Hit The Road, Pt. 1

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This is a short that I wrote months and months ago, just to prove to myself that I was capable of writing alone if I wanted to. I'm still trying to convince myself, to be honest, but maybe sharing it here will help me settle into the idea that I can write.

There is a part two, but it's even shorter. I will probably continue the series, if inspiration comes.

Wish me luck.

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There was one definite benefit to owning a truck over a sedan, station wagon or sports car, and that was just how much of a scene you could make during a messy breakup.
The argument had been long enough, loud enough and stupid enough that Sam no longer cared what it was about. At this point, she and Al were fighting just to fight and they both knew it, so neither of them were really putting any effort or attention into what came out of their mouths anymore – Sam was paying infinitely more attention to just how forcefully she could throw her clothes into her beat-up old suitcase and how quickly she could do it.
In hindsight, the fact that she was timing it would probably strike her as ridiculous, but at the time, it seemed like the thing to do. Just like how opening the window and hurling the suitcase down into the back of her dirty old red truck, four stories down, seemed like the thing to do. The sound it made when it landed in the truck bed was as loud as it was satisfying and without another word, she yanked her jacket from the back of the couch and strode out the door.
She let Al slam it behind her. Al deserved a little satisfaction, too.
The next thing Sam knew, she was on the highway with the windows rolled down and the radio blaring, driving five miles over the speed limit (which was the actual speed limit, as everyone knew) without much care for where she was going. All she knew was that there was rain coming down hard on the hood, on the arm she had hanging out the open window, on her shit exposed in the open truck bed, and it just felt right.
She only pulled over for gas because she had to. She didn’t know what her exit was, but this one wasn’t it – it was just the one that had a Shell logo near the off-ramp and that was all that registered. She pulled up to a pump, killed the engine, and the sudden silence that resulted from the radio being silenced felt like a slap in the face.
She pretended the rain hammering the hard plastic cover protecting the pumps high above were drums and carried on. She pumped her gas and wandered inside to pay, fishing her wallet out of her oil-smudged jeans on her way inside.
A soda and shitty gas station hotdog were added to her expenses on the way to the counter.
“Some weather, huh?” the under-paid, bored-looking kid behind the counter asked. Sam knew what that was like.
Any other day and she would have been the ideal customer, adjusting to a retail peon’s needs like some kind of kindly wage slave telepath who loved to make peoples’ days a little bit brighter.
Instead, she mumbled “Yeah,” and passed him a handful of wrinkly old bills.
The kid probably would have deflated if he’d been inflated at all in the first place. Instead, he just nodded. “Anything else for you, sir?”
“Miss,” a voice corrected, but it wasn’t hers.
The kid looked flustered. “Sorry. Miss?”
“Pack of cigarettes. Uhh... those.” Sam didn’t smoke, but it felt like the thing to say, and the package she pointed out had packaging she liked more than the others. She paid for them, gathered up her things, and took a step aside. She wanted to see who the person in line behind her was.
Sam tended to think of herself as kid or girl or chick rather than young woman, but this chick definitely felt like she wore 'young woman' like a comfortable pair of pants. She looked like fun, too. Maybe it was the slender build or the dirty, soggy clothes, including the white helmet with the blue and red bullseye painted on the side tucked under her arm, or maybe it was the big white smile that seemed to remind the kid behind the counter that there was more to working at the gas station than making minimum wage and hoping he didn’t get mugged. Or the smooth skin the color of coffee with just the right amount of milk to soften the bitterness, or the frizzy, bouncy hair that looked like it was trying to escape the gravitational pull of her scalp so that it could go bouncing off like a million little springs and have fun somewhere, anywhere, else.
Whatever it was, Sam liked it.
Once she finished paying for her things, Sam took a few quick steps to get to the door first and held it open for her, propping it open with her back.
It earned her a radiant smile that warmed her to the bone. “Thank you, miss.”
Sam felt herself laugh. “Sure.”
“You don’t smell like you smoke – no offense,” she added quickly, holding up a hand as she swung her helmet back on over her frizzy brown hair with the other.
“None taken. I don’t.” Sam took a quick look around as she walked too slowly towards her truck, suddenly curious. “Where’s your ride?”
She waved towards a bright splash of yellow at one of the other pumps.
“Riding a scooter in this weather?” Sam asked, unable to hold in a wince. “Man, fuck that. Bring it over here,” she said decisively, yanking the passenger side door of the truck open so she could stash her haul. “I’ll give you both a lift.”
She laughed, giving Sam an incredulous look. “I’m already soaked,” she noted.
“Yeah, and nobody out here knows how to drive once the pavement’s wet,” Sam asked, fully aware that she had no idea where she was but comforted by the knowledge that people suddenly becoming idiotic once water fell from the sky was a universal thing. “Come on, let a girl do her bit as a good samaritan for the month.”
She sighed theatrically. “All right. If we can get it up there, you can give me a ride.” A loud clatter of metal on pavement startled her and she peered around towards the back of the truck, brow knit in concern. “The hell was that?”
Sam hopped in place against the ramp she’d drawn out of the truckbed, satisfied as it held and sent the truck softly sinking into its shocks. “Knew I’d have a use for this thing eventually.”
“You bought it before you had any use for it?”
“Paid off, dinnit?” Sam countered, hauling her suitcase up off the bed long enough to shake the water from the surface. Then she tucked it back into the corner and hopped down, waving her new traveling companion in.
“I suppose I can’t argue with that,” scooter-chick admitted, almost wary as she got the scooter situated in the back of the truck. She tucked her helmet into the hollow under the seat and looked around. “You got some cords to secure this or something?”
“I got it,” Sam promised. “Go ahead and climb in.”
“Your bag..?”
“It’s fine back here.”
Scooter-chick frowned and drummed her fingertips against the door. “Sure?”
Sam nodded and flashed a lopsided smile. “Sure. And if it’s not, it’s just stuff.”
Sam wasn’t sure if it was as convincing as it was intended to be but it got the woman to climb into the truck, anyway, so she counted it a win. Once she’d gotten the scooter secure with some bungee cables, she joined her in the cabin and yanked the door shut.
“Sam, by the way.”
Scooter-chick grinned and offered a hand. “Max.”
Sam took the hand and laughed. “Perfect.” Ignoring Max’s confused look, she stuck the key into the ignition. “Let’s hit the road, little buddy. Which way you goin’?”
“Go west, young man,” Max replied solemnly.
“West,” Sam confirmed, and started the engine.
The sudden explosion of loud music from the radio nearly flattened them both back into their seats and there was a scramble to turn the volume down. Once they had, they shared a harried look, a beat of silence, and devolved into a fit of… Sam hated the word, but giggles was really the only appropriate term for it.
She cleared her throat, smiling quirkily and taking up her hot dog in one hand. “West, you said?”
“Yes,” Max laughed, leaning back in her seat and rubbing her forehead. “Please.”
“Right,” Sam replied, kicking the truck into gear and pulling back out into the rain. “West it is.”

Created: Jul 25, 2010

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