Auto-Drift, or A Devised Dérive – Part 3

by | Dec 22, 2015 | Fiction

The car took him equidistant to the interstate, eventually into Creve Coeur. Closer and close to the river he strived to drive. He found a path until it led him to farms and open fields, and closed waterworks that said:

no trepassing

Damn, this is as close as I can get.

Missing that magnificent close up view of the river he wanted, he cut his losses and drove through the flat farm roads, noticing an abandoned looking silo.

Returning to the 141 expressway, Matt noticed the clever electronic highway message that said:

Drive Now.


Hey, that’s clever. I must remember that, to Drive Now, and Write Later, or I guess it would be, WRT L8R.

A floodplain farm lay to his left, revealing a throng of people jumping into the fall festivities of the apple orchard: pumpkins, Pomona, and all. A cornucopia presented itself to the people. Some, however, chose instead to ride the hedge maze and its whirligig all round fun. The two groups were separated by a makeshift grassyfield parking lot of cars.

Numerous hotels appeared before the driver and vehicle as they travelled north. High above, airplanes shot off like shotguns in the sky, flying over the Earth and Earth City.

Big ol’ jet airliner, Don’t carry me too far away. Oh oh, big ol’ jet airliner, the radio twanged.

Spherically driving along the surface of the globular earth into Earth City, Matt watched as the airplanes flew west into the setting sun, like giant Icari with metal wings. By this time of the day, the sun was beginning to depart for the night, revealing the breathtaking nature beauty of the sublime open landscape horizon. Along the horizon’s edges, where the sun was not so illustrious and intense, light pink rosy blushing cheeks of sky appeared and set a quiet tone for the evening drive.

Matt explored the terrain of the Rock road and found a small path to the river, lying parallel to the city of St. Charles, nestled along the opposite bank.

He stopped for dinner at a local fastfood restaurant and checked his watch. It was 6 pm in the evening.

I’m hungry, he thought.




Edwina sat beside her mother in their small apartment. She was helping her mother fill out an online job application.

—No mom, here, here’s where you need to go in order to read their policy on healthcare benefits.

—But I already click this before. It doesn’t work. Here, you try, her mother scooted the rolling chair back and threw her hands up into the air.

—Please, mom, I’m tired, and I was gonna go out and meet my friends tonight. It’s my one Saturday night off in forever.

—Ok, I just need help, that’s all I’m saying, won’t you help?

—Yeah, ok, mom. Here, take the mouse back.

—Now what I do now? her mother asked in confusion, squinting at the computer screen monitor.

Bassza meg! Edwina swore quietly to herself.

Charley locked the door to his house behind him and then unlocked his car door with the pressing of a rubber button on his plastic car key. He pulled out from his driveway and took the road west to his Russian friend’s house.

Louise continued to sit in her comfy chair. She lay stretched out, with a 3DS portable game console in her hands, playing a videogame, while also multitaskingly watching a movie. The movie that was playing was the zombie film, Shaun of the Dead. Ding! sounded in the background as her mother announced the preparation of dinner by the ringing of the triangle dinner bell.

Matt sat at a highrise table at the McDonald’s in Earth City and watched news footage of a manhunt for a lost university student in Virginia while he chomped down on a double cheeseburger.

Earl, at that moment, was leaving Five Guys Burgers and Fries, after a delicious meal, with his boyfriend. They strolled down the road, held hands, and talked about what movies they wanted to watch that night.

Russ stared up from his prostrate position, yawned loudly and long like a cat, and then rolled over from his bed onto his feet. He checked his phone for text messages and saw that Charley was heading on his way now to see him. He poured himself a shot of vodka, put some clothes on, and walked down to his basement to play some video games before his friend arrived. His fan continued to twirl.

It was 55 degrees outside in St. Louis.



Beautiful landscapes appeared and shone for the driver as he travelled along the Missouri Bottoms and up into North County.

Feeling the call of nature once again, he pulled over onto the side of the road. He noticed the sign:

no parking

Damn! Better make this fast.

He finished his pissing and attempted to get a quick glance of the river through the thick trees. However, his sight was obscured and he had to be on his way before anyone spotted him illegally parked.

Twisty turning roads rolled him up and around, drifting, cosineing drifting down and over through the northern North County woods.

Taking an extreme side road, his chrodian car secantly seeking a shortcut, he skimmed down a hill onto Carico Road, the home of where urban legend says the Bubbleheads live.

private property

Heeding the signs advice, Matt reversed and maneuvered back onto the main road, leading down down to Jamestown Mall. The sun had finally fallen asleep for the night.



The once famous Jamestown Mall, a node of consumerism, where Matt had been as a child, long ago, was now a husk of a shopping center, with numerous potholes and weeds growing through the concrete. The parking lot was a vast black open air darkness, with no lights whatsoever. The only lights that shone inside the mall were on one side of the mall and looked puny against the encroached blackness.

Are there homeless people living in there?

Matt left the desolate place and found himself along the busy Lindbergh Boulevard. He navigated his way to his grandparent’s old house in Florissant and thought of old memories.

Wanna go down to school, Matt?

            Doozles Ice Cream. Pirrone’s Pizza. Mmmm.

He fondly recollected his old memories of childhood, walking with his grandmother to Schnucks, eating fried chicken legs, going on further walks.

Sufficiently remembered, he started his car again and drove down into the sector of Ferguson, where his older cousin used to live.

rough road

Ferguson was as he once remembered it: a good hardworking community. His cousin had lived here once, in his youth. Many signs littered lawns of local residents: We Love Ferguson

The events of the recent summer were fresh upon Matt’s mind. The media, creating Ferguson into a spectacle, into dirty laundry, had cast the city as the centre of crime-ridden ghettos in the suburbs. A segment of anarchy and black crime, of pranks. Their argument: Ferguson is a ghetto, therefore it’s violent; Ferguson is violent, therefore it’s a ghetto. It was and is not this, just as all places are not wholly their stereotypes. It was simply a place for communities to live and grow.

Poor Michael Brown; I wish I could have known you. Maybe we could have become brothers one day. Life is so unpredictable, you never know. Sleep in peace now, away from the troubles of the world, away from the road of sighs.

dead end

However, the disparity between the suburbs of the west and the suburbs of the north was telling. Tangentially, it once again told the story of us vs. them. Me vs. You. Separate 1st person and 2nd person; bisected and no united plural 1st person of We. False dichotomies: us and them.

Us and them (us, us, us, us, us, us/them, them, them, them, them, them…)

            And after all we’re only ordinary men

            Me and you (me, me, me, me, me, me/you, you, you, you, you, you…)

            God only knows it’s not what we would choose to do

            Black and blue (black, black, black, black, black, black/blue, blue, blue, blue, blue, blue…)

            And who knows which is which and who is who (is who, is who, is who, is who, is who, is who…)

            Up and down (up, up, up, up, up, up/down, down, down, down, down, down…)

            And in the end it’s only round

and round,                   and round,

and round,                                           and round,

and round,                   and round,

   And round.

           With, without (with, with, with, with, with, with/out, out, out, out, out, out)

            And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about?

            Hey you! Don’t tell me there’s no hope at alllllllllll.

            Together we stand divided we fall,

we fall,

we fall,

we fall,

we fall,

we fall,

we fall…


The lack of progress over the decades, the lack of growth to the situation discouraged him. The race question. The poverty question. This infantile cycle of repetitive problems was stranded in the past, gasping for a solution. An Archimedean spiral; a Viconian vortex. History as a nightmare. When would it be solved?

‘Round and ‘round and ‘round it goes, where it stops nobody knows…My situation goes ‘round and ‘round.


The radio knob spun a semicircle clockwise, mirrowing its vehicle’s own circular passage. The path Matt wanted to follow: the progressive deasil clockwise. But time simultaneously pushed at him and pulled him back along the regressive widdershins counterclockwise. History, that is; vicious cycle. A negative circle, and we scrape scrambling along the circumference end. Opposite of symbolic circle of unity; it is an ellipse—an illusion of progress, an illusion of unity, bending too far high the arc, waiting too long for the bend, the turnabout U-turn relief. Sinister and malicious it is. Koyaanisqatsi. Left, up, right, down; west, north, east, south. Into eternity ad infinitum ad nauseam along the negative roundabout.

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About The Author

Matthew Lane

Matthew Lane graduated from St. Louis University with a degree in English in 2013. He can be reached at