Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Walking Away - Chapter 7: Afternoon Breaks

When Doug opened his eyes, he was beset by a few seconds of confusion as to why there was so much light. He thought that he must have left the overhead light on but this light was way to soft when compared to the harsher glow of a light bulb. Then it hit him.

“Shit!”

He looked over towards the alarm clock and the bedroom around him swam a little before his eyes could regain control and focus. Four o-clock.

“Shit!”

He scrambled out of bed and into the bathroom where he emptied his much too full bladder and grabbed a bottle of aspirin, dry swallowing several. He kept the bottle because he thought he might need some more to battle his hangover on the way down to Arkansas. He was already supposed to be there and he was just getting out of bed.

Fifteen minutes later, Doug was dressed and had packed a small duffle with another coat, maps, and a notebook with the required information for picking up the car. As he went through the kitchen, he stopped at the refrigerator to grab a ring of deer summer sausage, some cheese and two cans of beer. Everyone knows that the best way to fight a hangover is to start drinking again. Doug didn’t want to face the next fourteen hours with his head feeling like it was going to split.

Tossing the duffel into the pickup, he cranked the motor to life and drove behind the house where his trailer was parked. Twenty minutes later after changing a flat trailer tire with his one and only spare, he was hooked on and ready to go. He wasn’t setting any speed records for getting started this morning, or should he say this afternoon.

As he pulled out onto the highway, he popped the top on the beer and took a swig to lubricate his dry throat. He fumbled around in the duffel bag feeling for the bottle of aspirin when the wheels dropped off the edge of the pavement and the soft shoulder started pulling him towards the ditch.

“Shit!”

He jerked the wheel to the left, over correcting and swinging into the on coming lane of traffic causing an oncoming motorist to swerve and hit their horn. Still holding the can of beer in his left hand, Doug stuck his arm out the window and attempted to give the car the finger but wasn’t too successful. Putting the beer between his legs, he switched driving hands to his left and again tried finding the aspirin, this time with success. He fished out two more tablets and washed them down with another swig of beer.

Tossing the bottle back in the duffle, he fished around and this time came up with his cell phone almost immediately. He dug out the little notebook in his front shirt pocket and found the correct number, which he dialed. He only got an answering machine for which, he was very grateful, and left a lame excuse of why he was running so late and that he should be down there by eleven in the evening, sooner if he could make up some time. Doug tossed the phone up on the dash and looked down at the speedometer, which was only registering sixty-five miles and hour.

“Shit!”

He punched the gas and the truck accelerated. He checked to make sure his fuzz buster was on because he didn’t need to be pulled over for speeding. He wasn’t concerned with the fine because he didn’t even have a license, they weren’t garnishing his disability check just yet and this job was done on a cash only basis. No, Doug didn’t want to get pulled over for speeding just for the fact it would cost him another fifteen minutes when he was already half a day behind. He glanced down again at the speedometer which said he was doing eight-five and he believed it by the way the truck was beginning to shake and rattle. Now this mother humper’s flying he thought as he crossed over the state line into Missouri.

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