Friday, October 28, 2016

Rest Stop

The wet pavement of Highway 66 glistened in the light of the blue moon.   To the east the thunderstorm rolled on, lightning churning in its cloudbank.  I settled in for the long haul.   Mt Dew holstered in the cup holder, cashews and jerky sitting on the vacant seat. I flicked on the stereo and starting belting out 90’s boy band music, something I only do when I’m truly alone.

About 20 miles from the state line, I reached over for a succulent piece of animal flesh stretched, torn and soaked, when I saw her.   There in my previously empty passenger seat, was a disheveled old woman, wearing a crushed velvet green dress mud covered and off kilter, which along with her excessive make up migrating from her eyes to her jowls, was evidence of a night of dreams abandoned.

I almost drove straight into the borrow pit.  And slammed my breaks risking a jackknife.   “How did you get here?”

“go,” she said, then with emboldened enunciation, “GO!”  

Having hear plenty of tales from truck stops and late night diners, I figured my guest was not of this world.  I worked through the gears getting the rig back up to high way speed.   Better to move with a unwelcome guest than stay in one place.

She didn’t make eye contact, and we drove in silence.   I didn’t share my Backstreet Boys with anyone, living or dead. “So, um, where you headed?” I asked my paranormal passenger?

of course there was no reply.  Her lips quivered, her earrings dangled.  And her hands clutched a small bag close to her bosom.

I kept my eyes ahead. But couldn’t help notice her fidgeting.  Then a high pitched soprano voice sang this verse.

“It must be clean, the chrome must gleam, No smears, nor splatters, no paper in tatters.”  This kept repeating over and over.  Her fidgeting got more pronounced.

Wait a second I thought.  She needs to use the little girls’ room. “you need to, uh, take care of some business? “  I said.

She didn’t respond, just kept repeating, “It must be clean, the chrome must gleam, No smears, nor splatters, no paper in tatters” eventually adding, “no numbers etched upon the wall, enticing for a good time to call, Nor words profane not a single curse, and a nice little edge for one  to place  her purse”

“Well come on now beggars can’t be choosers.”  Still I wanted to get this ghastly roadie out of my cab.  “There’s a rest area at the summit” I said,  “we’ll stop there.”

Exit 6 couldn’t come soon enough.  I down shifted and skidded a little as I pulled into the rest area.  No other cars or trucks need a break at 3 in the morning.   The red light from the pop machine lit the path to the rest rooms.

I looked at my interloper.   “Well, here you go.” Her finger, which I now noticed did not bend in the correct direction, but instead took a meandering route to come to a point was directed to me.  Then she slowly moved it to the building containing the restrooms, repeated 4 times.   I got the hint.  As I jumped down from the cab, I heard her singsong voice with my marching orders “It must be clean, the chrome must gleam, No smears, nor splatters, no paper in tatters”

I can’t believe I’m cleaning a restroom for a ghost, I thought.   Three times I went back, and three times she rejected my efforts.   Dang it lady I’m a driver not a janitor.  Finally as the sun crested the peak in the east, I walked back one final time.  The cab was empty.

I don’t know how ghosts take care of their business in the private place.   But I got out of there as soon as I could.   So if you’re ever driving down route 66 late at night, and find a peculiar passenger in your car.  I hope you have Lysol, and scrubbers, but most importantly I hope you have gloves and a gas mask, because if you’ve been to a rest area, you know, the lady in need of a powder room was not the scariest thing I saw that night.

Monday, October 10, 2016

To be read at night

The bodies scurry away,

They think it's a game they're about to play,

They find a hole in which to hide,

Quietly, the innocent abide.

The demon-thief will take from them,

The mother's dreams--what might have been,

Their stifled giggles would not emit,

If their stalker's face were lit.

But have a final laugh little

Ready or not, here i come.