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Abandoned Cars  

(Highway 40)

Sunny day, Jackson Browne on the radio. Just ahead now, rising above the horizon: huge billows of black smoke. The smoke ripples apocalyptically over that hill. Incongruous. HOLY CRAP! A car, and it's on fire, and not just a little bit. Looks like a BMW, being consumed by flames. What the hell happened here? Looks like it just blew up. No driver to be seen. All on a beautiful sunny day. Seems absurd, a dent in the head of normalcy, a winking, incorrigible brain-twister. Like those people jumping out of the World Trade Center towers: Didn't seem right — didn't seem real! — people leaping to their deaths. Horrible! And deliberate. Some guy in a TV interview said maybe they didn't see the asphalt, just the face of God inviting them to jump. Just let go and fall into Heaven, or the Great Beyond. Someone else said it was natural to jump: Your body does it for you, involuntarily. Surreal. What is it with people abandoning cars on this highway, anyway, as if it's an interstate junkyard? You see them all the time: empty shells of dead crustaceans, littering the beach.

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