Silly Names & Road Games

for Rachel

They were somewhere in Ohio, between Cincinnati and the state border, heading east, with the setting sun blazing into the car.

“How we doing for gas?” asked Monterray, without taking her face from the passenger window.

“Fine,” grunted Micha, who was driving. “Should make another hundred, hundred and fifty miles, pretty easy.”

The CD ended and Sean leaned forward to change it. “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said Dido. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“It’s my turn.”

“Like hell it is, you put in that horrible Southern-fried junk, remember?”

“I like Jupiter Coyote,” he objected. “Plus that was hours ago.”

“That was just before we stopped for gas! You’re out of rotation.”

“Christ,” growled Micha. “Put something in, would you? Stop arguing about it. Monterray, you do it.”

She flipped through her binder silently. Behind her Sean and Dido were squabbling, heads bent together, voices low and furious. She slipped Have You Fed The Fish? into the stereo and went back to looking out the window. Sean muttered something vile in German, his hands white and lax on the wheel. In the fields the wild herbs were passing by, passing by: jewel weed, snakeroot, lobelia, blue cohosh…