“Get your head down! He’s coming.” Billy smiled in the shade of the brand new Toyota’s back seat. The only bummer about this caper is the lack of air conditioning, he thought.
“Hey Billy, what do you think we should do now?” Vivienne’s voice was tingling with excitement. This was the most fun since the time she rode the Ferris wheel twice in a row at last year’s county fair. The truck revved its engine and whined slowly into gear as it pulled out of the truck stop and onto I-95.
“I dunno, Vivi,” he said. “Can’t really say that I had all that much of a plan, not really. I mean, I thought it would be fun and all, and it is, but I forgot some of the details. I never been all that good at makin’ plans. My pop says he shoulda smacked me with the hose more often, then maybe I’d plan ahead. I guess I’m gettin’ around to sayin’ that I’m hunger. I forgot that these here auto transporters didn’t have food on them.”
Vivienne looked up at Billy from under the passenger seat. “We can sit up now,” she said. “It’s not like he can see us while he’s driving. Let’s open the door.
Billy and Vivienne were sitting in the back seat of an auto transporter, carrying a load of new cars to a dealership. It had been a boring afternoon in Wheezeville, South Carolina, and the dynamic duo had decided to kill another afternoon the only way a pair of thirteen-year-old kids could in that little town. They’d gone to the town’s only attraction: the truck stop. After running out of things to buy with the money they no longer had, they’d taken to kicking up dirt in the parking lot. Then, Billy had had his bright idea of stowing away for an adventure. As luck had had it, the door of one Toyota had been hanging open. They’d hopped in and decided to follow the rabbit hole of auto transportation as deep as it went.
“It’ll be fun,” Billy had said. “We’ll find out where they’re taking these cars!”
Three hours later, the driver pulled into another truck stop, and the inevitable questions began to arise. Namely, the question of “now what” seemed to be surfacing just about everywhere. When was the auto transporter going to provide them with food? How about water? Did auto transport companies have schedules like buses? When would the next one be coming back the other way? Billy and Vivi just hadn’t seemed to think about these sorts of things when hopping the train into the sunset. But as the day grew on and the red shadows grew sharper, Billy and Vivi began to pine away for their home town of Wheezleville.
On that fateful day, a wistful middle-aged man named Murray Slackswhip just happened to pull into that same truck stop. Despondent, he’d bought an oversized box of toys in the hopes of buying back his family’s affection after disappearing with no explanation for several years. When those two bright-eyed children hopped out of the Toyota on the back of the auto transporter, he took off his glasses to clean them. Could he be seeing things, or were those his children? Now, you and I know that Billy and Vivi were no children of Murray Slackswhip, but they needed a ride back to Wheezleville. When he walked toward them, then, you can understand that they knew it’d be wise to play along.
“Eddie?” Murray’s eyes were tearing up.
“Daddy?” Vivienne said, putting on her best daddy’s-girl face.
“Am I glad to see you!” Murray grinned. The children hopped in the car, never asking where he was going. As it turned out, they ended up in Detroit. But that’s a story for another day.
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