Alvin was almost frozen, although inside him a dull anger was burning and made him to curse his luck.
—Fucking faggot! —he shouted, to instinctively take a look around to be sure nobody had heard his politically incorrect outburst.
That was unlikely, given the circumstances.
It was about 3 am in a pitch black, overcast and moonless night. —Black as the dreams of an old man —he thought in dismay. And there he was, standing with his hands buried deep in the pockets of his parka and in the middle of nowhere —unless that winding mountain road, inland Iowa, could be optimistically viewed as a part of the civilized world.
The frost in making was something to be remembered and the temperature was around 18 degrees, forcing Alvin to move nervously back and forth, trying to replenish the body heat he was inevitably losing through his winter cloths, which, although appropriate to go buy the paper to the corner’s store, were far from ideal for an expedition to the North Pole. Or to spend a night in the open in northern Iowa in November, something that should not be far from the accomplishments of good ol’ Admunsen.
Occasionally the melancholy howl of a wolf was heard in the distance, to be politely answered by another pack leader, unable to fall asleep, in another part of those gloomy mountains. Although, to honor the truth, the term “melancholy” was not the first thing coming to Alvin’s mind in his current situation.
—Fucking shit! —he murmured, this time mumbling, perhaps to avoid attracting more attention from the threatening predators. Even so, he again turned his head to make sure he was not enjoying any unwanted company, lurking in the inky darkness of the mountain that rose behind him. He didn’t detect anything, but that didn’t make him —by no means— feel comfortable
—Damn, what a shitty day! —he mused, shivering, angry and nervous. And certainly that day wasn’t the best of his life. It had begun with a broken engine’s rod of his tiny and old Honda, a few hours before and a hundred miles behind where he was now laying. And while his mechanical skills went no further than a tire change, they were enough to make him understand that the car had decided to end its miserable existence at that point and, incidentally, completely spoil Alvin’s day. Next was the waiting until a kindly old lady, with a rickety truck, over-painted crimson lips and a sticky conversation, took pity on him, picked him up and drove him to the nearest gas station. And there was where that huge truck driver, that grotesquely was having a feast of burgers, fries and coffee, offered to take him to Forest City, Alvin’s final destination, about 300 miles away from that stinking local road canteen.
—Damn perverted pig! —he remembered, while an involuntary retching tried to break through his throat, to finish drowned in a bath of acid that flooded his mouth. And that wasn’t the result of having eaten some bad food, but rather the recollection of waking up in the cab of that huge truck having a strange boner. And with a fat and hairy hand stroking his genitals. That 330 pound redneck was able to drive with one hand, run the tip of his tongue over his lips, throw kisses, and hold him by the crotch with the free hand. All at the same time. A good demonstration of multi-functionality, in other circumstances … —Son-of-a-bitch! Hope you go over a cliff with your fucking brothel-truck! —Alvin wished vehemently, unable to regain his composure.
As you could expect from someone who has no plans to expand his sexual horizons in the near future, Alvin demanded him to stop immediately the truck and allow him down there, a request that the brute meditated for a few endless minutes. And, after apparently deciding it wasn’t worth breaking the neck of the soft white boy from Forest City, the huge greasy bull finally stopped the truck and let him leave the vehicle, but not before throwing him one last goodbye kiss, which almost made Alvin to fall down from the cabin.
Now, after several hours in which not one single car passed by that ghost road, Alvin was not so sure what would be better, —to be an alive homosexual or an iced heterosexual. And that strange dilemma still managed to bring a slight and momentary smile to his numb face.
Did not last long. The intense cold and heavy fog that began to surround him, made him to return quickly to his ever more desperate reality.
Alvin had long ceased to believe and hated all that, as he put it, stinks to religion, but perhaps because of these childhood educational deformations, which inexorably are with us along the rest of our lives, he was at that moment talking to God. The hardship of his situation, no doubt, also contributed to his current confusion.
—My Lord, if a car would pass I would jump to the middle of the road and make it stop! —he was imploring—. God, if you don’t help me soon, I’m not getting through the night! And the choir of his prayer seemed to be sung by the less melancholy and closer howling of the wolves, which motivated Alvin to continue his litany with more intensity and devotion.
Suddenly, in the midst of his spontaneous prayer, he heard a different sound a few feet away, putting all his senses —and most of the hairs on his nape— on high alert. He stood as still as a rock and pricked up his ears, but still failed to identify the source of that noise, similar to a buzz, slowly approaching him. He was unable to take a decision and, on other hand, that crisp whisper did not seemed neither human nor animal —although this didn’t come reassuring at all. Thus, the panic and the indecision petrified and kept him stuck in the same place by the road.
The darkness and the already impenetrable fog made impossible to distinguish anything beyond the length of an arm and the murmur, on the other hand, increased and approached inexorably toward him.
And suddenly he saw it.
Just a few feet in front of him, a huge black car started to become visible. The car ran slowly without lights and with the engine off, but Alvin’s extreme agitation did not allow him to evaluate those small details. He knew, with clarity, he should take advantage of that miraculous opportunity, otherwise tomorrow he would be picked up with the help of a torch.
So, as the black car just passed in front of him, Alvin opened its back door and jumped inside.
—Sorry! Do not panic! —he pleaded, almost screaming—, I do not want to hurt anyone! I just wish that you take me to the next gas sta …! And suddenly he realized that the big black car was completely empty. Again, his mind went blank, his body petrified, his hair became electrified wires and his hands were gripping tightly the front seats backs. His eyes were the only ones dancing at high speed, perhaps trying to find an explanation for the inexplicable. And it was his eyes that, despite the poor visibility, were able to perceive that the vehicle headed straight for the precipice at the end of the curve. Paralyzed, his nails dug further into the leather of the seats. He knew he has to get out immediately or die in the ravine along with that black coffin can, but he could not move. And just at the last moment, when the vehicle was a few feet of the precipice, a ghostly arm attached at its end to a wiry and bony hand —as is often the case with almost all arms— appeared from nowhere and spin the wheel, bringing the vehicle back onto the road.
Not that that bony hand had reminded him that other chubby, hairy one from a few hours ago. No, it wasn’t that. In fact his brain was not for flashbacks or reasoning. It was now his spinal cord which had taken control of the situation giving direct orders to the muscles. So Alvin opened the door of the big black car, jumped out and began to run and run down the road, as a soul chased by the devil.
He was never aware of the time he was running; neither he paid any attention to his lungs about to explode. His only idea was to escape as far as possible from that terrible hallucination in the form of large black car.
Finally he could see a bright halo behind a curve and, as he approached, a gas station started to materialize. He arrived there screaming and making a big fuss to the only employee who was behind the glass of the office.
He opened the door and invited Alvin in and asked him to calm down.
Alvin couldn’t stop repeating the strange story of the black car while the employee prepared a coffee, keeping an eye on him just in case.
After several minutes, the coffee, the light and the friendly clerk’s conversation began to take effect and Alvin started to regain his composure.
—Do not worry —said the clerk finally—, next car stopping by to get fuel, I will ask them to drive you to the village, where you can spend the night. Now drink the coffee and calm down.
—Thank you —Alvin managed to stammer. And they spent the next few minutes in silence.
After a while a claxon outside told the clerk that a customer needed his services. He left the office to return a few minutes later.
—I talked to the people of that car out there and they agreed to pick you to the village.
—Thank you again —said Alvin standing up and heading for the door. But when he opened it he could clearly see the black car.
His brain had had enough. Screaming like a madman he started running again down the road and vanished into the darkness of the night.
Amos and Bertha, a peaceful sexagenarian couple from Manson City, were comfortably lounging in his black and spacious 68’ Cadillac Fleetwood. They were really tired after having to push the car for several miles to the gas station after running out of fuel. And from their comfortable position they observed that crazy man getting out the office, screaming and running down the road.
—Wasn’t that the guy who got before into the car when we were pushing it? —Bertha asked her husband.
—I think so —said Amos—. He was very inconsiderate. He could have helped us to push.
. A night in Iowa – Dugutigui
In the “Diula” language in Mali, the term « dugutigui » (chief of the village), literally translated, means: «owner of the village»; «dugu» means village and «tigui», owner. Probably the term is the result of the contraction of «dugu kuntigui» (literally: chief of the village).