Jess climbed into the back of the truck and the engine fired up. The roar
of the diesel engine filled the air. The group was stunned as the truck
moved forward, slowly at first, then faster and faster. Every couple of
seconds, a window of the truck opened, letting the wind and rain blow in,
causing the truck to roar like a tornado. A small cloud of dust flew
throughout the cabin, causing the girls to cover their mouths.
Frank was a tough driver in the mountains, but the open road to the sea
was quite treacherous on this part of the coast. His driving skills had
nearly disappeared, and he had difficulty steering well when there were no
other factors to think about. He had told the group how to find the spot
from the map he was holding, but he wasn’t sure how they could be sure they
followed the correct path.
The truck slowed down to a snail’s pace, turning a corner, and the group
heard the familiar sound of the diesel engine spluttering as it died down.
They continued on with the truck, watching for the next turn, but there
wasn’t one. The truck stopped, and Frank jumped out and started walking.
“What are you doing?” Asked Jess worried.
“I’m going to see if we have a gas station nearby.”
They continued on, following the coast and finally came across a gas station
not too far away. The station was small, and the people inside were
distractedly playing with a small radio. The group paused to observe the
scene. A blonde woman was chatting with a white man who was carrying a
black kid in his arms. A few other men stood near a group of cars parked
together along the sidewalk.
Jess and Bo stepped into the gas station and a man with a gun was inside the
store. In the back of the store, they could see the blonde woman and her
two friends watching the show with a mix of amusement and concern. The
man with the gun walked past him and into the store, and then a voice
announced, “Gas up, please!”
The man looked over at the station and asked, “Can you get some gas for me?”
The woman got out of her chair and went to the door. Then they heard her say,
“No, I am sorry, he will have to come back after he fills up.”
“What did you say?” Asked Frank, looking over at the man with the gun.
“Nothing. Get out,” said the man as he stepped out of the store. He quickly
shut the door, then walked back in and grabbed a small black case from some
place on the counter. He opened the case, removing a pistol from the
pouch, as he said, “That’ll do it. Get out, I said.”
“What are you doing?” Asked Jess.
“He doesn’t want to pay for gas.”
“I don’t want gas,” said Bo.
The man smiled, revealing the gold pearly teeth, “You’re a kid. What do you
“I sell shoes.”
“What kind of shoes?”
The man took out an old dirty wallet, opened it, and tossed it onto the
counter. He pulled out a twenty, then a ten. He put the money into a pile
of quarters. Then he said, “There you go, now get out and get some gas.”
The man walked out the door to his car, and Bo turned and left, closing the
door. After a quick look, a big smile appeared on Jess’ face. The group
scanned the scene for sign of harm. The man with the gun was gone, and the
shackles were gone, but there was no sign of any gas. The group sat on the
porch, enjoying the sound of raindrops against the tree’s branches. A cold
wind blew, reminding the girls that it was time to pack.
The man who owned the place turned from them when he heard the door open.
He was an old man wearing the same black suit like the man with the gun.
The old man took off his hat, and then looked at the rest of the town,
asking, “What do you have?”
“Nothing but what is in your pocket,” replied Frank.
“I don’t have a pocket,” said the man.
“How come you have a gun?”
“I can’t find my shoes. Are you the FBI?” He asked the question in a
“If you’re the FBI, then you can’t be running around like this. Where are
you taking them?”
“We’ll take them to the mainland. They’re going to a federal prison.”
“We don’t have anything to do with prisons,” said Frank.
“No, I don’t reckon we do. I believe I have a right to know the people I got
“Why? You’re not a prisoner,” snapped Frank.
“I can’t find my shoes!”
“Now, now, kid. I’m not a man to judge your story.”
“I got a map!”