"The Patron Saint of Empty Gas Tanks"
written with a mouthful of hot teeth by jake kilroy.
The desert opened up like a drunk sonneteer at a party,
spilling heated secrets and wasteland wishes—
a piece of sunburned gold, the color of adored flesh,
as hard as the heartless and twice as cruel.
Give me the motor club mumbo jumbo.
Allow me to chant some oil spill voodoo.
Black magic in gear grinds and coughs,
I want the phoenix born from engine combustion.
I call upon you, Patron Saint of Empty Gas Tanks,
ride shotgun and don't change the song.
Just get me to Heaven a few miles over the speed limit,
channeling the lightest grin the Devil ever had in him.
And then He appeared:
the rider of all riders,
the passenger of all passengers,
the navigator of all navigators.
I couldn't believe my luck.
I remained speechless, just a meandering idiot in the badlands.
Thanks for the ride.
My eyes hurt from witnessing all.
And the snack.
The Spirit of Reckless Abandon rummaged through my bag of Fritos.
You don't talk much, do you?
No, I talk.
I had spoken the word of the aimless.
I was kidding. I've seen you on this road before. You don't really shut up.
Yeah? At least I got nicer shoes than someone from the High Plains of the Lord.
The Legacy of Joy Rides chewed fresh gum and laughed quietly to himself. It made me uneasy. But I was blessed! I was on the same metal and cushion as the Majestic Protector of the Hitchhiking Breed. I was chosen. Even in my beloved and sacred mumblings, I had been given the chance to speak my peace. But I had questions.
Who said I was bound for glory?
He snickered. My eyes thinned.
God told me to just keep you from getting bored.
And after death?
Kid, after death's a long way off for you.
Ah! So I live a full life!
I chattered like a straight-C student. Meanwhile, the Guiding Light of Fast Cars chuckled and drank holy water from a flask.
Nah, you still gotta jive through limbo, bud.
My heart sank like a treasure chest.
What's the speed limit there?
He ran glowing hands through immaculate hair.
You don't wanna know.
And that's when he put on the Stones and kicked up his heels. He was in it for the long haul—maybe out of sympathy, maybe out of freedom, maybe truly out of boredom.
As for me, even in the driver's seat, I wasn't sure why I paced the desert on four wheels, but this smug angel had his shit together.
Ever get sick of the job?
You ever get sick of breathing?
This conked me righteously.
It's like that?
It's like that.
I wiped my brow and sucked my teeth.
What's the pay like?
Yeah? What's the deal with vacation days?
I wiped my eyes and adjusted my sunglasses.
Sounds like a good gig.
Then why don't you sound happier?
All the slow drivers went to Heaven.