Asphalt and sand stretched from horizon to horizon. Cacti were spattered about the desert, but despite the hazy greenery, the land was barren; which made the truck stop just a few metres from the road all the more desirable. It was a man-made oasis in the sea of extinction.During the day, the stretch of road was boring, arid, and hot, but at night, it was cold, treacherous and even slight curves could kill. The desert had way of absorbing everything: water, thought, life. It would all soak into the sand and disappear forever.
Smart truckers knew the peril and would stop for the night at that little man-made oasis. On a long cross-country haul, it was like staying in a Hilton, for most of the truckers anyways. In reality, though, it wasn’t much different than just pulling off to the side of the road; truckers still slept on beds tucked away in the back of their cabs. But in the morning, those groggy drivers would wake up to maple smoked bacon and coffee that drifted with the desert winds. It was a small pleasure, but it made all the difference.
If a driver was really blessed on the barren stretch, a stranger might even share a bed for the night. Sometimes it was payment for a ride to some paradise with greener grass, but sometimes it was just about two people, or more, needing some company. Just strangers passing in the night.
Amidst the rows of rigs that stayed overnight, a pair of long, freshly waxed legs dangled out of a passenger side window. They swayed to an imaginary rhythm, tapping lightly against one another. Inside the woman who owned the legs fingered through a day old paper.
“Call me ‘old fashioned,'” she started, “but love is facing the barrel of a gun and choosing the gun over the alternative every time. You know what I mean?”
She patiently waited for a response and was awarded none. She pulled the newspaper to her lap and shot the driver a daggered-look. Her plaid shirt was still mostly unbuttoned from the night previous. Red was smeared from ear to ear and splattered down her neck.
“You don’t get it,” she stated bluntly, wiping away some of the red liquid that was beading at the tip of her chin. “That’s okay.” She folded the paper and threw it on the dashboard.
“Anyways, thanks for the night,” she paused before exiting the truck, “and the meal.” She patted the slack-eyed, truck driver. Blood still poured from the man’s neck.
The woman stepped out of the truck and onto the sandy ground. She slammed the door without a second look, took a deep breath and held it. Her cheeks puffed and then she disappeared into the chaos of steel and sand. Her footprints leading to the road were the only trace of her, but they too disappeared as the morning coffee rode the rising desert winds…
To be continued…