I left the dark groves of Morada and drove out through the cool October morning, radio blasting. “Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again,” wailed the swamp rock singers. This chance to cover introduction of a new home furnishing line by celebrity designer Jacki Jones after she got out of prison was exciting, but I hoped it wouldn’t be a really huge story, nothing to cause anyone to look under the rocks I’d put over my own shame.
Scraping my teeth across the chocolate coating of a biscotti, I hummed along with Credence Clearwater’s Revival. The twangy music was comforting—here I was safe, hiding out in the flat Central Valley, sprawled out like a dusty pancake, where no one really wanted to live.
For now, I was glad to be stuck in flatland Lodi, writing for the small town Express and teaching part-time as faculty advisor for the Lodi college student newspaper. Swigging at my French Roast coffee, I crunched up the last of the biscotti as I drove toward the megastore, located just behind the college out in the boonies of the boonies.
PriceCuts’ boxy shape loomed up off the dusty horizon. The exterior of the immense building was divided into sections every thirty or forty feet by paint in contrasting hues to create the look of a long row of separate small shops.
I parked in the back of the gigantic lot, edged by vineyards and cornfields faded to wrinkled shades of brown this mid-October morning. Ten minutes early for the eight o'clock interview with Steven Brookfield about the plans for Jacki Jones coming to town, I felt flutters in the belly.