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Kent Andreasen – Saying things like a Snake

 

AS TOLD TO KERRI VON GEUSAU

Alone in the centre of the universe
I was weary of mediocrity. I knew I had to be free of it for a while. I needed to be away from my mundane and into a new thing. I was weaving my way through America on my own. What I didn’t know was the depths of my own loneliness which arrived at the doorstep four days in, my demons cozying right up to my inner ear.

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Midpoint
"We’re anticipating that we’re not going to get a foothold with this thing for a while here,” Medicine Bow National Forest spokesman Aaron Voos said. Just beyond the prolific snowfall of Medicine Bow, there was a raging wildfire hogging the horizon. I was there in spring time and the feeling of being in limbo was translated into a strange confusion. Where snow fell, fire raged and where fuel deposits lay carefully placed, towns feared for their lives in the uncontainable intimidation of their own wildfire.

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Cold
I was cold and the distances were only just beginning to envelope my nagging mind, hungry, nitpicking the tiniest discomfort. I was alone. I was at the mercy of Time and it wasn’t going to let up.

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Leave your home
It would seem that mattresses don’t see the light of day, is that why they burn in direct sunlight? The house was abandoned, save for the fake plants and seating arrangement around the dormant television. I could have set myself up in this life. What else had been left behind?

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Mother
After endless highways of silence, I’d parked beside her garden where she had been gathering herbs. I was feverishly tidying the van when she approached me with a warmth I only recognise in my own mother.  She led me to her home along the quiet roads of the suburban grid and I stopped where she pointed to me to park my van. She welcomed me in and I languished in my first home-cooked meal in what felt like an endless loop of Subway-stitched pit stops. And then she hugged me, it was like coming up for air.

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That time the meth head tried to kill him
I needed to get out of Aberdeen as fast as possible. I’d picked him up outside his sister’s house after he’d tried to outrun me, him on foot, me behind the wheel. I liked his tattoos and I wanted to get a picture of this person. He was proud of them. Everything had a story, and the one I wanted to know more about was the burnt-down museum. What I didn’t want to know was the tale he spun of the man he tried to kill at the river bank, where he had me drive him. He was sitting directly behind me in the driver’s seat. That second, I surrendered my fate to Rob Allen. It would have been the perfect ending to a trip down the rabbit hole of America’s false freedom frenzy. Instead, I lost my mind in Olympic Park. It was some time after I had raced to leave that town. I’d gone quite far into the depths of the reserve and it was getting dark when the paranoia and the memories of the day came flooding through my veins in a rush of adrenalin. 

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Max Ferguson