4/24/2009

Entry One Hundred Ten: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

[This entry is the current story I am working on. This is forty of who knows how many will be posted. The last entry is here. Enjoy it while it lasts...]

Chapter Eighteen
The alarm starting beeping at 7 a.m. but Adam had been awake for nearly an hour, lying in bed, waiting for the alarm to sound and wondering why he had set it in the first place. It wasn’t like he had anyone to meet or a specific schedule to keep. Old habits die hard, at least that was what he was figuring out.

He lifted himself out of the bed and forced himself through the routines of the morning—shower, shave, cigarette or two. He was fighting the next step, hosting a mental war between the knowledge that he should leave, needed to leave, and the desire to stay put. But it was wasted energy; he knew he was leaving and he was leaving today.

He packed the car, slowly, which was not just a stall tactic but also a result of not knowing what he would find “out there.” Would supplies be easy to restock? He had developed a routine in Grayson and didn’t think twice about most of his needs but venturing past his comfortable borders was full of doubt. With the last bag stored away in the trunk, he slid behind the wheel into the front seat and turned the key to start the car. Then he pulled it back, killing the ignition process before it could fully kick in. He opened the car door and walked around to the rear and surveyed the houses lining his street. After a hesitation he began walking toward the house next door, on the right. He went inside and began searching. He knew it was here, in this house, but he couldn’t remember exactly where it was displayed. He finally found it on the second floor, under a lamp in the master bedroom. He grabbed the model and returned to his car. “The M113 Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle. I now dub you the Patron Saint of Tanks.” He placed the model on the dashboard, centered, it’s machine gun turret pointing the way. “Guide me, protect me and help me forge a path, wherever that may be.” Adam started the car and pulled out of the driveway, moving forward, into what he was not sure.

Since he had gassed up the day before there was nothing left for Adam to do but drive out of Grayson and make his way to Atlanta. His planned route was to take some back roads to Tifton and then get on Interstate 75, heading north. The roads were fairly clear which made sense. This was farming country and most people in these parts were not up and driving at four in the morning when the Squatters pulled the switch. There was an occasional truck in the road but that was not enough to slow him down so he made good time to Tifton. He maneuvered the curving tangle of an on ramp and cautiously made his way to the big road, I-75. It became immediately clear that his progress was in for some delays.

As sleepy and serene as his small town became at four a.m., the interstate was the opposite. Cars and trucks of every color and size formed a mechanical maze as far as he could see, north and south bound lanes equally congested. The 18-wheeled tractor-trailers added formidable height, towering above all else, intimidating and obnoxious. He stopped his car, shoved it into park, stepped out and then started to climb on the hood to get a better view. As his weight caused the metal to swag he backed off and decided to try a different tack. “No sense in screwing up my car. It’s not like anybody else is going to care if I dent their roof.” He glanced around and started walking toward a large four-wheeled drive pickup, climbed in the bed and made his way to the top of the cab. The view from his new perch was a little more encouraging; the “traffic” appeared to thin out further north. “But, damn, this is freaky.” Adam took a deep, cleansing breath, lit a cigarette and sat on the roof, feet dangling over the bed of the truck. “What the hell am I doing…” The thought trailed off but it hung in the air around Adam’s head, hovering, daring him to answer. But there was no response, from him or anyone else because Adam Mahoney was the last man standing on the face of the earth. And he had yet to feel it as deeply as he did sitting on a non-existent strangers’ truck on an empty freeway in the silence of nothing.

All words and images ©2009/J. Colle

2 comments:

Laura Jean said...

I like adam. I misse dhim. and i want to know "Where in the hell is he going?"

Jaysephus said...

Well, I have a few more chapters that have been written (and it tells a bit more on the destination) although the entire story has not been completed. Motivation is fleeting...

But thanks for the encouragement.