Photo: Paul Ruta

You can see them from the highway but you have to look. They seem black in the distance, backlit in winter by the low Amarillo sun. We pull over and we’re the only ones here. It’s colder than Texas is supposed to be and I zip my jacket against the wind. There’s a row of ten vintage Cadillacs stuck into a cornfield like warplanes shot down, angled like teeth of a saw. He gestures at them and shouts over his shoulder as we walk. Even you can park better than that, he says. Very funny, asshole, I holler into the wind, and just for that you can drive the rest of the way to Albuquerque. He laughs. I laugh. We both know I’m a crappy driver. Colors intensify as we get closer. Every inch of every Cadillac is coated in layers of rampant, random paint, the brighter the better. Not only is it okay for visitors to add their squiggles and shapes to this art installation, it’s almost mandatory. He unzips his jacket halfway and extracts two spray cans—neon green and public works department orange. He nods and gives me a cocky smile that says I am an artist, stand back and be amazed. Instinctively I do step back as he shakes the cans. He takes longer than necessary to consider each Cadillac before selecting, then uncaps the neon green. Just as he presses the nozzle the wind whips round and blows paint back in his face. Fuck, he says. He shifts position and tries again. Now it’s on his jacket too. Fuck! He uncaps the orange like that was the problem. I turn away, thinking of Einstein’s definition of insanity. Insanity is one word for it. Back on the highway we look for a gas station with restrooms and soap. Sometimes you can make art exactly when you want to and sometimes you’re just pissing in the wind. I don’t tell him that.

Paul Ruta is a Canadian writer living in Hong Kong. Selected work at He reads for No Contact magazine.