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Fiction #425
(published March 12, 2009)
South, Northsouth, Dude
by Michael McClenahan
"Dude, where's A1-A?"

The guy's hair was a mass of kelp washed up on shore.

"Uh, yeah," I said, "You're on it."

"Huh?" he said. "But where is it?" Like I was speaking Albanian.

I stepped back and waved my hands flight attendant style. "Here," I said. "This is it. This road right here. This is A1A."

He followed my hands, a dog after a French fry. Then he looked up and down the street.

"No, no," he said. "A1A!"

I suppose he expected more. Palm Coast is not what most people imagine of the famous road. There're no trains of half naked co-eds driving in bumper to bumper traffic, and the ocean is a quarter mile away on the other side of a barrier island.

I looked at the matted dude. I pointed north. He followed my hand up the road. "That way is St. Augustine. This way," I pointed south before he could protest, "is Daytona."

"Yeah, yeah," he said. "That's it. A1A. Right."

"Right," I said.

"Okay," he said, "so it's that way?"


"Dude," he said, "A, ONE, A. It's that way then?"

"Uh, yeah," I said, "that's right. Follow this road and you'll get there."

"Cool," he said. "Hey, where'd you get that?" He pointed to my slushie.

"There's a Tasty Freeze a block over." I pointed over my shoulder.

"Rightous," he said. "I'm totally thirsty."

"Well, it's right there,"

"Hey, thanks, dude," he called, but I was already walking away. I should have been home thirty-five minutes ago. The baby's probably been up for an hour.

When I turned the corner at the end of the block he was still standing there looking first down A1A and then toward the Tasty Freeze. I could understand. One direction held drunk, horny, half-naked women, but the other way held sixteen ounces of frozen goodness like hope in a Styrofoam cup.

Tough call.


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