“Let me tell the story... I can tell it all
about the mountain boy who ran illegal alcohol…”
A twelve year old Walter Mitty, I got 'older'
after Thunder Road left me and the movie
theater in its black and white dust…
hung up my Neverneverland shadow in the
closet and began getting in touch with the
darker side of getaway-car noir...
resigning myself to a future of rum-running
Kentucky moonshine over moonlit mountain roads,
outrunning the revenuers and rival bootleggers…
“His daddy made the whiskey... the son, he drove the load... and
when his engine roared they called the highway THUNDER ROAD!”
well… somebody had to
drive the load... might
as well've been me...
And in the bathroom mirror, honing my best “Bob
Mitchum,” practicing the sleepy bar-room eyes, trying
to will the cleft of his jaw into my own undimpled chin
talking tough with the wooden match
dangling— the playful 'Pall Mall'
glued to a wry grimace:
“A man has a right to do anything, including making
whiskey as long as he does it on his own land”…
I logged hours as Mitchum's 'Lucas Doolin,'
languishing behind the big wheel of that black
derelict rusting out in the field behind the barn
witch grass growing up between the manifold
and floorboards, exuding its mild halitosis of
mold, mildew, iron oxide, and the sun-rot of
flat-tire rubber,... just a long-forgotten,
walk-in bank vault of car dreams
and captured time…
right hand on the wheel, left elbow propped out
the window, me elevated on a stack of sofa
pillows gone a.w.o.l. from the living room--
and in the rearview mirror, me
entertaining the question:
who would get me first...
the Law, or the Devil? And having seen
the movie twice, well... the Devil
was just a matter of time.
“And it was moonshine, moonshine, to quench the devil’s thirst
the Law they swore they’d get him but the Devil got him first!”
Me... goin’ out with that ol’ Hollywood
crash and burn down at the bottom
of the mountain gorge!
Mister Lucas Doolin because…
When my engine roared they
called the highway THUNDER ROAD!