Posted by Kelli Joan Bennett
Day 205. On The Road – The Original Scroll was broken into “books,” one right after the other. Book four was the final trip across the country—this time from New York City through the heart of America and straight down to Mexico.
“…off we went across the street into Mexico on soft feet. … Behind us lay the whole continent of America and everything Neal and I had previously known about life and life on the road. We had finally found the magic land at the end of the road and we never dreamed of the extent of the magic.”
The ride was beautiful and wild and vivid and chock full of drugs and whores and mythical white horses until apparently Lucien Carr’s dog Potchky ate the last five pages of the scroll. So the party ends abruptly right before they reach William S. Burroughs in Mexico City. Howard Cunnell—the editor—attempts to piece together what those last five pages might have contained—“here’s what the lost ending might have looked like,” he writes. Once I knew they weren’t from the fingers of Jack Kerouac himself, I lost interest—although I read them.
I burst into tears when I reach the last imagined words, “I think of Neal Cassady, I think of Neal Cassady.” I’m not sure if it’s because I am touched by the experience or because I’m just so damn relieved to be off the rollercoaster ride. After wiping my eyes, I automatically do my usual…I sign the book:
“7-23-12 – I’m hung-over and exhausted from being on the road with Jack and Neal! I went mad. Got my kicks. My wanderlust satiated! Thank god it’s over! —Kelli Joan Bennett”
A big question looms over me (and I don’t think I’ll be able to answer it until after replenishing my electrolytes and getting a good night’s rest): Do I know my character Geoffrey better now? Geoffrey’s life was highly influenced by the beat generation’s literary works and lives, specifically Jack Kerouac—which is why I didn’t want to read the more fictionalized, watered down, 1957 published version of On the Road with Sal and Dean, I wanted the real deal with Jack and Neal. I want to “dig” Geoffrey, know him, hear him in my head. What drives him to run? What has made him come back home? Why has he been on the road for the last seven years? Did he find what he was looking for? Where is he going now? Why?
I can’t get the 10,000 Maniacs’ song Hey Jack Kerouac out of my head. It’s from one of my fav albums of my youth, In My Tribe. Here’s the first verse:Hey Jack Kerouac, I think of your mother and the tears she cried, she cried for none other than her little boy lost in our little world that hated and that dared to drag him down. Her little boy courageous who chose his words from mouths of babes got lost in the wood. Hip flask slinging madman, steaming cafe flirts, they all spoke through you. —Lyrics by Robert Buck and Natalie Merchant
I don’t know what the point of all this is. My mind is jumbled, my vision clearly blurred, my heart racing. Have I found what I’m looking for? Where am I going? What will I find? I won’t know until I get there. After all, “the road is life.”
Until tomorrow, create from what you have…questions.