The exit is still a few miles away, so I use the time to think about my episode. It must have been all the alcohol and drugs. My body is just not used to them. The alcohol and weed are nothing new, but the cocaine my passenger brought is. I’ve also been taking a nitric oxide supplement because it makes me tingle all over. On top of that, I’ve been mixing creatine into soda and energy drinks. I must have overloaded. I like the nitric oxide supplement, bought it and the creatine at a vitamin supplement store. They’re marketed for use by athletes and bodybuilders. Of which I’m neither. But I’ve been slamming it back every couple of hours because it makes me feel powerful. All though the first couple of times, the tingling sensation had me trying to claw my skin off. But it’s like anything else in life; you just need to get used to it. I never knew how many of these supplements existed to cheat athletes out of their money. When I was a trainer, I never bothered with the stuff. One interesting side effect of nitric oxide is it gets your libido going. Mine is already in overdrive due to the presence of my passenger. When I started this trip, I was still playing it safe. Doing the speed limit, obeying traffic lights, signs, and dodging pedestrians. Also, I was still taking my medication. Wellbutrin and Clonazepam. Evidently, everything I learned in school was wrong. Drugs are the answer. You can’t even function as an adult anymore without them, legal or otherwise. Soosi…Soosi, that’s her name, why couldn’t I remember that before? When I picked her up from her home in Virginia, I was getting ready to pop my meds when she slapped them out of my hand.
“Drugs are society’s way to control me,” she said as she threw the bottle with the remaining pills out of the car, “On them your calm and subdued, a complainant worker bee who contributes and doesn’t make waves.”
She stopped and lit a cigarette, a red one hundred before continuing, “But off them, you’re a wild card they can’t predict,”
Whether or not there is a conspiracy within the federal government to keep us all medicated I can’t say. But I wouldn’t be surprised to discover there was one. Stopping the Wellbutrin was easy. But the Clonazepam was a little harder to kick. Since it’s a Benzodiazepine, it was withdrawal effects. According to Wikipedia, they include anxiety, irritability, tremors, insomnia and delirium. But once I got through it I started to think with my natural mind again; utilizing the synapses that spark without prescription drugs. It’s more chaotic than I remember, but I’m getting used to it.

Soosi was the one who added the beer cooler and drugs, “You can’t experience freedom if you don’t break the law,” she said as I chugged a beer while changing lanes without using my blinker. So now I drink and drive, text and drive and experiment with illegal substances; at least for the duration of this trip.

I pull off on the exit that leads to the gas station. To be more accurate it’s a gas station, convenience store combo. I park next to a large overcompensating truck that advertises the insecurity and impotence of the owner. Funny that you never see women using big trucks and motorcycles to compensate for their perceived shortcomings. We should probably ask them what’s their secret. Whatever it is it must be cheaper than buying a truck.

Inside the fluorescent lights illuminate the wonder that is the convenience store. Designed for our on the go, fast past modern American lifestyle. Everyone regardless of status will find themselves in a convenience store. Get in, get out, grab what you need and leave; shopping for the short attention span. The people who own the store know they have a small window, so they maximize your exposure. Drinks, the product that most people want are in the back of the store. So you are forced to walk by all the other products on your way to the cooler. Then you have to pass them again on the way back. You’ll pass chips, candy, jerky, nuts and an array of other items you didn’t know you wanted. When you make it to the register, you often have more in your hands than intended. I decide to run the marketing gauntlet to stock up on energy drinks while Soosi buys a cheap cigar we can gut and stuff with weed. My favorite brand is on sale, two for four, so I grab six. Just touching the can makes my heart speed up. I have no idea what’s in these things, but they are so damn good that I don’t care. When I get to the counter, Soosi is picking out the cigar. She chooses one that claims to be grape flavored. She motions for me to add my drinks to her order. Six energy drinks, a grape cigar and another pack of cigarettes. The clerk, a dubious looking middle easterner, thank you “Fox News” for causing me to profile this man without thinking, starts to scan our items. It’s just over fifteen dollars. Soosi’s hand doesn’t move to her purse, an oversized messy thing that’s light blue with white trim along the opening, but instead, moves behind her back. My eyes widen when I see what’s nestled in the back of her jeans pressed against her tramp stamp. The black handle of a gun, a second amendment folly. My gaze moves to the security cameras above the clerks head. My hand moves to my wallet. If I can beat her to the draw, I can throw some cash down before she pulls out her constitutional blunder. Just as my clammy hand moves to my wallet, her hand moves past the gun and into her back pocket. She pulls out a business card and places it on the counter. As the clerk reads it, she pulls a twenty out of her purse and slides it across, “I’m usually online between nine PM and midnight,” the transaction completes, and the clerk bags our items without incident.

Back in the car she grabs an old Magazine off the back seat and starts to gut the cigar she bought and replace the tobacco with weed, “Show how much farther until New Orleans?” she asks.

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