If it wasn't for the unidentifiable, pearly white animal skull strapped to the front of the truck, dead center between the two headlights like a bullet wound, I think we would've jumped up for joy.
The driver pulled over, staggered towards us (drunk? wounded?) and proceeded to hook our chunky little home on wheels to the back of his gnarly truck. "S'gonna be a lil while." He grumbled. My mother wrapped her arms around Sabrina and I, tucking us into her fold, and ushered us over to the truck. She opened the passenger door - a pistol sat on the seat. In unison, we flinched. "Yer can just push that aside." He said with a drool of chewing tobacco dripping out of his mouth. My mother nudge the pistol onto the driver's seat using her knuckles and we crammed into the truck. Bullet casings covered the floor like coins, as if this couldn't get any more eerie. What was next? Human-skin seat covers?
The drive to Junction was abnormally silent. We held our breath, taking in sips of air in short intervals, bodies tense and eyes bulging out. The driver cleared his throat and our hands clenched into fists. He mumbled, "Need a new tire, we got two shops in town, one American and one Mexican." He waited for my mother's response, his tobacco yellow eyes darting over at her. "I guess the American one?" She muttered. The driver nodded his head and cracked a smile, which consisted of a few teeth stained gray.
A few miles out of Junction, we eased up a little. The sign of civilization on the horizon proved to us that maybe we overreacted to this highwayman and his chariot of animal bones. We learned to not judge people in our pursuits of the gypsy life, so why select out this greasy Texan soul? My mother attempted to make amends, "Any good places to get food in Junction?"The driver nodded and grunted a little, a la Sling Blade, and that was the end of the conversation.
We pulled into Junction and I stuck my head out the window to get a better view of something in the distance. It looked like a white tee-pee towering over the town's church. A little closer and the strange object resembled a Christmas tree, it even had a star atop. We hadn't had a Christmas tree in a few years, so I bopped up and down in excitement. "Mom! Look! It's a Christmas tree!" I tugged on her shirt and she looked over. The driver chuckled to himself, about two shades away from creepy, and said to us, "That ain't no Christmas tree. Them there are deer horns." And he was right. We drove past and the entire sculpture was comprised of deer antlers, or "deer horns", forming the shape of a Christmas tree. How jolly.
Was Junction a gate to Hell?
- The Diligent Gypsy
(The Deer Horn Tree)