The Hudson News out in the Desert

There’s a Hudson News out in the desert, and you can go there. Let me tell you about it. It’s located way out along the highway, miles and miles away from anything else. The sign on the road won’t say “Hudson News,” it’ll just say “REST AREA ONE MILE” and then it’ll be the next exit, which will feel like another ten miles after the sign. There won’t be a parking lot. The road will just end and then about a hundred yards of sand away, it’ll be there. 

    It’ll be just like any other Hudson News you’ve seen: three walls surrounding an array of snacks, local souvenirs, and other travel essentials. Just like any other Hudson News you’ve seen, it won’t have any other cars parked out front. You’ll notice there never seems to be any sand on the tiled floors. The woman behind the circular counter will behave as though she works at a Hudson News. She will say hello to you as you enter and only feign acknowledgement of your presence again when you go to check out or in the extremely unlikely event that you ask her a question. She will spend the time between these interactions doing seemingly nothing, possibly training herself to take micro naps, in order to continue to operate outside of the restrictions of linear time as every Hudson News has successfully done since its opening.

    You will wander aimlessly between racks of flavored almonds and shelves of books you’ve never heard of claiming to be New York Times best sellers. You will wonder briefly if you even had a reason to stop here in the first place, but you will assure yourself that you wouldn’t have come here unless you needed to. There will be a rack of sweatshirts near the front of the store that simply say “the desert” on the front in plain text. They won’t be available in your size but one will be mislabeled as your size. It will cost forty-eight dollars.

The open refrigerator with long strips of clear plastic hanging down in front of it will contain individually packaged hard boiled eggs, string cheese sticks, and turkey club sandwiches that will be reminiscent of a time when European explorers would tell artists about the animals they discovered on their voyages, but the artists would only be capable of documenting the animals based on descriptions. You’ll wonder if a similar process was involved in the creation of these turkey clubs.

    After you decide you are not hungry, you will inspect the rotating rack with a sign on top of it that says “Tech Station” to see if they have a cord for your phone. They will be out of the cord for your phone. You will decide at the last second to grab a Kit Kat from the checkout counter. The woman will ask you to come over to the other register three feet away. She will ring you up and tell you your total, which will be more than you’d prefer to pay for a Kit Kat but it won’t matter to you so you will forget. She will ask you if you would like a receipt and you will say yes or you will say no, and either way you won’t know why.

    You will leave the Hudson News with your purchase and you will get in your car and get back on the highway. The further away you drive, the more you’ll start to wonder whether or not the store you just visited is real. After you drive for long enough you’ll be certain you imagined it. You’ll decide to pull off at the next rest area up ahead and shut your eyes for a moment. You will pull into a parking space under a flickering lamp and you’ll turn off the ignition and take out your keys. You will toss them into your passenger seat and watch them land on an empty Kit Kat wrapper. There is a Hudson News out in the desert, and you can go there.