more specific

"What's your name?" he asks the woman pouring him another drink.
"Anne Marie," she replies, planting his cheap Mexican beer on the bar.
"That's two names," he retorts while taking a sip.

She pulls out her driver’s license, which reads "Annemarie" as one word. "All be damn," responds the sweat-soaked man who's spent the last three days in the alkali-wasteland known as the Mojave Desert; learning the hard way that the only thing scarcer than water are alcohol and conversation.

Conversation wanes as she returns to work and he returns to working on getting medium drunk before going back out to camp in the nothingness beneath stars and under the platinum light of a full moon. She moved from Oklahoma six years ago to live with her husband and child in 29 Palms.

"This is a military town," she tells him as if the bowl haircuts and baggy uniforms that hang on the shoulders of these old teenagers didn't drive that point home. But what he didn't know is that the military doles out extra money for solders with a family, which explains why these old teenagers marry unhappy women and produce the wild children milling about the eatery.

But a couple hundred extra dollars a month only goes so far when you're far from home and home is far from anything. The divorce left her stranded with little more then an address, a kid and a full-time job at a default Mexican restaurant in a town no one willingly visits. She said doesn't explore much and has never been to Palm Springs, California; the closest town 50 in miles.

She was idle and lonely. He was drunk and lenient. "When do you close?" he asks. "Midnight," she retorts. Grabbing a cocktail napkin and a pen, he scrawls a map to where he's going to spend the night. The pen rips the damp napkin as much as it writes but he musters together a map. "Two miles past where the road ends and parallel to the power lines there will be a motorcycle that smells of juniper and a campfire," he says. She says maybe. He says, he'll see her later.

He's drunker then he thought and the overloaded motorcycle swerves under his weight as he makes his way west. He chalks it up to desert winds as he pans for the turnoff to his free camping oasis just outside of Joshua Tree National Park. After a mile of unpaved road he heads north avoiding cacti, ruts and sand until finding enough land to call home. His side stand sinks into the ground and using a moonlight flashlight he looks for a rock to place under the side stand. All he finds is a flattened coffee, which will at least keep his bike from sinking in the sand come morning.

Coming across some twigs he collects kindling until there is enough make a fire for her to see. Even though the weather is warm enough to not require heat, a fire provides entertainment, light and a primitive sense of security. Sipping whiskey from a plastic pint, he smokes smelling the scent of dope mingling with the juniper as embers shoot off into the dry grasses, which he falls asleep in.

Grass scratching his face, he wakes to an oppressive heat and jingle of a dog's collar. Seeing no owner, he calls the dog, which sits down beside him. He pets the dog and reads the name "Anne Marie." He laughs, thinking to himself, 'Be more specific with what you ask for."
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