Daniel Adler Opens the Gateway to the West

daniel adler
The Mighty Mississippi and the Gateway Arch.

In Kansas City the streets are so wide and long, you really need a car. We went to Caddyshack for dinner and met Aimee, who had lived in New York and made it working for Fendi, when she was skinny and didn’t eat but she followed her boyfriend back home to KCMO and plus it was the post 9/11 blues. I played pool with her brother who had an Asian tattoo on his neck and close set drunk eyes and Aimee acknowledged sadly that he was white trash and I said yes but he’s true and real.

This morning we went to Arthur Bryant’s barbecue. The sauces were rich and vinegary and delicious. The place is so famous, they have hung a framed cartoon with A. Bryant at the gates of heaven and God asking did you bring the sauce. It opened at ten and we had beans and slaw and open faced pulled pork and we weren’t the only ones there.

The ride was three and a half to St. Louis, and the low rolling hills and big open blue sky and brown fields with rolled haystacks like giant cotton balls  and the trees sprinkled gold and red and leaves fluttering and sunlight streaming through splotchy black patches in the clouds in rays onto the gold-littered fields…

In St. Louis we went to the Arch. It stands 630 feet high and we went into the Museum of Westward Expansion and walked through the Jefferson Expansion Park, lined with trees leading to the huge steel structure built in 1965 at the height of the American Golden Age, a monument to the pioneering spirit.

We’re staying just south of the city in Festus, and there is a monkey convention in our hotel. The woman I asked to let me pet her monkey shrugged reluctantly, and then she watched as he crawled up to me and chirped, showing his little teeth, and rubbing his nails against my forearm nervously. He was wearing a diaper.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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