Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stories "Ventures into Unknown Terreritory " 44:70

The Story is Named after a Ghostly Salamander.

The Road Out of Axotle by Terry Southern (Esquire 1962)

  • Length: 18 Pages
  • Genre: 1960's Beats (a quest)

One Sentence Non Spoiler Summary

Told in the first person, this story follows the travels of the narrator with two Cuban Nationals through an Odyssey of Mexico.    This story is an Odyssey with mythic proportions through the Minotaurs Maze. The unpaved streets of Mexico construct the maze.  The narrator hopes for a quest where he can loose himself for awhile and then get back home again; will he find his way out of the maze? 


Beyond the fence, a trace of the old road's continuation was visible in our headlights for about fifty feet, before it disappeared into the night.  On  our side of the fence the road branched out left and right, and it ran alongside the fence in both directions for as far as one could see.

Writers Notes

  1. Knights Errant:  The knight can be called on his quest without any intention to do so.   A simple road trip in unknown territory can work like a maze that the Conquistador must find a way to get back home again.
  2. Quests: Home and back again.  The character does not change in his ordeal.  
  3. Circular Ending:  Loved the circular ending that frames the story.


  1.   Southern wrote the screen play for "Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Love the Bomb."
  2.    He served as relief editor for Esquire (a two month term in 1962)
  3.    He also wrote for Saturday Night Live.

Where to Find It

Terry Southern's Short Story Collection Red Dirt Marijuana
Great Esquire Fiction (The Finest Stories from the First Fifty Years) 

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