Aug. 17, 2017

Dearest Augusta:

By the time you read this, the eclipse will be over, and they’ll have discovered my corpse fused to a gas pump, debit card in hand.

We arrived at Safeway 48 hours ago to fill the tank and rent a good Bruce Willis movie for grandpop. I know we promised to return by nightfall, but we were carefree and naïve in our pre-eclipse delusions, when ’twas rumor and comic inconvenience. Like on Monday, many moons ago now, when 7-Eleven ran out of spigot chili and we looked at each other and said simultaneously, “ECLIPSE!” O foolish boy. O foolish girl. How I’d crush our heads together and end our sad charade.

I thought I’d entered a reasonable line at our fine Albany Safeway pumps. Unfortunately, it was the line for the Fast Gas in Lebanon. Let me tell you something: “Fast” is a lie. Two days later I’m at Waverly and 14th and I’ve lost all hope that we’ll ever see our daughter again. I sent Daphne into Safeway for bread. That was Tuesday afternoon. Her last text was a poop emoticon and a GIF of Kurt Russell from the film “Used Cars.” I fear she may have gone feral. Keep an eye on Craigslist and Albany Happenings in case someone finds her.

Do you have the Internet now? Did it ever exist? I can’t tell, because I ate my phone for sustenance after the Carl’s Jr. hurled itself off the overpass. My last true contact with humanity was at the Safeway Redbox, which someone had dismantled and fashioned into a crude suit of armor, Bruce Willis DVDs gleaming along his limbs. “I’M A DISCO DECEPTICON!” he roared.

At that moment, I’d lost my faith. What devious creature would suffer his children for a four-minute cosmic thrill? Everywhere I turn in this blasted procession sit monuments to the eclipse. Parking lots engorged with trailers. Transients selling homemade eclipse glasses – actually two Coors Light bottles roped together – for $70 a pop. Passing rapscallions reeking of such mysterious locales as Iowa and California, speaking in some indecipherable vowel-sparkled patois that will likely get them killed. We’re a consonant people here.

This may truly be the end. In the time I’ve spent in my Prelude, Florida Georgia Line has recorded two eclipse tributes and of course, they’re both bro-rrible. But the Sirius DJ won’t stop playing them back-to-back and weeping uncontrollably. Last night I dreamed again of your arms, that it was Monday night and the roads were silent. Before the onslaught. Before the madness. Before Wendy’s ran out of baked potatoes and the world went to hell.

Should I survive, and should Daphne return from scavenging in the streets with her murderous pack (hopefully with bread for sandwiches), I may no longer be the man you married. For I have tasted the eternal torment and supped upon its ashes. The sights I’ve beheld would have crushed a lesser mind. It may be wise to let me sleep until the Art & Air Festival, where only .38 Special’s “Hold On Loosely” may salve my wearied spirit. But oh, my darling, mark my words: I shall gaze toward the Heavens nevermore.

Yours,

Travis

Cory Frye is a published author and full-grown adult. Can you believe it?

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