Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tierra Del Fuego

by Todd Mercer


Charles Darwin on the original Fuegians (1833): “…when pressed in winter by hunger they kill and devour their old women before they kill their dogs”

Captain Robert FitzRoy
of The Beagle, at sea,
12 September 1830:
“…under my command, four natives of Tierra Del Fuego:
York Minster, 26
Boat Memory, 20
James Button, 14
Fuegia Basket
     (a girl), 9”

Peter Nichols, in Evolution’s Captain (2003)
“…his experiment had been a total disaster because they had reverted to savaging; their civilisation had been a gloss.”

Dallas Murphy, in Rounding the Horn (2004): “Boat Memory’s real name was never recorded.”


Benny’s Chevy Blazer taunted death. The mechanic favored euthanasia. Instead Benny sold it

to Guatemalan migrants. He asked a C-Note,
scrap price. Low enough to avoid guilt,
the proceeds covered burgers, beers,
a cultured excursion
to the nudie bar.

Six weeks later,
Benny then flat broke five weeks, his clap

received mail, a snapshot
of said Guatemalans,
and the Blazer,
on southern-most blacktop.
It ran perfectly.

Benny arson-ated his building, snapped
a Polaroid of the flames, posted it
to Argentina. He was ten thousand miles
from his road’s end,

but there’s more than one
land of fire.


Miles from the southernmost town, Ushuaia, Argentina to:

Buenos Aires—1473
New York—6584

Google Maps sez: “Sorry, we could not calculate directions from 76 Auburn Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 to Road’s End, Ruta Provincial J, Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina”

Average distance a Chevy Blazer lasts after Benny’s mechanic gave up hope, besides Benny’s: halfway to the gas station.

Distance between this barely fictionalized incident and the present: 23 years, 1 felony.

55° 58′ 48″ S, 67° 17′ 21″ W
-55.98, -67.289167

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