Booty part 3 of 3
a short story
by Joshua Coffman
Evergreen trees have a unique smell that invigorates. At least these
ones did. Maybe it was their density and the oxygen they produced. His
windows were rolled down. He could feel the air rushing in and his long
sleeve crisp white shirt rustled against his torso trying to escape into
The compound was miles behind, but the trees continued to surround him like a sea of bluish green. The mid day was far gone, and the sun was dipping towards the tops of the trees on his left. Dusk wasn't far away.
His eyes glanced to the knob for the headlights. They were completely off and that's what he was checking to make sure of. These days, head lights on a car were the hoisted British Flag to the Barbary Pirates.
The sky was just beginning to turn a glorious pinkish color when the lonely gas station peeked out from the curtain of trees.
A single car was parked alongside the building, but Troy wanted to be sure his car was secure even so remotely. His windows fully closed, he pulled into the pump and cut the engine.
He reached to the passenger seat and grabbed a light brown baseball cap with a nondescript logo in the bottom portion of the front. He donned it and pulled it just low enough to obscure most of his eyebrows but not look conspicuous.
He went inside, grabbed a candy bar, and paid for a tank of gas. The cashier hardly took notice of him, her focus still far away in the text message conversation that she had just been jolted from.
"Thank you." He said it almost as an insult, but was careful to not make it sound that way. It wasn't like he was looking for attention anyways.
The door chimed as he opened it to leave, and he was already digging into his candy bar.
He had chosen this candy bar for a reason, not a very good one, but it was definitely on purpose. There was a brief moment as he walked back to his truck that he fell into a dark trance recalling the night he had met with Kelsy.
Kelsy was a friend.
Maybe a little more than that.
They had been spending more time together for a while. She had known him for years, almost as intimately as his wife. Somehow his preference for a particular candy bar came up in conversation. It was a simple conversation, but it was so vivid to him.
She chided him playfully. "Scaredy cats never try new things." His insistence on eating only one candy bar was broken. Her statement had smashed through his obstinance. It was lighthearted, but something about her comment stuck with him. He had opened himself up to her and she had taken advantage of his vulnerability. Now he was on a mission to prove her wrong, but just to himself.
He was going to purposefully try new candy bars until he ran out of new ones to try. So far it wasn't going too well, most of the ones he had tried weren't that great. But this one was alright.
It was almost as good as the one that he had insisted on all these years.
He snapped back to the present. His gas tank was full and he was sitting in the driver seat with the ignition running.
The sun had dipped below the trees, but there was still plenty of time before darkness raced across the sky. An hour passed as he continued driving south.
Highway mile signs seemed to blur together as he raced the sun. He turned on the radio to see if there was any stations broadcasting at this latitude. The scanner looked for several minutes before giving up.
He was trying to make it to a particular small town where he had a very close associate that was always ready to give him refuge. The dusk was almost impossible to drive through with his headlights off now.
But the long shadows from the trees surrounding the road allowed just enough light for him to see the large dark obstacle in the middle of the road with enough time to slow down.
It was a moose. A dead moose lay right in the middle of the lane that he was driving down. His better judgement told him to just drive around it. And he would have. He was only a few more miles away from the outskirts of the town he was destined for.
But this moose had somehow gotten hit just conveniently enough at a culvert that crossed beneath both sides of the highway. There was no way around, even if he wanted to just through the truck in four wheel drive, it was impossible at this particular part of the road to drive around this moose.
His hackles raised.