At Sunset in a Nameless Town

Five minutes of freewriting got me this. Go figure.

At sunset in a nameless town, I finally run out of gas. I’m forced to leave my car at the bottom of the hill and beg for a jug of gasoline at the top in order to finish my journey. The two dollars in my pocket pay for the gas. The rest I’ve got to keep for shelter.

Not that there’s much in this town. Barely a hamlet. A general store and a gas station across the street from three dilapidated houses, and scores of rotten foundations. The dust blows off of the fields. There’s not even a barn in sight. Certainly no motel.

Where’s the nearest motel, I ask the gas station attendant.

The attendant just looked at me with pools of white.

Nearest city?



It’s about then that I realize that I’m in trouble.

You won’t get far on two bucks of gas, he tells me. Not far enough.

I can hear the coyotes braying, and I wonder just how it was I came to be here.

You got money? the attendant asks. It’s my turn to stare at him. I take out my wallet and show him. He sucks his lips. That money won’t buy you a decent room nowhere, so don’t worry about that. You need gas. Keep driving. You’re a dozen miles from the middle of nowhere here, so you’ll need to drive more than twelve miles to get somewhere. Anywhere. Anywhere is better than here.

I nod, and hand him the rest of my money. It’s not enough, but he fills up my tank, anyway.

What brings you out here? I ask.

Conversation, he says with a shrug. And retires to his seat beside the pump.

In Trenchcoat Farewell Project news, Shepherd Moons is almost done, and I’ve begun layout work on T4’s Distractions.

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