I try to ignore them but it's difficult to concentrate on anything else, their laughter is eating my brain. There's seven of them around the table: three woman, four men, average age approximately 77, average hair color 'blue'. I catch raspy bits of their conversation (something about a pheasant hunt gone awry) and I am guessing they have never left the State. Returning to my breakfast, I gently push my eggs around the plate with the back of my fork…an attempt to further refine my mountain-scape of hashbrowns. As my eyes begin to burn, I look up and it occurs to me that I can actually hear the lofting smoke plumes giggle as they breach an imaginary wall, making their break for the non-smoking section.
My father attempts to break the silence with a fraternal inquiry regarding 'my day' to which I respond in a perfect pubescent dialect, 'huh?'. Between the cigarette smoke tickling my nose and the cackles of geriatric laughter, I am more moody than the average 17 year old (and that's saying something). This place, these people, there's got to be so much more.
I grew up in South Dakota and this place is Tally's Restaurant, Rapid City, SD - it's 1989. I’ve always been able to place myself back to Tally’s and vividly remember the need for escape - not so much an escape ‘from’ something but an overpowering desire to escape ‘to’ something bigger, faster, shinier, seemingly more important, and without regard to the niceties, passing hello’s and goodness around me…something raw and powerful. I envisioned this is the sort of fire that historically prompted those to follow the order, “Go West young man!”. It was not lost on me that I was already ‘West’.
This is Chapter 1.