North on I-35                                                                                   [Go to the Index of Writers]

First section by John Starliper

The truck was just where Miguel said it would be, and it looked just as he had described: white cab, black trailer, not so old or new as to attract attention. What he didn't mention, though, was that some pendejo would park it sideways, taking two parking spaces. He shook his head.

He resisted the urge to check the merchandise in the back - some things were best left unseen - and slid into the drivers seat, cranking the engine. The truck's fan belt was loose, and the high-pitched scream echoed across the dimly lit lot.

Great. Why don't I wake up all of Laredo?

He flipped the sun visor up--after all, it was two in the morning--and pointed the truck north. A couple of miles down the road, he accelerated onto Interstate 35 and discovered that there was a governor on the truck's carburetor that limited the truck to fifty-five miles per hour.

Those vatos thought of everything, he told himself. Conservative truck. Limit on how fast you can drive. Cash on delivery. Clean-cut white guy to do the hauling.

Despite the ungodly hour, there was no shortage of trucks on I-35. The wind from the passing eighteen-wheelers had him fighting the steering wheel just to stay between the white lines. And that was with his trailer full.

He hated night driving, so he turned to the radio for a distraction. It was one of those AM types with the over-sized knobs. He travelled up and down the dial twice, inching the knob back and forth, trying to coax a half-decent radio signal from the night sky. The few stations that were that were strong were talk or gospel or tejano. He shut it off.

With nothing to distract him, he found his thoughts straying to his girlfriend, April, and their crow-haired daughter, Amber. The little girl claps her small hands at the gifts he's brought. April asks how much they got with the latest haul, but he dismisses her with a wink and a smile. Amber squeals excitedly. What a special kid. He'd do anything for his two girls.

He was north of Laredo now. The traffic thinned and the six lanes became two. It was all farm land and open night sky--acre after acre, mile after mile. His eyes grew heavy. Row after row of sweet corn rushed by him on both sides. The truck's motor hummed. The stars blinked, hypnotically. His eyes closed.


A surge of adrenaline surged through his body and his eyes re-opened.

Holy shit, he thought. He jolted to an upright position, and found himself on the wrong side of the two-lane highway. He jerked rightward on the wheel, and the truck's weight shifted. The truck's right side levitated, tires off the ground, and he heard multiple thuds as the truck's cargo was tossed violently inside the trailer.

Glass shattered and he found himself tumbling to the roof of the cab. Then onto the floorboard. Then back onto the roof. His last thought was to ask God to stop the truck from rolling.

When he awoke, he was in the fetal position on top of the driver's side door. Hard ground was where the window should have been. Facing up, he could see stars through the passenger side window. For several minutes, he lay there while the constellations mocked him, not daring to move.

Then he heard a muffled moan.                      [Go to Part Two]

This is part 1 of a story written by a 'committee' - writers from the Writing Workshop.  
It will be gradually added to as each new section appears.

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