We left Arkansas, returning to Tennessee for a brief visit before hitting the road again. If this were a movie instead of the written word, this would be the perfect time for a montage of us driving and selling to little shops. There would be faded transitions of hours of driving, looking at maps, slowly cruising in towns large and small, looking for suitable shops to sell our Guatemalan merchandise. Jaunty music accompanies a quick transition of scenes of us showing shop owners the hackie sacks, shorts, and little woven bags and walking out with a wad of cash as we happily jump back into the van. Then the whole sequence would repeat each day, blurring into the next repeatedly with a long fade into the next scene.
We decided to visit one of Donna’s long-time friends, Stephanie, in South Carolina. As we drove along the coast, I saw a fireball burning in the sky, traveling a little faster than we were, leaving a trail of smoke that dissipated behind it. I have no idea what caused this phenomenon. I could see the flames slowly licking away at the ball as it moved forward and eventually out of sight. When we pulled in at Stephanie’s house, she assured me that the sky often held strange things as we were near a military naval base. I couldn’t imagine that the military had a fireball that they were nurturing.
The rest of the visit was standard as the two old friends caught up, reacquainting each other. We discussed recent and past history, recounting our meeting at Susie’s party and her extraordinary ‘party favor.’ We spoke of Stephanie’s life and adventures which seemed tame and ordinary compared to ours. She told us that the pawnshops around military bases were jam-packed with better than regular stuff for a low price. As tempted as I was, we had everything we needed. Eventually, it was time to move on, so we packed up and did exactly that.