TEN FUCKING HOURS.
How the hell did I fall asleep for ten fucking hours in the back seat of the Barracuda. It’s unthinkable. And appalling. No Eddie. No Susie. And apparently I’m Sleeping-Fucking-Beauty. The sun has been up for over two hours and I’ve been snoozing. Really? Classic Etta.
And now, here I am, in the middle of dust, in the heat of the sun, searching for the keys the asshole cop tossed into the desert. Ugh. This is shit. Utter shit. I want to scream. And curse. But it won’t do any good. I keep walking back and forth, searching for the keys. Sweat beads my forehead. I taste dirt in my mouth. Grit up my nose. My hair is plastered to my temples.
Just when desperation takes root and tears sting my parched eyes, I see a glint of metal by a thirsty looking weed.
I’ve never been so happy to see a set of keys in my life.
Scrambling back to the car, I shove the key in the ignition and turn. Candy comes to life. But she needs gas. My stomach growls in understanding.
Unsure how far down the road the next gas station is, I decided to go back to Gallup for gas and breakfast on the run. I’ve got six hours until Las Vegas, then I have to figure out where Susie is.
At eight in the morning, the sun is hanging out in the sky, already unforgiving this early. I take a picture with my mind and press the pedal to the floor. We were not more than fifteen minutes from Gallup when we decided to pull over and have our little tryst at the side of the road. Bonehead move. If we had of kept going Eddie might still be with me.
Looking back isn’t going to get me anywhere.
A diner is attached to the gas station and I head inside to order breakfast before pumping my gas. A bell chimes over my head. There are a couple truckers at the front counter, their semis waiting for them in the parking lot, and a blonde behind a paper in the corner booth. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirrored wall behind the jukebox. Jesus Christ. I look like road kill. Dusty, dirty and clothes two days old.
To the curvy young thing behind the counter I say, “Your cheapest breakfast and strongest coffee to go.”
I slip past the truckers and they give me the eye as I make my way to the washroom by the last booth on the left. As I pass the blonde’s table, I get a glimpse at the coolest blue eyes I’ve ever seen, but the smile she’s wearing is warm. I recognize her from the day before.
Is she following me?
Paranoia isn’t a game I play, so I shake off the question and duck into the bathroom. I douse my face in freezing water and grab a handful of paper towels. Wiping myself down, I rinse out my long hair in the sink and watch the water turn murky. I resolve to change my clothes once my gas tank and stomach are full. After a quick piss and another once over, I leave the bathroom.
The blonde is gone.
At the counter, the thick waitress waves me off. “Your friend paid for your breakfast.”
And she points out the window.
I turn to find Blondie waving at me, then she’s in her Jetta and pulling out of the gas station before I have chance to raise my hand in acknowledgement. My eyes stray over to a man rounding my car. He’s running his hand along the lollipop paint job.
“Mother fucker,” I whisper.
Grabbing my breakfast, I storm out of the diner and yell, “Get your fucking hands off my car.”