I’ve been to Amarillo and I’ve seen it with my own eyes. The dilapidation. The yellowed, sun-burnt buildings. The dust that whips and whirls every which way, propelled by winds that would amount to nothing more than uncertainty. It’s in this place Shamus Avery Darkowitz calls home.
He does so only because it’s the place he was born. Shortly thereafter, he was back on the road. His parents, you see, were part of the traveling circus. Clowns, in fact. And no amount of amniotic fluid, labor pain, or, as they say, post-birth maternal lallygagging was going to keep them from their life on the road. So the road, and more specifically, the towns in which they visited while on the road, represented another form of what Shamus called home.
Amarillo is an odd sort of town. It has no distinctively sharp features, no shiny high-rise buildings, no newness to speak of. Like a melange of outlying districts and the run-down parts of big cities, Amarillo sits in wallowing, dilapidated desperation, yellowed from the sun that runs it all awash in a hazy, emanated glow. Interspersed throughout are the billboard versions of Bible-belt religious Super Hero hysteria: things like GOD LOVES YOU and PRAISE HIS NAME and BELIEVE IN HIM OR ELSE go back to the meth lab take a hit for me in big, bold letters of bright yellow and red and green.
But it’s not all odd in Amarillo. They do, in fact, have the second largest canyon in the United States. Palo Duro Canyon State Park. It’s quite beautiful. Also, from every which way, long, enduring highways carve straight-as-an-arrow paths into distant horizons. And the vastness of the desert that surrounds the area is magical in its own right.
This town is important for two reasons. One, as I’ve already mentioned, it is Shamus’ birthplace. Two, the halfway point of the story will take place in Amarillo. It is at this juncture Alasdair will continue his journey without the wise, wizened magician.
Shamus and Alasdair sit down for an old screening of China Town. Alasdair takes a mental note of the conversational patterns of young folk.
A shot of the beautiful:
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