Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Truck

The road is moving again. The sound of tires against asphalt wakes Fortune from his sleep. For a second, he doesn’t remember where he is and he feels scared. He looks around the cab of the truck. There is a picture of a naked woman hanging from the wall. The woman is leaning up against a chair and holding one hand on her necklace and the other on a door frame. Fortune brings his fists to his eyes. His world blurs a little and stays smudged around its edges. He can see the necklace that the woman is wearing and there is a bunny on it.
There is a man driving the truck. His arms are hairier than his fathers. He smells less like cigarettes and more like chicken fingers.
“Um, excuse me.” Fortune says. He knows the truck isn’t in the parking lot anymore.
“What the fuck?!” The man driving the truck swings the wheel like he is dodging something in the road. Fortune looks but there are no Hummers flipping over or animals. There is nothing in the road except for more road. “What the hell?!” The man with the hairy arms turns around and looks back towards Fortune. “What the fuck are you doing here? How the hell did you get in here? Fuck. Fuck!” The man turns on his blinker. Fortune knows that the man in the truck is pulling over to the side of the road.
“Wait. Please. Don’t stop. I’m sorry. I hid in here. I was being followed by bad guys. They were going to hurt me. I was going to end up in the newspaper. The newspaper was going to write about how I didn’t know any better. They were going to write that kids like me end up hurt every day. So I hid. I hid in your truck because your window was open.” Fortune starts to feel tears coming up into his eyes.
“Listen kid. I don’t give a fuck why you are here. I just give a fuck that you are here. You can’t be here. I can’t have anyone in this truck with me. It’s against the rules. This is fucking crazy. Fucking tits! I need to drop you off. Where are your parents?”
The truck driver has a beard bigger than Fortune’s fathers. It is more bush like and spreads out near his chin. He wears small dark sunglasses that cover his eyes and eyebrows. There is a tattoo of a red monkey wrench on the inside of his wrist and an empty bag of McDonalds on the floor near his feet.
“My parents…” Fortune thinks for a second. He can’t remember anything really. It’s less that he can’t and more that he doesn’t want to. He thinks about his father’s eyes and the way they looked when he was chasing behind him. Fortune thinks about his mother curled up on a couch that isn’t hers, a couch that no one has even bought yet and covering it with years and years of tears.
The truck driver pulls off to the side of the road. “Kid. I’m sorry. I really am, but I can’t let you stay here with me. You need to get out.” He says, staring at the passenger door.
“Out?! Where am I going to go?” Fortune asks.
“Just stay on the side of the road and wait for someone to stop and help you. Don’t move. I will get on my radio and let the police know that there is a kid on the side of the road. Don’t worry. Someone will stop soon. Somebody will help you soon. Just don’t move. You can’t move or ain’t nobody going to find you. I just can’t right now. I have a schedule to keep and I’m not the type of guy who is good looking out for kids. Sorry.”
Fortune leans his small shoulder into the truck door. “Ok. I understand. Thank you.” Fortune steps out and hops down onto the road. He waves at the truck driver as the big truck blows smoke up into the air and moves down the road. The bright red paint grows smaller and dimmer as it fades off into the distance. And then the road is quiet and empty and Fortune is standing alone in the wind, storm clouds are forming over his head, a single drop of rain splashes against his cheek.

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