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|Chapter One, Journey to "A Pathless Land" (standard:Psychological fiction, 5440 words)|
|Author: Joe E.||Added: Jun 24 2005||Views/Reads: 1945/1487||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Chapter One, Journey to "A Pathless Land" tells the story of three youngsters who set out on an adventure and a spiritual journey|
Journey to “A Pathless Land” By Jack Daley "You can always pretend, put on a mask but to be what you are is an extremely complex affair....” Krishnamurti Chapter-One It is just before sunset on a warm July evening in 1961 when the border guard hands back our I.D.'s, and tells us we have to turn back. He started shaking his head right after he had us count out the ninety-seven dollars total cash between the three of us. Eyeing up our '49 Plymouth, he reveals that American citizens traveling through to Alaska are required to have a minimum amount of cash. Vance tries to talk him into letting us through explaining that we have food, camping equipment, tools, spare parts, and motor oil in the wooden carrier on top. He points to the two spare tires we had bolted to the faded maroon trunk. "All we have to buy is the gas," he tells the guard who keeps shaking his head, no. "And, besides,” I add leaning towards the driver's seat, "if we run out'a money, we can always work for a couple days." "That's just what I was afraid of. American citizens are not permitted to work in Canada. If an American citizen gets stranded, it's up to their government to bail them out. With a vehicle this old, you'll need a minimum of two hundred dollars cash before we can let you through. Why the three of you are not even related...." he tells us. We ride in dead silence for a minute or two a sense of defeat hanging over us. Everyone had told us we wouldn't make it to Alaska. When we filled up and said our good byes at Harvey's pump, the Yardley Boys told us that we'd never make it out of Pennsylvania. Old Mrs. Kelly had made the sign of a cross over Anne asking God to protect her. My foster mother had told me that we would all end up in jail. Vance's dad couldn't believe it. "After I pay four years for a college education, you take off like a bum!" he told him. "Ain't this a mother fucking shame," Vance says breaking the silence. "We come all the way from Yardley, Pennsylvania. Two thousand miles on less than fifty bucks, and they tell us we ain't got enough money to make it through Canada!" "I can't believe it, man. We can't work in Canada? How the hell come? I thought a man could always find work...." I say shaking my head. "We can work in Canada. But, you don't tell 'em that, Daley. You got to do it under the table.... Christ, maybe my old man is right. Maybe I am nothing but a fuck up.... " Vance says and goes on mumbling more to himself than to Anne and I. Only once or twice in the three years that Vance and I had been best friends had I ever seen him brought so low. Anne, who had never seen him other than bursting with enthusiasm, squeezes my hand and asks with her eyes, “Why is he taking this so hard?" I return her squeeze and shrug my shoulders. As our eyes meet, I realize that for us it doesn't matter. One place is as good as another as long as we're together. By the time we reach Sunburst, some five miles south of the border, Vance's little fit of depression has lifted. "We got two choices. Either we find a place to sneak across. I mean, I'm sure there's got to be some dirt roads. They can't cover every one of 'em.... Or, we find jobs. We only got to earn a couple hundred bucks. Stay back here a week or two...." Vance says. We drive the length of the main street of Sunburst seeing several dozen wooden shacks that are dwarfed by the hundreds of oil storage tanks that surround us. A couple of old timers are standing by a wooden building marked Post Office. "You won't find nothing here. But you might at the State Employment Office in Shelby. Ranchers hire out'a the employment office," one of the men answers our inquiry about work. It's just getting dark when we park in front of a coffee shop in downtown Shelby. We sip the warm brew and decide to get a good night's Click here to read the rest of this story (478 more lines)
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