Hour Seven

We finally pass a jackknifed truck and get back up to speed, but Radar calculates in his head that we’ll need to average seventy-seven from here to Agloe. It has been one entire hour since Ben announced that he needed to pee, and the reason for this is simple: he is sleeping. At six o’clock exactly, he took NyQuil. He lay down in the wayback, and then Lacey and I strapped both seat belts around him. This made him even more uncomfortable, but 1. It was for his own good, and 2. We all knew that in twenty minutes, no discomfort would matter to him at all, because he would be dead asleep. And so he is now. He will be awoken at midnight. I have just put Lacey to bed now, at 9 P.M., in the same position in the backseat. We will wake her at 2 A.M. The idea is that everybody sleeps for a shift so we won’t be taping our eyelids open by tomorrow morning, when we come rolling into Agloe.

 

The minivan has become a kind of very small house: I am sitting in the passenger seat, which is the den. This is, I think, the best room in the house: there is plenty of space, and the chair is quite comfortable.

Scattered about the carpet beneath the passenger seat is the office, which contains a map of the United States Ben got at the BP, the directions I printed out, and the scrap paper onto which Radar has scrawled his calculations about speed and distance. Radar sits in the driver’s seat. The living room. It is a lot like the den, only you can’t be as relaxed when you’re there. Also, it’s cleaner.

Between the living room and the den, we have the center console, or kitchen. Here we keep a plentiful supply of beef jerky and GoFast bars and this magical energy drink called Bluefin, which Lacey put on the shopping list. Bluefin comes in small, fancily contoured glass bottles, and it tastes like blue cotton candy. It also keeps you awake better than anything in all of human history, although it makes you a bit twitchy. Radar and I have agreed to keep drinking it until two hours before our rest periods. Mine starts at midnight, when Ben gets up.

This first bench seat is the first bedroom. It’s the less desirable bedroom, because it is close to the kitchen and the living room, where people are awake and talking, and sometimes there is music on the radio.

Behind that is the second bedroom, which is darker and quieter and altogether superior to the first bedroom.

And behind that is the refrigerator, or cooler, which currently contains the 210 beers that Ben has not yet peed into, the turkey-that-looks-like-ham sandwiches, and some Coke.

There is much to recommend this house. It is carpeted throughout. It has central air-conditioning and heating. The whole place is wired for surround sound. Admittedly, it contains only fifty-five square feet of living space. But you can’t beat the open floor plan.

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