There is a stretch of I-71 where you will suddenly be disconnected. Lost. The stair-step of bars on your phone will evaporate, deflate – a dead signal – and if you happen to be in the middle of call, Lord, your voice. To the other person, you are gargling, drowning, hiccupping a weird, watery stutter that sizzles for a few brief moments before – SHHH. And that’s it. For about a mile and half or something, no one can find you using wires and motherboards and however else that stuff works. Straight to voicemail. Lost.
You are still stuck to the Earth, though. The road is decently wide, and the curve here is very gentle. Big scaly sides of dynamite rock, shady and cool. It’s very easy to sail, to keep sailing your cars, hot metal horses with beating radiator hearts, and decide – maybe for a split second while you are disconnected from your tiny touch-screen self – to get lost for real.
Do you do this?
It happens to me. Accelerate a keen 15 over the speed limit around the bend, the sandy blasted bedrock walls cupped like hands around us. Listen to Truck as he pumps his legs a little harder for a moment – 3,000 rpm, a little more, more, a bit more now, Jesus – and then he exhales, whew, snorts a bit. Down to 2,000 again. Steady breathing. Strong horsepower hooves in the big tires and over the pavement. Calmer now, outside of the dead zone of I-71. But for a split second there, I almost ran away to Canada.
We all want to change. But if faced with a lull in the chaos, how many of us will steer our broncos further than city limits? Beyond the end of I-71 – because it dies in a few miles from the dead zone – and go, go, go! Gallop? Sure, gallop. As author Rick Robinson states here for us with his new release – “This book asks a very basic question if you could change, would you?”
Bringing both the query and the new novel together tonight for readers to explore, Rick Robinson  will join the folks at Barnes & Noble tonight, Tuesday, June 18th, for a signing of his latest, Alligator Alley.
Joining the ranks of Robinson’s other globally-praised works – including the London Book Festival Grand Prize Winner, Writ of Mandamus – this spring’s Alligator Alley has already been awarded the Grand Prize at the Great Southeast Book Festival and placed as a Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Set against the backdrop of Southern Florida, Alligator Alley tells the story of James Conrad, a materially successful man facing his 50th birthday alone. With a nostalgic drive through the Everglades, Conrad finds himself questioning the course of his life, faced with the query: can we change?
Find both Robinson and Conrad’s answer tonight at The Summit area Barnes & Noble , as the author signs copies of Alligator Alley starting at 6:30pm.
And check your dash on the way, accelerate – when the little orange arrow passes beyond 3,000 rpm, look out of every window, see where you are. Where are you going? Are you lost? Metal horse exhales. 2,000 again. If my Truck had a neck, I would pat it.
The Summit branch of Barnes & Noble is located at 4100 Summit Plaza Drive. For more information, call (502) 327-0410.
Image: Courtesy of Amazon www.amazon.com