Notes for ‘A Million Miles Away in Fishkill’

Day 97 of Formulating a Plan

A man pushing seventy over a cliff… adrift… Dodge Charger… 300 hp… charging.

Interstate 87… Interstate 84… Route 9… Mid-Hudson Bridge… Route 9W. No fixed address, weekly rate motels, extended stay hotels, $100 a night, $3,000 a month, not that much more than the $2,000 rent plus $600 in utilities he was paying for the apartment in Piermont (don’t do the math).

No utilities now, no lease, the freedom of that; no landline, just a cellphone to take calls from puzzled relatives.

Where the hell are you?

I’ll tell you when I see the next exit sign.

You’re too old for this, dude.

This guy, being pulled around the Hudson Valley by 300 horses, a man without a compass, drinking too much, eating too little, up half the night, nothing ain’t right.

Next day back on the road, you could say lost, Bob Dylan whining from the stereo, Once upon a time you dressed so fine, you threw the bums a dime in your prime… How does it feel, to be without a home, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone…

He’s not reliving a lost youth, he really is lost; although when he thinks about it, lost has been found and now found is lost. Write that down, old man. Instead, that midnight in a gin and tonic, he writes down: A dying man dreams. Some are beautiful. And then they stop.

In the Turnpike Tap Room an even older man inquires, Is one ever too old to be a struggling writer? To which the younger old man replies, Is one ever too old to die? The old drunk is looking for his brain. I’m not sure I understand your meaning. The younger old man can no further elaborate than put flesh on the older old man’s bones.

New York City is never more than a three-hour drive away but in towns like Colonie and Cohoes and Coxsackie (gotta love the name) it might as well be a million miles… blah blah blah…

He ends up in a village called Fishkill. I’ll go crazy here. What the hell will I do? —This is the guy talking to his Charger. I’m less than two hours from New York City, so how come I feel I’m a million miles away?

First of all, you are crazy—(this is his Charger piping up)—and second of all, you will write.

What will I write?

‘A Million Miles Away in Fishkill,’ dummy.

Blah blah blah…