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Through the Desert with the Stones (Excerpt 2)

Oh hi Greg,” Camille said.

“Good to see you,” he responded.

“Oh hello Camille, I’m doing fine,” said Gran. “You have really done enough, I so appreciate you.”

“Well if you ever need any help…” said Camille.

“But of course, I’d sure call you. You are such a pretty girl…” said Gran.

Camille smiled.

“Yes,” said Gran. “Pretty girl, pretty teeth, pretty mouth…” with too much emphasis on those last syllables.

Greg felt his face freeze. He knew what Gran was doing, Camille wasn’t pretty at

all. She had a mouth like a horse.

“Uh Gran, yeah, Camille, we appreciate it, you are really a big help.”

“You know Greg here is packing up, gonna leave me,” said Gran.

“Oh really?” Camille turned to him.

“Well, I’ve had it planned, like forever,” said Greg.

“Where are you going?” asked Camille.

“To California,” said Greg.

“That’s a long way,” said Camille. “Who ya goin’ with?”

“Ummm, I don’t know, maybe just me,” said Greg.

“Oh wow.”

“How do you feel about that Ms. Taylor?”

At that moment, Greg was super proud of Gran. She stood there, blue eyes sparkling, standing on the porch, looking over the crepe myrtles, the brick wall behind her with the no-place-like-home plaque. She looked like a tall, elegant statue with a taste for satire.

“Well Camille, it’s okay, whatever Greg wants; he should try it. A lot of people like California, you know…” said Gran.

Oh the things you think about in the middle of the desert, thought Greg driving along in his 1964 Thunderbird. The car had been a graduation gift from his grandparents. He had taken it to college for a brief few months. Drove it around all over the place and had a blast before he flunked out by joining a rock band, of course. The Welcome to California sign was just ahead of him, that’s when he heard it…the “click, click click of the head gasket gone wrong.

Looking on the dashboard, Greg was stunned …No! No! He got out of the car, it was running hot. He had made it to Ludlow California. The tape deck was blaring, “Back in the USSR…” The T-bird was adamant, she needed water. Greg looked around, it wasn’t the California he was aiming for. Cactus, sand, low scrub brush, more sand for miles. No rock. No leopard pants. No Sunset Strip. There was only one thing to do, shoulder up the two guitars, grab the water bottle and walk to town….

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