. Two and two? Comin' up.

So, what brings you folks here? 193rd East Ave exit I'll bet! Hah, no, I mean what are you all doin' here? Most folk just whiz by on that damn new interstate these days, passin' us right on by. Just travellin' across country, huh? Yeah, that's a nice way for young folks to see the country. Historical sites?! Gosh, never whoulda thought of the Route like that, but yeah I guess you're right. No matter how old you get, you never think of things you got used to as bein' old.

Me, I been here on the Route ever since we moved to Tulsa. My wife and I that is. My Rose, 'Desert Rose' I called her. Moved here 'cause of her, bought this place 'cause of her, too. She loved the idea of the Route. A pipeline from the east to the west. All them people, she'd say. So much business, so many interesting ' folk to talk to! She knew this was for her. No doubt, no mistake about it. And she weren't shy, my missus. Told everyone we was movin' to the Route! Expressed it publicly she did! Embarrassed me somethin' fierce! Hah!

No, she ain't around. Ain't been since 1961, not 5 years after we got the place. Gosh, so many years gone by now. Hmm? No, no she didn't die of nothin', not that I know of. Just disappeared, walkin' down the Route, searchin' for our little Joshua. He was born here on the Route and loved it , too. Always explorin' what he called 'the lights up on the Route' after supper, day after day. One day while we was cleanin' up, he run out on the Route and never come back. We searched, police searched, never no news. My Rose took it hard, maybe more than me. Few days later, found a note, sayin' she was going off to look for our Josh. Never saw her again, either.

You folks heard my jawin' long enough. Get back out there, enjoy the rest of the Route. Naw, there's no charge. Closin' up soon. Trade ain't been so good lately, bound to get worse. Just kept 'er going as long as I could 'cause my Rose loved it so. Ain't no point anymore. Just another old fossil on the Route.

'Sides, I got some walkin' of my own to do, now.

First published: August 2005
comments to the writer: Knob'sWriter@iceflow.com