"Hey Dana... Dana... roll down your window.... I said roll down your dang window so I can talk to you. Hey. Good mornin', gal, you was sawin' some Zs over there. I could hear you all the way over here with my windows closed and my radio on, no kiddin'. Whatcha doin' up here on Lookout Mountain on a nice day like this? Hadn't seen you all since that New Year's thing up at the Hankins house. Where the heck is Dino, anyway?"

"Oh, hey Bob, Dino's in the back layin' down for a bit. The walk up here plumb tuckered  him out."

"No, you kiddin' me? It's only seventeen miles."

"That's seventeen miles uphill, Mr Evans, and Dino isn't exactly the picture of youth these days. Course I reckon I can't say much different for you nor me neither."

"Well, you're wrong on one account, Dana. You could still pass for sixty any day of the week."

"Pshaw."

"Pshaw yourself, you old bitch. I'm about ready to bring myself over there and help warm up your cabin."

"Wouldn't mind if you did now, Bob, 'cept we'd likely wake the old coot up and he's liable to take a shotgun to us."

"Shame about that, then. Wish I had me some chain, maybe we could lock him back there for a time. So you two up to anything special this weekend?"

"Probably here doin' the same thing as you're doin', Bob. Me and Dino came here to get the rig started up and running again after those godawful snows we had us this year. Trucks been sittin' for two months unattended. Not that we have any intention of drivin' it anywhere now that we got it started, but at least we've got us a couple good days of sittin' in it fore the summer's full on us."

"Maybe later I'll come on over and sit with y'all a spell."

"We got room."

"It's a fine place to sit, I've got to admit that much, Dana. Mount Lookout's got one bodacious view. I reckon that's why me and Blue decided to lease this dockin' space up here in the middle of nowhere. But, sometimes... I'd like to get my motor runnin', you know? Head out on the highway. Look for some adventure in whatever's headed my way."

"You've been listenin' to that oldies station just a little too much, Mr Evans, if you want my opinion. Even if you could afford to drive that old tub off the lot, wherever would you go after you stopped coasting downhill? Camper parks cost a arm and a leg these days cause they're all filled up with the rich folk from Anchorage."

"Sure you're right... I guess I thought that when I retired that Alaska was sure the place to be. 'Go to Alaska', people would tell me, 'it's swimming in oil. They'll pay you just to live there'. I thought they'd take care of hard workin' people like me in Alaska, but that was just a crazy idea I had in my head. This here is nothing but a frozen hellhole."

"But you know, it's a lovely frozen hellhole isn't it, just take a look at those mountains. And what else was that you said? Of course they pay you to live here. What other state does that? I'm sure you must get a check from the permanent fund, Bob."

"Yeah, but it was less than sixteen hundred bucks this year, and the Feds want half of that. That's barely enough left to fill up old Bessie here. She's a thirsty old gal, gets four miles to a gallon."

"Wow, that's some great mileage you get, Bob. I'd like to know what your secret is with that."

"Well, anybody could get that mileage if they had the means. See, I've got me a special carburetor... my nephew Tony sent it to me from overseas. He got it on the French black market. But doncha know that NATO has suppressed their use in all the member countries because they say it can be used to make explosive devises. What a load of malarkey. It's a conspiracy for the oil companies. I've got a bridge in Brooklyn if you believe that one."

"Don't go actin' like you're all that smart when I know by my eyes' witness that you bought a dock slip up here in the same Alaskan RV Docking Station as I did. That wasn't the brightest move of the decade, I'll tell you that."

"Don't you tell me that... It wasn't... Sigh... Say, here, have a Coors Light. They've been sittin' here on top of old Bessie since I got in last night."

"Oh Jesus, Bob, don't you have somethin' that doesn't have a picture of snow covered mountains on it?"

"Just put a beer cozy on the can, you won't even notice it... Say, Dana, you know we just might get us a chance to put these bad boys on the road yet this year. I heard that John McCain might give us a gas holiday this summer."

"A gas holiday? Bob Evans, have you been drinkin' again?"

"With God as my witness, I sure have. It's not like I'm gonna be drivin' anywhere."

"You say the government is gonna give us free gas?"

"No, not the government. John McCain is. And it's not exactly for free, the gas just won't have no tax on it."

"Well, that's got to be like eighty or ninety percent."

"At least. Course it's just a pipe dream, what with McCain not bein' the president and all. Still... Hillary Clinton wants us to have a gas holiday, too, if she was president."

"Well bless her heart. Sounds like everybody wants us to have a gas holiday. So maybe President Bush might get the hint and get in on the act."

"Nah, not a chance. He says he already gave us six hundred dollars and we can pay for our own gas holiday. That'd get me about a third of the way to Fairbanks 'fore I'd have to turn around and double back."

"That George Bush is no friend of the workin' man, I'll tell you that. I guess he can just drive up to any pump at all and say fill 'er up without a care in the world. I can't wait until November when I can vote in Obama and teach him a lesson."

"That colored fella ain't gonna give us a gas holiday, either. He wants all that tax money for infrastructure."

"Infrastructure? I thought he was against the war."

"That too. Doesn't seem right, does it, killin' our dreams that way? It's not like it's gonna happen, but the man isn't even willin' to give us a fantasy gas holiday."

"Dreams die hard... I might just not vote for any of 'em. Give me another of those beers, Bob."

"Hate to tell you this, Dana, but I'm workin' on the last one. Maybe we should drive up the ridge to the tradin' post and pick up a couple cases. I got about half a tank of gas. I'll drive if you'll pay for the beer."

"Might as well. Don't want to say I came up here for holiday and ended up not doin' nothin'."

 

2008, Mark Hoback