Translucent waves were escaping faded asphalt and climbing upwards towards an azure sea of desert sky. Sun rays fought valiantly against this invasion but to no avail; with every invisibly hot warrior sent from above two more pavement refugees took their place. Able Lynch was becoming delirious. The old man sighted a small house ahead and decided that is where he would take refuge.
Typical of Las Vegas suburbs, the house was small and ill-kempt. Ultraviolet radiation had taken its toll on the red paint exterior rendering it a pastel shade of pink. All of the windows were long shattered and the front door was rotting off its hinges. The roof of the single level abode is the only part that troubled Able, the tar shingles were almost completely gone and rot had gotten to the support beams. He cautiously made his way onto the front porch and peered inside a window hole.
"Hello? Anybody home?" the old man called, almost laughing to himself as he did.
"Of course there isn't."
The heavily perspiring man gently nudged the decrepit front door. It opened smoothly with a little creak. Then abruptly fell off of its hinges, making a loud thud. Able stood in the doorway for a second wondering if this house would turn into a giant, dangerous domino set up. It did.
The old man leaped backwards as the entire back half of the home lurched to the side, whined and popped, then collapsed upon itself. The front half of the home, however, stayed more or less intact and with the roof became a potentially deadly lean-to. Even though it was probably a very stupid idea, Able walked inside and relished the shade.
Staring out of the empty doorway, the weary traveler downed what was left of a water bottle. The cool liquid flowed down his throat like a river but was not enough to quench his mighty thirst.
He admired the scenery as tumbleweeds rambled past like determined travelers and lizards darted to and fro like children playing tag. An occasional, small dust devil would pick up small debris and rage around harmlessly until it lost its steam and became still, leaving no trace of its existence to anyone other that an observer. Days like this made Able feel very humbled by the desert; one second you're a force to be reckoned with and the next you disappear forever.
Arranging his pack like a pillow, the old man stretched out as he contemplated his next move.
I'm about five miles away from the strip. I've got no more water. I could stay here and rest or I could suck it up and keep moving. Martha would have told me...
"No!" the old man shot straight up. His face was red and contorted into a foul grimace.
"No, I'm not going to think about her. I told you, old man, there will be a time and place. I'll think about her all I want when I find what I'm looking for."
Able had been talking to himself more and more recently. At first he blamed it on getting old. Then he blamed it on being lonely. Now he was just happy to have someone he could talk to that would agree with him; a hard thing to come by in this wasteland of broken dreams, greed, and selfish survival.
Able relaxed a bit, letting his mind wander to less painful places.