Chapter 46: Fuck if I Know

I finally made it to the main road, and started toward town. I’d only made the trip a couple of times, but already I knew that I needed to go down the hill and not up it. I started walking just about the time it started snowing.

I let out a long string of profanities, hoping the major snow storm could hold off until I at least made it into town.

I heard a car coming, and I shoved my thumb out and turned to walk backward, trying to look as non-threatening as possible.

The car sped past, and I resisted the urge to flip them off. “Fuck you too, asshole.” I grumbled.

I was sure I was risking frostbite out here, even though this was only the first snowfall. Even with a heavy sweat shirt on, I was freezing. All I could think about was getting a smoke. They were somewhere in my back pack, and with my numb hands, I couldn’t be bothered to look for them. I was sure they were probably wrecked anyway with the falling snow.

I continued to march down the road, bowing my head against the cold wind that seemed to whipping against my ears.

I almost missed the sound of the next car coming. I stuck my thumb out just in time, but the car continued to drive past.

“Fuck!” I grumbled.

I shoved my free hand into my pocket, and clutched my guitar case harder until I could feel my knuckles turning white. I was sure my hands were going to be chapped and sore in the morning.

I tried to walk faster. I knew it was going to take hours to get into town, especially on foot.

I kept going, pushing myself forward. I needed to distract myself.

I thought about Olivia. I thought about her beautiful green eyes, her perfect silky curly hair in that rich, chocolate brown. I thought about her smooth skin, how soft and pale it was.

I even thought about what it was like to kiss her, to hold her tightly in my arms and move my lips against hers.

I was just about ready to rummage through my bag in search of a cigarette, when I heard a loud car rumbling down the road. I sauntered out halfway into the road, sticking my arm out as far as I could, just to get my thumb out there.

I squinted to see the truck come barreling toward me. It shrieked to a halt a few feet from me, and I ran to catch it before the driver changed his or her mind.

I yanked open the passenger’s side door. “Thanks so much, man. I really appreciate it.”

“Where are ‘yah headed?” The trucker asked me.

“Into town. Are you going there?”

“Sure am.” He answered.

“Awesome.” I hopped into his truck and shut the door.

The guy who’d picked me up seemed a little too stereotypical. He had a huge white beard, which was bushy and stuck out in several different directions. He was wearing dirty overalls and a long sleeved red plaid shirt.

“You running from somethin’?” He asked me. “Or are yah running to somethin’?”

I shrugged. “Neither, I guess.”

“Well, where are yah headin’ after yah get to town?” He asked.

I shrugged again. “Fuck if I know.”

The driver chuckled. “That’s the way to be, kid. Hell when I was your age I packed all my shit into this very truck and took off. Never been back home since.”

I nodded. I wanted to add that if he’d been in this truck when he was my age, then this truck must have been ancient.

“Actually, I just escaped from Pine Crest.” I said, staring straight out the window.

The driver let out a low whistle. “Shoot, kid. If you can get into that place, you could pretty much do anything.”

“Yeah, but it’s not for me. I mean, I don’t do well with snooty rich kids.” I answered.

The driver chuckled again. “You smoke kid?”

“Hell yeah. What I wouldn’t give for a smoke right now.” I mused.

The driver reached into the front pocket of his overalls and removed a battered package of cigarettes. Not my brand, but I wasn’t picky.

He surrendered the pack and I took one, reaching into my pocket for my lighter. I lit my cigarette and gave my lighter to the driver.

I used the old-fashioned window crank to let my window down a crack before taking a long drag from my cigarette.

“So, any of this runnin’ away business got somethin’ to do with a girl?” He asked.

“Some.” I answered, flicking my cigarette ash out the window.

“And she ain’t worth stickin’ around for?”

I chuckled bitter sweetly. “Yeah, she’s totally worth sticking around for.”

The driver frowned. “And you’re goin’ in the opposite direction? Kid, take it from a lonely old man, drivin’ a truck for a livin’ if you got a woman, and if you like her, you should keep her.”

I sighed. “I don’t deserve her. And she deserves a hell of a lot better than me.” I answered.

“Alright, kid. I won’t pry or nothing.” He drawled, his cigarette still sticking out of his mouth. To distract myself I wondered if he’d ever set his beard on fire with that thing.

The truck rumbled into town and almost as soon as we hit the outskirts of town, I wanted to jump out of the car and escape. Instead I sucked the last drag out of my cigarette and dropped the butt out the window.

“Where in town do yah want me to drop yah off at?” The driver asked.

“Anywhere is good. Is there like a motel or something I can stay at?”

“Sure, but it ain’t nothin’ special. Are you staying long?”

I shook my head. “Just until the morning when I can get a bus out of town.” I answered.

“Alright. Best of luck to yah then.” He said, wrenching his car to the side of the road.

“Thanks again man.” I said, climbing out of his truck. The door creaked as I slammed it shut behind me. I gave him a wave and his truck roared back to life, backfiring loudly as it sped down the street.

I sighed, glancing up at the motel in front of me. It definitely didn’t look promising.

I hitched up my duffle bag and sauntered into the lobby.

There was a blonde girl sitting behind the counter, snapping her gum and flipping through a magazine.

“Hey.” I said to her. “Have you got a room?” I asked.

The girl snapped her gum. “Sure. That’ll be forty-five dollars… are you old enough to rent a room? Honey, you don’t look eighteen.”

“Do you want ID?” I asked, reaching for my wallet.

“Nah, not too picky here.” She shrugged. “If you’ve got ID, I’ll take your word for it.”

“Thanks. Forty-five you said?” I reached into my wallet, removing the cash. I plopped it down on the counter. I scribbled my name on the form she passed me and took my room key.

“Just head back outside, and around the corner. There will be a staircase that takes you up to the second floor. Follow it down the hall to the very end. That’ll be room twenty; your room.”

I nodded. “Thanks again.” I took my key and grabbed my guitar case.

I went back outside and up the stairs. It was a long concrete hallway with rough looking wooden doors lining one side and a metal railing along the other.

I found my room and unlocked the door. I had to fight to get the door open. I stepped inside and turned on a light.

The room had bad nineteen seventies wood paneling, and ugly floral print bedding.

I placed my stuff on the beat up sofa with several suspicious stains on it.

I checked out the bathroom and the shower and everything, before rummaging through my stuff for some cigarettes.

The two packages of cigarettes I had with me were both drenched from the snow. There were less than a handful in one package dry enough to at least get a few drags out of. I lit one, not bothering to open a window or anything. The room smelled of stale cigarettes anyway.

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