On May 30th I was on a Greyhound bus that turned right coming out of Winnipeg. We crossed the U.S.-Canada border heading south and followed highway 29 down into Fargo, North Dakota. Traveling out of Whitehorse I had better than 2000 miles to notice that the arc of the sun seemed to behave more and more reasonably the lower we moved in latitude. By Fargo the sun made absolute sense; rising at 5 a.m. to warm the clean and empty streets. Up north (upon my departure some days earlier) the sun "set" at midnight and "rose" nearly 4 hours later. Even in May there is no more true darkness, only a rosy haze that lingers around the periphery of the horizon. This leads to a frantic build up to the all-light mania of full summer.
We had a 2 hour fueling stop during which my two traveling companions and I stepped outside the Greyhound station to roll thin cigarettes and stare, sleepily, at the 24 hour X-RATED VIDEO STORE sign that blinked in quiet unison with the yellow yield lights at the intersection. Turning towards what we hoped was downtown the three of us marched (once more into the breech) off in search of a newspaper and bottomless black diner coffee.
Around a corner we met up with the outstretched hand of a bespectacled and scruffy, half crazed looking fellow, "D'you got any…………. change? Change? Change for………. coffee?" My dollar and his extensively detailed knowledge of the Fargo-caffeine scene were a perfect match as he led us directly to an AM/PM sort of gas station. Besides our coterie the streets were entirely devoid of any life. No cars or buses. No delivery trucks. No squirrels or morning birds. Absolutely nothing. There was something eerily apocalyptic about the silent and “sleeping city sidewalks” even if it was a Sunday. I daydreamed that the End Times of America had happened while we were tooling around inside Canada and no one had seen fit to tell us.
After purchasing our large paper cup coffees our new associate was gracious enough to walk us back to the depot via shortcut. Along the way he filled us in on his upcoming plans, "I'm plannin' on moving to............DENVER! There I can get better and work and get better help with my psychological….….ah…. psyche..................MY HEAD!"
Just outside the station we found a large beetle laid over on its back. Its strangely fat legs kicked wildly but accomplished nothing more than a slow, gyroscopic spin on the sidewalk. The anthropomorphic thing was black and juicy-looking and seemed to have a sad face under its gnashing mandibles- as though it could recognize its own futility. I flipped the bug right side up with a ball point pen and it scuttled off.
We parted ways with our Fargo Friend and took our southbound seats again.