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Texas has a strange grip on me.  As soon as the Texan sun kisses my skin, everything ebbs away. Fatigue, pain, doubts… seem to evaporate; a deep peace settles in.

Yesterday evening, the pull of the full moon over the Hillcountry was too strong. I grabbed the keys of a ridiculously overpowered 4×4 and steered  away from civilization. Hobbling over meandering dirt roads near Lake Travis, roughly going moonward, I enjoyed the beastly low  growling of the V8 as it strained for grip.

About an hour in, in the middle of nowhere, not having the slightest idea where I was, I halted next to a rusty, battered F150. The old vehicle held together mostly by habit, and mud. Sitting on the hood was an old rancher, dreamily looking at some heavenly smelling food that was roasting in a simmering low fire.

As I got out of my Jeep, he tossed me a surprisingly cold Dos Equis. He sipped his whiskey. We stared at the fire. The grim lines in his face showed the hard map of the life he walked. He talked about Texas, about the bloody yuppies from the East and West Coast settling into his beloved State. He talked about his Moonshine. I tasted it. It would have turned Rasputin blind, so I stuck to my Dos Equis.  

Liam shared his brisket. We ate it, resting our backs against the wheels of our vehicles. The meat was heavenly, cooked and smoked to perfection. We had stopped talking. There was nothing more to say. The silence of the prairie and the wheezing of the dying fire said it all.  

I stared at the moon, my brain on empty, for the first time in a very, very long time. I noticed that Liam’s ship had sunk in his homemade whiskey.  He snored. I tossed his cigarette in the ashes, dropped a blanket over his shoulder, jumped in my off-roader and aimed for bed.

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