Sections Above and Below This Page:

more miles to go to San Francisco which they left back-to-back tc;gether, but to which each of them was now returning somehow alone in the same car.

While the attendant checked out the radiator water and put four or five dollars' worth of gas in the car, the four men used the facilities in the separate ladies' and gents' bathrooms to wash away the sleep none of them had during the night, especially Billy. He had driven the past dozen hours, only stopping here and there for gas and never saying a word, just softly playing a tune on a ten-cent harmonica that appeared from his same old floppy jacket somewhere along the way. He didn't trust any of the other three with his life anymore, since the deal between all of them had gone down in the diner, and he wasn't going to put himself in any of their hands by riding in a car that one of them drove. So he hadn't, and even though the Hun complained that he wanted to share some of the driving to relax his nerves, Billy Landout silently refused with Tumble fully backing him up because his eyes could see that it was the only sensible thing to do with a strange, unknown road blanketed in the darkness of a night filled with tension. Emmett didn't say anything, for as long as Billy Landout was behind the wheel, he knew he was safe.

The four of them were standing by the coffee-dispensing machine, sipping the boiling hot, tan-colored water, when the Hun went into a sarcastic riff, asking Billy if he could please drive the rest of the way home, now that it was daylight and the freeway was jammed with traffic, making it impossible for him to endanger any of their precious lives by speeding. Billy said he didn't mind a bit, if the others didn't, because he was going to lie down on the back seat and sleep the last leg of the journey into the city. Then he walked toward the car and began unlacing his shoes for his nap.

Tumble walked over to the attendant, paid him the money, and chatted about what the traffic was probably going to be like at that time of the day. Emmett took a minute or two getting change of a quarter, so he could buy a couple of packs of Dentine gum to get the taste of the watered-down coffee out of his mouth and also make believe his teeth were clean. The Hun was already behind the wheel, gunning the engine to announce that he was ready to depart, and Emmett ran over and climbed into the front seat with Tumble after they tossed a coin for who was going to ride shotgun.

The three of them had more than enough room in the front seat. Emmett, in the middle, fiddled with the dials of the radio, tryin~ to [end page 408]


Creative Commons License
The Digger Archives is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Cite As: The Digger Archives ( / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0