Wednesday, 26 December 2007

This Small Town

As Campbell drives us through this small town in Northern Indiana, Robert and I slump into exhaustion. He jokes with Campbell about the experience, about the state Trooper who was only interested in questions about videos on YouTube, the moment we thought he would surely be arrested. I laugh with him, somewhat reveling in the fact that we're finally safe. I'm tired and hungry, looking out the window, into the freezing night, watching the quintessential American signs pass us by: the glowing MacDonalds logo, petrol stations, green road signs, stick on lettering in front of Churches wishing me a Merry Christmas and reminding me that Jesus loves me.

As he drives, Campbell calls his father asking where he recommends as a safe house for Robert. We pull into a Motel where we'll be staying for two nights until the safe house is confirmed. We pay in cash just in case the FBI are looking out for credit card transactions. After dumping our bags into our rooms, Robert and Campbell sit on opposite beds, eating the pizza we ordered for dinner (everywhere else was closed...) and falling into theological debates. They're not arguments, though Robert enjoys being combative, perhaps knowing that his knowledge of the Bible and its interpretations is immense. They discuss drinking, is it written in the Bible that Christians shouldn't drink, or just that they shouldn't get drunk? Robert's Chaplain in the army who - amongst other things - advocated hitting your children believes the Bible instructs Christians not to drink at all. He also believes the war in Iraq to be one battle in a major Christian-Muslim Holy War, so I wouldn't take his opinion as gospel. Anyone whose job it is to provide religious justification for war should be suspect...

Pizzas finished, we head to the bar downstairs for a drink. It was closed when we checked in, and the receptionist told us that Christmas Day it wouldn't be open. But the bar-tender agreed to open it just for a few drinks for his friends. Then we found it open so he could hardly refuse to serve us (though he did demand exact change). We sit in the cold bar, right beside the speaker churning out loud hip-hop, with the dance floor empty beside us. On the tvs above our heads various sports games are playing. The Patriots are set to be the first team in history to finish a 16-game season undefeated. I don't care about American football, but Robert seems excited.

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