Categories
2001 Double Drabble Road Trip

Road Dog | A Double-Drabble

{ 200 words }

Various instruments crowd the back of the cargo van-turned-tour van.  His legs are cramped.  He’s gotta piss, but there’s no rest stop for god knows how many miles.  As the miles become more miles, his hunger becomes aching, tiredness becomes weariness.  He’s horny, sure.  But he sincerely misses her for all the right reasons.  Thinking of her does him no good.  Not here, in the middle of nowhere, this far from home.

Saying good bye was the hardest part. A major complication to this job, this love, this life. Endless regret. Yet the chance to leave indefinitely was relished despite the unresolved affairs and promises postponed. Farewells cut short are best.

Say your heartfelt goodbyes

Wipe away tears from forlorn eyes

Temporarily sever ties

The road’s the devil of promises and lies

Now sunsets don’t mean quite the same as they did back home.  Without her, even the music and cheering of fans don’t mean quite what they should.  Although it sometimes soothes, having casual sex with other women is a desperate attempt to briefly forget the love he left behind. A failed experiment with a hell of a price to pay.

Every mile away is a dagger carefully aimed.


Written: December 28, 2001

Copyright © 2001-2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by and Copyright © Lauren Page – www.laurapagephotography.com/

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Categories
1999 Micro Fiction Road Trip

Going the Distance | A Micro Fiction

{ 360 words }

I can tell she’s uneasy, maybe even scared.  It’s all in the eyes.  That’s where the truth always lies in people, in their eyes.  Sure, she’s going to play it cool and pretend that there’s nothing wrong, but I know better, which is funny considering I’ve only known the girl for three days.  But I know.  Which is a testament to the strange bond I feel between us.  We’ve been on the road for three long ass hours now and, between long stretches of napping, she’s barely spoken a word.  To say I’m worried about her is understating the fact. I glance over at her, careful not to let my eyes leave the road for more than a second or two at a time.

“You sure you’re all right?”

“Yeah, I’m fine…just thinking.”

“About?”

“Things.”

“Don’t be vague, girl.  I hate that.”

“I’m thinking that I might’ve made a mistake.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Mmm-hmm.”

“Concerning what?”

“Our little trip.”

“I wouldn’t call it little…you are running away.”

“Shit, don’t you think I know that?  That’s exactly what I’m thinking about.”

“And?”

“Well, I think I messed up.”

“Damn.”

She looks over at me, her eyes mostly hidden under the veil of her bangs.  Her face is solemn.  And then she says, almost in a whispers, “I think I should go back.”

“I don’t think that’s wise, girl.  That guy’s a goddamn abusive asshole, he’s just going to hurt you some more.”

She gives no response.  She knows I’m right.

“I really don’t think that’d be in your best interest. Definitely not mine ‘cause he’s gotta be shitty you ran off with me.  I’m sorry, darlin’, but if he sees me with you he’ll be fit to kill my ass, and I won’t back down from him, or let him put his fucking hands on you again. Sorry, but I’m involved now, and that’s my part in this. Yeah. I’m involved.”

She lets a moment to two pass, making me think she’s giving what I said some serious thought, that maybe she’s allowing her better judgment to take over. I couldn’t be more wrong.

“Please…just turn the car around…drive back to Indy.”


Written: February 28, 1999.

Copyright © 1999-2016 by Brandon L. Rucker.  All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Susanne Nilsson. Copyright © 2014.

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Categories
2001 Contemporary Road Trip WIP Young Adult

The Road Is My Map | A Work in Progress

{ 756 words, began Aug 3, 2001 }

It’s funny how I got here. The first ride I got was from a car full of guys. They were of the ripped jeans and faded rock t-shirt variety, blaring classic rock and heavy metal in an old muscle car that was much older than me.  Only the cutest one of the boys flirted with me and I got the impression he was the only one of them not a virgin because all of his lines were smooth and confident. Had I not flirted back I may not have managed to get him to buy me a pack of smokes.  They dropped me off at the rest stop off I-70 without trouble.

From there I got offered a ride by a kind elderly lady who had taken one look at my dingy clothes, windblown hair and the most pathetic face I could put on and felt sorry enough for me.  She got me here and was reluctant to let me out in the middle of nowhere, but I had to get away from her.  Her lectures and bad hearing reminded me of my long dead grandma.  Grams was a peach and I miss her dearly.

I’ve been on the road three days and four nights now, hopping from one town to another without so much as a full night’s rest or a meal to nourish me or squelch the endless rage I feel. Memories of Mama’s slap and Daddy’s indifference are all the fuel I need to keep me going.

The evening sun abandons me to the night as I stand here on the side of a country road in a Podunk shittown that I’ve already forgotten the name of. I burn my last cigarette and curse my rumbling tummy. It’s time to put that thumb to work again, girl, ‘cause nighttime in the dark countryside is the best time to get what you need.

Up the road and coming from the north, I see strobes of hope, headlights, a pickup from the looks of it. The red Ford truck slows just before it reaches me; head beams drop in favor of yellow parking lights. How considerate. A ball cap covering sandy brown hair and a chiseled face rears its handsome self from the window. “Need a ride, there, Ma’am?” God bless country boys and their chivalry. Except this guy’s no boy, he’s a bona fide man who’s old enough to be my daddy.

He asks me where I’m headed and I tell him a lie, which is nowhere in particular. He says, “You runnin’ away er somethin’?” and I tell him another lie. “No, I’m eighteen I can go where I please. It’s just I got nowhere to go. I don’t have any money and the last time I had a home-cooked meal was a couple of days ago.” I lay it on thick with a lost puppy frown on my Barbie doll face. He eats it up like I expect him to, but not before stating my story sounds exactly like a runaway, and that hitchhiking at night is a dangerous thing for a girl like me.

I climb into the pickup, buckle up and ask for a cigarette. “Thank you . . .”

“Name’s John. I just live up the road here. Got a ranch with some animals . . . a garden.”

Farmer John takes me up the long road to his ranch house. He’s married but his family hasn’t been here in months. How convenient; there’s no need to explain this awkward situation. I use his shower. He finds some clean clothes that his sixteen-year-old daughter’s left behind that fit me perfectly. Turns out his family didn’t just go on an extended vacation. His wife just packed them up and left the poor guy.

I sit across from him at the supper table, eating cereal. “So you’ve been here all this time by yourself, John, with no one to keep you company?” He nods, solemnly. “No wife, no daughters, no one to do the womanly things that a house like this . . .”

“Tandy, please.”

“I’m sorry, I just thought you must get awful lonely.” I let my bare foot accidentally-on-purpose make contact with his denim covered knee under the table. I’m giving my best Emmy performance, I muse, having been coached by the best vixens on my daytime soaps.

I figure I’ll just give Farmer John what I owe him and be halfway to the next shittown by noon tomorrow. I’ll make sure he’ll miss me when I’m gone.

{not fin}


Written: August 2001.

Copyright © 2001-2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

Image is Copyright © Alex Master.

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Categories
2001 Poem Poetry Road Trip

I’m Not From Around Here | A Poem

Driving fast down sun-baked country roads

Countless tiny towns are silhouettes in my dust

I dare not stop for fear of the unknown

I have this little suspicion they don’t like my kind

The kind different from them

The kind not of their own

It’s not that I blame them, really

It’s not their fault that they’re wrong

My destination is clear

No place in particular

Just enjoy the scenic route

Before night claims the scenery

There’s a fork in my roads of chance

My front tire takes the brunt of it

I pull over to the soft shoulder

My good luck having failed me

Rear view mirror, another driver is nearing

A big red pickup, a good ol’ boy pulls next to me

Sweat beading on my brow now, I’m unsure of his intention

I ease out of the car, though I’m thankful for his attention

“You’re not from around here,” he says,

I think he’s a fast learner

I say, “No, I’m from the city,”

Not that it’s a real stunner

“Let me give you a hand with that,”

He says, so willing to help me

I say, “I reckon I’d appreciate it”

You just never know how nice some folks can be.


Written: May 25, 2001. Revised: December 9, 2009 & March 14, 2015.

Copyright © 2001-2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

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