Long exposure / Signs
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Focal Length: 14mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter: 1/14 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D80

Tulsa, Oklahoma

The rain was falling, the sky green, the clouds heavy with hail. The sign’s lurid promise turned my stomach, a crayon box of Twizzlers on a bed of tequila threatening to spill. I blearily tossed a hundred on the counter and told the proprietor not to knock on my door until the money ended.

Lightning crashed as I threw my backpack on the bed. The stench of Lysol permeated the stained floral comforter, the matted carpet, the plastic curtains, the torn Domino’s menu. Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama — I scrubbed my skin to a seething cauldron of scarlet, but the scent lingered long after I left Tulsa.

But that night I didn’t care. I wanted the ruthless assault, the relentless onslaught. I lay face down on the carpet and inhaled it, drank its sleazy misery until my head was reeling, salty tears standing on the fetid surface, refusing to penetrate the gummy fibers. When the first hail began to hit, I crawled beneath the table, hands shaking as I lit a cigarette. I stared at the wall, mute disinterest succumbing to abject terror as the colors commenced their technicolor lava rush — a prescient opening act for a play I’ve mercifully forgotten.

Morning came and morning went, but the rain stuck around, a gaudy showgirl teetering on too-high heels for my too-low spirits. Dusk crashed and fell into night again and again, each evening’s show topping the previous. And still the rain fell, through the open door the sign melting into the street, staining the gutters with red.

Music: Don’t Want You on My Mind by Bill Withers (lyrics)

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