Monsters and Dust

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More evidence of solar worship revealed itself in southern Arizona, at the recently opened Titan Missile Museum just south of Tucson. The now decommissioned Titan II was the largest missile ever made, so the silo goes something like ten stories under the flat desert.xxxvi For a nominal entrance fee the guide will take you down to the control roomxxxvii and to the missile itselfxxxviii along with a group made up of mostly cold war veterans, nostalgic for the bomb. Visitors are welcome to photograph as much as they like, because the design these of $300 million dinosaurs is so old and cumbersome that they are now obsolete.


As I drove through New Mexico towards El Paso, I stopped at a rest area and saw a gang of giant locusts pinning down one of their own, eating it alive.xxxix Their slow, deliberate movements felt less insect-like than a conscious display of pragmatic intelligence. After the last few sights in Arizona everything started to feel cinematic, like felt like the first scene in an apocalyptic film. That night I was stopped at a border patrol checkpoint in Texas. The first thing the patrolman asked, in a voice signaling complete alienation was, “What the hell are you driving?” As he slowly walked around the car scrutinizing the stenciled crystals and polychromatic fieldsxl I thought about the fact that I had no title, registration or insurance for the car.

“What’s that?” He pointed. I bit my lip and looked away. I thought about the locusts earlier that day.

“What’s that?” He pointed at something else. It took all my energy to answer without sarcasm. It was essential that I got through this high stakes critique without instigating him to ask for my papers. After he made a full circle around the car he cocked his head closer to me, examining the kind of mess that clearly describes a car currently being lived in. He asked what my business was in Texas. “Just passing through,” I told him. He wanted specifics. Where was I coming from, where was I going. This was all complicated by the fact that I hadn’t really been anywhere long enough to say where I had just come from, but I answered his questions without losing face and finally he waved me through.