For days afterward, the four would have a secret, comfortable glow about them. It was the exciting tranquility of riding arms out, eyes wide face up in the stars, and body thrust forward into the wind toward the empty road. It was the adrenaline: their feet planted firmly on the grate of a black roof rack, on top of a 2005 silver Toyota Prius, zooming quietly along at 15 to 20 miles per hour, sometimes with the headlights off. It was, in part, the unexpected safety of two friendly pairs of hands, ready to keep the rider from crashing down to the pavement below.
The driver — a pig throat-slitting, banjo-playing, motorcycle-riding, campfire skillet-cooking, pirate radio Chicago chicano photojournalist — watched the whole thing play out onto the road in front of him through shadows thrown down by a waxing moon.
First the natively Venezuelan but Virginia-bred, country-singing, trespassing, estate-sale-shopping, insect-eating and parachute-wielding photojournalist goofball climbed up. He stood against the wind as the other two braced him.
Next up was the sandy blonde romantic, Indiana radio boy — by way of South Africa and St. Lucia — who had a desire for the Middle East, and an intense draw to family and Bloody Marys.
Then it was the freckled and kinky long-form journalist chistosa Jew-Mex, schooled in Boston but inherently Austin, who loved to stick her nose into nature, and get lost in the smell of books and the sensuality of words.
It was the sheer whiskey-drunk wonder of flying, howling through the dry night air after a midnight dunk of stargazing and shooting the shit in a Rio Grande hot spring. It was the four giddy travelers, all muscles relaxed, all temperaments goofy and carefree. It was, maybe, the utter tomfoolery of three young journalists taking turns climbing onto the roof of a car from the windows and cruising down a road full of no one but the West Texas jack rabbits.
It was utter bliss.
“This will always have happened,” the driver had said earlier in the night. “And no one can ever take it away.”
Editors disclaimer: We can’t endorse even fictional car surfing, but kids will be kids. Don’t try this at home, but you probably will do what you are going to do. Nonetheless a very fine short piece by Beth.
Author: Beth Cortez-Neavel
Beth Cortez-Neavel has lived and played in Austin for over 20 years and has been writing for almost as long. She enjoys cooking, writing, sarcasm, good art and video games set on “easy.” The daughter of a Mexican-American father who was the first US citizen in his family, and an American-born gringa mother, Beth is no stranger to living the life in between borders. She has been published in print and online in a few anthologies and electronic magazines. She makes sporadic appearances at open mics and poetry readings around Austin. Her short essay “Vacation from Life” was published in Writing Austin’s Lives: A Community Portrait (2004). She has been a regular contributor to the e-zine Haggardandhalloo.com since 2007. She was published in the 2011 Austin International Poetry Festival anthology Di-verse-city. Beth is currently working toward a Master of Arts degree in Professional Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and has worked as a freelance journalist for KUT News, The Austin Times, Culturemap.com, and The Austin Creative Alliance.