JIM IN EL PASO

Jim sat on a bench against a hot white wall outside the bus station. He couldn’t stop sweating. He wished the sun’d hurry up and set so dusk would quench its fire. But it was still late morning, and the heat was yet to peak. Jim hated this town; hated everything about it, its cheapness and phoniness and pettiness. It seemed like the relentless fever of this insane heat fused this unholy trinity into the same element, absurdly reverse engineering the cheapness and phoniness and pettiness that oozed from the town like a chancre into something demonic and unclean, a screeching banshee of limitless horror and ceaseless pain. Ten minutes passed. He thought about how the Puerto Rican ripped him off. The violent, sadistic fantasy of what he’d do to the prick if he ever caught up to him passed through his brain like an inchoate freight train, untidily bucking along, screaming sparks and the smell of burning plastic.