The sign at the gas station with the arrows indicating the mileage and directions to three nearby towns was not unusual upon initial inspection. The single and double digit population indicators were. Who the fuck would ever live there? How fucking small is the town we’re in now?! Who the fuck lives HERE?! Just as my buddy Eric and I were calculating the number of potential prom dates you’re looking at in a town like this, and the effects of inbreeding on human intelligence, he emerged. The answers to these mysteries and countless more presented itself- in a ripped faded “Korn” t-shirt. He spoke:
“No, it's regular”
“Oh- where ya’ll from?”
You know that feeling you get when the cop asks you how fast you think you were going? Or when a woman asks how old you think she is? Here we are, two big healthy smooth talking college educated city boys, heading from NY to LA, and Kornboy has us at a complete loss. What if he hates LA? Or NY? What if he rapes and kills everyone who passes through his beloved Sparrowfart, Illinois, ala “Deliverance”? How long would it take to find our bodies? How long till our families even realize we are missing? Do they have cops in this town? Is Kornboy one of them? He could be the mayor for all we know.
“LA. Well, New York, heading to LA”
“I hate big cities”
We’re deader than Lincoln.
“Too much crime”
Ok he knows what crime is and he seems to know it's bad, that’s a good sign.
“Oh, it's really not that bad”, I tell him and we proceed with small talk about big cities, driving cross country, music, etc.
“I’s gonna go to Ozzfest at the stadium last month but I figgered there’d be a riot.”
In the course of the conversation Kornboy had devolved from maniacal tourist killer to somewhat of a spineless lump of a man. As he ruminated endlessly about his theories on the Kurt Cobain suicide and Marilyn Manson’s latest masterpiece, the question burned inside us like a poison.
“What the fuck do people do around here?” I asked suddenly.
Oops. I guess it burned its way out.
He paused. The suspense was overwhelming. There had to be a reason this town existed. A reason beyond housing a gas station for those unfortunate enough to run dry at this point on the interstate. A reason why men chose this Godforsaken area of land as their home. A reason why they didn’t run as fast and far as they could upon realizing where they were. A reason why Kornboy was here, content without any of the amenities we rely on to experience and enjoy life every moment of everyday. Just as we are lured to the big cities to be a part of it all, with dreams of one day shouting from the tallest building “Here I am! Notice ME!!”, Kornboy is happy here. Happy to be born, pump gas, and die. The human mind must need more, mustn’t it? Surely Kornboy was about to reveal the secret that has kept the human condition viable here, and perhaps give us the most profound clue yet, as to the reason for man’s existence, for if men had found a reason to dwell in this cultural and technological void, it must be a biggie, one that was so foreign and mysterious yet vast and wonderful that it might even suggest the presence of God in this yokel-ridden wasteland! Tell us, oh Kornboy, tell us!
“We smoke a lot of pot.”
We paid for the gas and drove on.