A Story by Mounsell

A man gets stuck in a desert town.


Chapter I

With a roar like a lion, the truck made its way down the highway.  Kicking up clouds of dust behind it, the vehicle was coated with grit and dirt from the arid landscape.  The driver, seemingly oblivious of any posted limits was able to make quick progress along his route.  The driver gripped the wheel firmly and struggled to gaze far beyond his position.  The miles of road that lay in front of him appeared to fade into the distance much like the miles behind him had.  Each mile he saw the same landscape, the same mountains, and the same brilliant sun rising high above him.  The great distance he had covered began to worry him.

               The monotony of his drive was broken by brief periods of radio static in which he was able to make out the ramblings of truckers and the dissident chords of various songs.  These periods served to amuse the rider for some time after they were cut off.  With each short phrase sounded by the radio, the driver pondered the conditions that their speakers could be under.  Short, seemingly out-of-place jibes at the receiving party caused John to raise the corner of his mouth in a grin.  The notes that sputtered out of the radio speaker suggested the melodies of old songs.

               The needle of the truck's gas gauge had moved further and further towards the large red "E" with each passing mile.  John, upon seeing this, tapped at the gauge's glass cover, and frowned.  The drive he had undertaken had taken up over three quarters of his tank and no filling stations were in sight. 

               John pulled the atlas from the passenger seat and began to study it.  He had put over a hundred miles between him and the last town he passed through.  The gas he had in his tank would not be able to get him anywhere close to the next town on his route, North Shore.  He was sure that his truck would be running on fumes before he reached the town ahead.  He slammed the gas pedal with his boot and shot across the desert.

               After what seemed an hour of driving, the truck began to sputter.  John looked at the gas gauge and saw that it was still above the "E."  He guided his faltering truck over to the side of the highway and steam rose from his vehicle’s hood.  For what seemed the hundredth time, his truck had broken down. 

               John glanced at the pile of materials in the passenger seat and began to weigh the importance of each one.  With some reservations, he left behind the road map.  He understood that the next town would lie somewhere along the highway.  Holding a canteen and a wad of cash, John started walking towards North Shore.

               After some time, John began to spy small houses along the horizon.  The sight offered him some relief.  "Perhaps," he thought, "one of the inhabitants could give me a ride to North Shore." 

               As he drew closer to the dwellings, John began to doubt whether any of them were occupied.  Looking carefully, he could tell that many of the windows were busted out, and bushes had choked off the path to each home's front door.  John treaded carefully through the shrubbery surrounding one house and peered in through a gritty window.  Wiping away the dirt with his sleeve, he was able to see the dilapidated state of the home.  The blue wallpaper had chipped and cracked, revealing layers of increasingly garish paint underneath. Chips from the wallpaper collected along the floor. Faint hints of red and green fell from the wall.  A rotting sea green couch with its foam cushions exposed sat along the far wall.  Pictures hung from the walls that displayed images of more prosperous times: family reunions, children's birthdays, and barbecues, among other things.  Rusted utensils, shattered dishes, and crumbling books littered the floor.

               John pulled away from the window and continued along the highway.

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© 2012 Mounsell

Author's Note

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Added on May 20, 2012
Last Updated on May 20, 2012



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