Midwest Purgatory: A Stalled Travelogue, chapter one

Rusty Awkward was unhappy.

The majority of his unhappiness regarded the turn of events by which he found himself in his current location, and the duration of his stay there. Eleven long months had passed now, stranded in a no-name town in southwest Michigan, getting breakfast in a cheap, empty, trashy diner and writing contentless police blotters for the typo-ridden local newspaper with nothing but a typewriter (sans ink) and a Chevy (sans function) to his name. Thirteen months since he had left New York for L.A, embarking on what he was so sure would be a creative pilgrimage, the source of a great novel, memoir, screenplay, anything. Sixteen months since he had dropped out of a nice liberal arts college, and four years— four years!— since he had written the only reason anyone had ever heard of him.

The waitress arrived, took his drink order, and retreated, unknowingly making way for the young woman approaching Rusty.

“Cream, three sugars? Jesus, that’s not even coffee. Is this seat taken?”

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