Just Start Hitting Keys


The monsoons came to the desert, bringing with them blessed relief from the heart, and also the fog of war. July escaped us. It escaped everyone, maybe, but for our little fledgling band of drifters there just seemed to be too much, too fast, in all our lives. And the lackadaisical days of sitting around the bar and bullshitting became harder and harder to come by. Somehow it felt like the wheels were coming off the bus a little.

But that was to be expected. I was busy prepping for a month-long road trip coming up in August, and Mack was still clearing out the remnants of his old life every night, coming home from work caked in sweat from the humidity and the grinding nature of his job. And Candi had somehow got stuck between two fellas on her dating app, both of which seemed like real duds but which she refused to give up on.

“Tell him about the trash bag incident,” Mack told her, as I walked in to join them for a short one at the bar.

“Oh, I don’t know, it’s too embarrassing,” she laughed, wide-eyed and eager with the story. The she recounted her recent trip to a B&B with one of these guys, the one I had been rooting for, but for some reason refused to escalate things physically beyond the junior high school phase of things. When she finally dared him to prove at least that he could provide a little pleasure to himself, he left the room only to come back a few minutes later with a roll of paper towels and a trash bag.

“Yeah, I mean, you know, like one of those 13 gallon, white, tie-and-twist trash bags you use for your kitchen,” she said, one I could catch my breath from laughing. I had to wipe the tears away with the palm of my hands, and was making a spectacle of myself in the quiet bar room.

“Seems mighty optimistic of him,” said Mack, and I lost it again. We all did, it was such a bizarre thing to hear. But it was becoming clear that whatever was driving Candi to keep keeping on with this guy wasn’t going to let up, not yet anyways, and that she was just determined to go through it the hard way.

But there wasn’t much interest in tagging along for the ride, so we just gave the best advice we could and the best blessings we had and drifted off from our regular bar meets. I didn’t have any time for playing with dating apps anyways, which is what had brought us all together to begin with, and Mack had begun to write again too. We had a task at hand, time was short, and it took precedent over everything else.

“Just start hitting keys,” I said to Mack, over a game of pool the day before I left. It was his own advice, actually, and really just a reminder, to him and to myself. It had been a long time since I’d taken to writing anything other than in a journal, but that part of my world had been collecting dust for too long.

Angie was there too though, and she knew that secret as well as anyone. Is it better to have written crap, or nothing at all? Should you toil and sweat over a single page to get it so perfect it never sees the light of day, or is it better to just shoot what you got out there as soon as it comes out on the page and never look back, hoping that each page will get better as you go?

For the moment the answers didn’t matter. It was a sunny afternoon, and the storms wouldn’t come rolling in for a long while. I’d wrestled with those questions in my own way, and I was tired of writing for the moment. The sunshine was pouring in through the doorway and shining off the brass bar, and the beer was cold and it felt good to be moving forward again. The truck was packed and I’d leave in the morning, but we all could something shifting beneath our feet already, even if just a little. There might be some tough sledding ahead, but the hard part, the getting started part, that was behind us. The three of us had started hitting keys again. And that was worth celebrating.