We're outside of the town now, heading to a place in the Badlands that I remember. It's supposed to be part of a national preserve, but I know of an access road that will cut us into there. Inside is a clear river-stream that I want to bring us all into. Passing through, with our vehicles across the way; as dumb as it sounds, I think we need to be purified. And this place just seems right. And who am I to say what is dumb and what is not? This a pilgrimage, literally and figuratively. Perhaps this will be what is needed.

The landscape looks like the Negev, or Mare Imbrium. Driving along a barely passable two track road, I skirt ahead on the cycle, feeling it throb like some sort of overgrown vibrator between my legs. My ass hurts from the vibration. The road is slightly grown over, but I see the bridge ahead, and no rangers around. I drive across the I-beam bridge, and wait idling. Ryan, Jeff and Scott get out, and Rob and Chris get out of the respective vehicles, looking furtively about. Rob still looks worried about the letter. Jhasen had sought to explain in terms of Steve, but I think it has gone to a more personal field. It's bringing him to stop Steve, but also bringing us to a level we didn't know about. Jesus, it sounds like Olympic training. Nate and Sally come out, with Cliff, after checking the body. When we go to Wall Drug, I remind myself to get a side-car. It's lonely out there, with disembodied voices echoing in my helmet. Besides, the bus has begun to stink like an Australian table wine. He could use a good airing. Walking across the bridge, small talk is made, and the mood is not reverent, or expectant, but almost like everyone knows this is what they have to do. This isn't a question any longer.

We go at our own pace. I have found a smooth rock, and sit, letting the spring water feed over me. Sally has gone through, and sits on the bank, not really saying anything, but looking wistfully at the sky. Chris and Rob have begun to play in the stream, like some sort of monstrous children's playground experiment gone mad. Ryan, Cliff and Scott are standing, letting the water curl around their calves, watching the behemoths at play. Cliff seems to be more detached-perhaps he's thinking about Mary Beth. Or killing Purple Dave. Either way is good for the soul. Close to him, Ryan and Scott are talking quietly about Wall Drug. They seem to be even more inseparable then normal. Nate has taken a sitting position on the bridge, reading Bradbury and not really joining the games. Understandable. Jeff just looks confused by all this, like something has changed from Northern Michigan. Lots of people he doesn't know. Empathy.

As we all come out, it feels good to be clean again. Physically good. I hop into the bus, and send this missive out, hoping Tracy, Nikki et al. Are reading this.

--Letters from a Savior; Offer for a few--


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