Stuck Way Out Here

It had been a heck of a past two days, the car quit on Marcy then the stove stopped working and to top that off the upstairs commode clogged. He was nearing his deadline for the submittal; he was a mental wreck. “Honey, in the morning I am going to drive out the old mine road and just walk and throw rocks after you return from the gym.” How the heck did she cope?

After dinner he went into his office/study/writing room and it seemed he would write three lines then erase two. Stop think, delete a paragraph and start again. Finally in desperation he poured himself a large tumbler of Scotch and began sipping it. He got indigestion and his gut ached, “Bad idea,” he said as he just swallowed the rest of the glass, then drank half a bottle of Maalox.

The next morning things were no better but he saw the children off to school and Marcy to the gym. When she came back he jumped in the old Civic and with his laptop, a spare battery, a jug of water and some bananas and apples he headed off toward the old mine to find some solitude and to just goof off and think.

From the west edge of town it was 42 miles out to the old mine and then 28 more miles to the mountain and Mountainside, a small town. The road continued as a narrow two lane road over the mountain to the western slope. But he was heading to the old mine which was on a lone solitary roundish peaked hill. People had mined it for years, well they had dug in it, on it, under it and around it looking for gold, silver and some even swore that the center was an ideal geological site for diamonds. He had read the article and understood it at the elementary school level and had laughed.

On the northeast side there were a few copses of aspen and a nice scrub pine forest extending from the flat ground about a third of the way up the peak in one place. He drove around to that area, parked and after a good long drink of water he got the roll of TT and a couple apples and began to climb and see where they had dug and if there were any old relics still there.

It was hotter than most normal April days as he found a shaft that went in about a hundred feet so he crawled in shining his small light. It was only like three feet high but it started in on a slant then all at once went at ninety degrees. The only things he found were beer cans, old whiskey bottles and about a dozen empty cans that looked like they had been opened with a large blade knife. He had read some elementary geology and from what he had read he saw nothing so he came back out. He already felt good as he climbed up the steep side to an old tree stump where he saw another hole and where the removed dirt and rock had been spread so no one would notice it.

He sat down, ate an apple then put two sticks of gum in his mouth and crawled into the hole. It was a small one less than three feet across. He crawled in about fifty or sixty feet where the air was not very good and shone his light around. There was a lot of sparkling so he took his pocket knife and dug out a few pieces of quartz and some pyrite. Starting to feel a little woozy he crawled out and slowly sauntered back down to his car where he drank heavily. He went over under a tree, laptop in hand and started to sit down until he saw the ground moving with ants. He found another place, sat down and opened his laptop.

Soon he was typing away, oblivious to the world; heck he was nearly finished and was about to save the story to CD when he heard a “Kaboom!” which sounded like a twelve gauge. He could see his car but did not see another as he heard another “Kaboom!”

The computer finished copying to the CD and ejected it. Quickly he put it in a sleeve and into his pocket. He headed for his car at a dead run. Just as he reached it he saw one of those big old monster truck copies driving up the little road from the highway. It stopped and a young man got out and two young girls in short shorts and halter jumped out.

The three of them relieved themselves as the two boys and the girl in the back of the truck just went over the side. “Ha ha, I can put a stream further than you,” the girl in the truck bed yelled as she had dropped her shorts and leaned back. They all had another beer then piled into the truck which started toward where he was.

He backed away from the car and around a big rock as he heard the driver of the truck yell, “Hold on, Honda squashing time.” He down shifted and oh lord the noise that truck made as he drove up and over the little Civic with the right wheels. The truck nearly turned over as two of the three were thrown out. One of the two who fell out ran back and picked up his shotgun. “Kill it, kill it the driver yelled.

With a big scream the young man ran toward the smashed Civic, fell to the ground rolled over twice and fired three blasts from the shotgun. He jumped up ran to the front and fired twice more into the grill/radiator and at the hood. “One dead Honda,” he yelled as the man put down his laptop, stepped out and started toward the truck. The shooter yelled, “Oh shit,” and ran toward the truck.

He grabbed for the trailer hitch as the driver was heading out, dropping his shotgun as he pulled himself up and into the back of the truck. The other two started shooting at him, emptying their shotguns. It was a good thing they were fifty or a hundred yards away and going fast or he would have been hit. The truck disappeared and was gone in a big cloud of dust.

He stood there, “Damn, double damn,” he screamed as he walked over to the shotgun. He pulled out his bandanna, picked it up and started back to the smashed and shot Honda. “What do I do, how can I get home, damn, double damn,” he yelled. He stashed the shotgun in the bushes and then went to the smashed and shot up Honda. The top was smashed down to the doors so he could not get at or to anything. “No water,” he yelled as he felt his pockets and found two apples and two bananas. “Thank God for cargo pockets,” he spoke aloud as he found he had four sticks of gum left in his pocket.

Slowly he dusted himself off, took his old bandanna and put it under his cap making a small sun shade. Finally, after he thought and thought some more; he started to walk toward the road with his laptop under his arm. It was only a half mile, more or less, but already it felt like a lot more. By the time he got to the road he was tired and thinking, “Will she come look for me if I am not home?” He then shook his head because he had always been erratic, nearly spasmodic going out and staying two or five days when he went for the morning. “Heck no, ain’t no way she will come looking after the way I have behaved,” he told himself as he began to walk.

He walked along looking back every few minutes hoping to see a vehicle, alas there were none. He stopped looked around and then looked at the hill or mountain or whatever. He smiled as he just stared at how it sat out from the rest of the landscape and that one odd large hill or small mountain was unique. He stood and just drank it in until he noticed he could see the road on over the mountain from where he stood. He just stood there soaking in the view and enjoying the vista from standing in the middle of the road out in nowhere land.

He would walk like five or ten minutes then stop and slowly turn a full three sixty soaking in the view. As he walked the shadows began to lengthen and he knew no vehicles would come along after dark, “Heck who would travel this road out through here after dark,” he asked aloud on numerous occasions after he hit the road and began to walk.

Just then he remembered his jacket was in the car and out here in the barren no place it can get quite chilly at night. He then thought about jogging, but decided after a hundred yards or so he would then be too tired to walk; so he just kept it in the status quo. Walk a while, stop and look, walk a while, then stop and look.

He walked further this time but the sky seemed to be so funny looking, so odd. He stopped to see the sun setting. The crystal clear sky with no clouds now had a few just over the horizon. His chin dropped as he just gazed at the colors of the sky at how it was so different than the rest of the day.

He saw a small wash so he sat down on the bank, turned on his laptop and began to just look and write, write about what he saw. The yellows turning to orange and the oranges turning to reds and then the reds slowly turning to blues which slowly became black. He wrote about the vapor trails crisscrossing the sky like a giant empty cross word puzzle frame or many, many tic, tac, toe frames.

Actually his heart was pounding as he saw the real beauty of the land, the real land and he also realized someone in their infinite wisdom had designed this or planned it. “But it is different every day; it is so different now the way it is changing.” He just kept typing, never looking at the screen, always looking to the west at the marvelous view. He was in a theater where they were playing games, he was here and there but each time he realized he was sitting in a small wash out in the middle of nowhere watching Mother Nature.

He got the low battery signal and finally the laptop shut off. He arose, dusted off his seat and started to again on his trek toward home when he saw the moon; it was just rising, that great big old moon which was a quarter million miles away. Again he was like a small child, just looking, bubbling over with emotions, oohing and aahing this and that. But the moon did not fascinate him like the sun set and he could see it as he walked. He had to sort of watch where he was going or he would just walk off the road and fall in the ditch or barrow pit.

The moon had risen a good ways when he heard the sound of a vehicle approaching. He turned and began to wave his hands as it neared. “Oh no!” It was the big old monster truck flying low. The truck swerved at him as he jumped back and went into the barrow pit. One thing he thought as he let loose a stream of curse words, “At least no one can hear me cursing those idjuts.”

He climbed back up on the road when he heard something and looking behind him he saw flashing lights coming toward him. Again he began to wave his arms. The police cruiser slowed down, “Will send some help, just stay on the road,” the man inside yelled as he floored the cruiser, burning rubber and the sedan roared as he was off after the culprits.

He walked another hour or so when he saw a mail box; it cheered him up because he was at least back to where someone lived. Then he saw a light coming his way. Again he waved his arms and the pickup stopped. “What is wrong, what are you doing out here this time of night,” a young man asked.

“Those yahoos in the big monster truck smashed and shot up my car,” he replied. “Do you happen to have a phone so I can call my wife to come get me?”

The young man opened the door, got out and reached into the bed of his pickup, “Here, you must be dry, have a beer.”

He hand him a cell phone so he called his wife. “Honey, come get me I am on the road out to the mine, I will tell you about it later; I will be walking toward town.” He offered to pay the young man for the beer and the phone call.

“No sir, just next time you see somebody in need, give them a hand.” They shook hands and the young man was gone, turning in at the mail box with his lights soon disappearing over the hill.

About 45 minutes later his wife found him and they turned around and headed home. When they saw the flashing lights he had his wife stop. There were three police vehicles with flashing lights there. He went up to a Sgt. “This bunch drove over my car and shot it up. I have one of their shotguns and stashed it. The finger prints on the gun will identify him. There were three in the back with shotguns and two girls and a boy in the cab.”

When he got home he submitted his story and then after doing a little editing he sent in what he had written as he watched the sun set. Both were hits. The next day he went with the local Sheriff out to the old mine where he showed him the shotgun, all of the spent shells and his smashed Honda Civic.

© By Tom (








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