This is a very slightly modified version of the original. There is one line that would be potentially offensive that I removed.
Hopefully, you, the reader, will forgive me and enjoy this version just as well.
Without further ado, here is the story:
“All right, let me just get a few things.” I tell the policeman.
“Where could we go?” My girlfriend asks me. “I don’t want to be with my mom.”
“If you don’t want to go there, we can go to the country and visit my family.”
“Are you sure?”
“What other choice do we have?”
So I grab, my composition books and my flash drive, my rechargeable flashlight. my phone and charger. My girlfriend grabs her purse, phone and charger as well. God it’s cold. I hope my car can make it out of this wretched city. All I have is a wing and a prayer.
We walk out of my house, locking the doors behind us. Then we walk through my front yard and to the curb then shut hurricane fence. We get in my car and thankfully it fires right up.
I turn my car radio to the news and information station. My theory is proven correct; this was a terrorist attack. Contraflow is being used on all of the main highways out of the city. Right now it’s bumper to bumper, I hope and pray the terrorists don’t strike again right here. I must get off this Interstate as soon as I can and take an alternate route. That way, there’ll be less traffic and less chance of another attack.
There is a heavy police presence but I guess that is a good thing. I hope and pray that they are not harmed by those damn terrorists.
For forty five minutes the traffic moves like molasses in the dead of winter. She rests her head on my shoulder and I repeatedly kiss her forehead. We are making the best of a bad situation. Finally we are now moving.
“Once we get out of the city, I should get us some coffee and food. I need something to keep me awake.”
“Sure, do what you need to do.”
We are now out of the city and on the Interstate. Thank God, the traffic is now moving. Just as planned though, I will get off.
I see an exit to a dark, but well maintained highway two lane. Right away I take it.
“Looks like we are safe now, but why are you getting off right here?” My girlfriend asks.
“Because, I don’t want to take the chance of someone wrecking or breaking down. If that happens, traffic will back up and the terrorists could possibly strike again.” I reply.
“I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“Look, I am trying my best. You must know that I am just trying to get us out of harm’s way.”
“I guess.” She says with irritation.
“Let’s not fight, if we do the terrorists have another victory.”
“Yes, thank God we weren’t away from each other when this happened.
“You’re right! I would rather die with you than live and us be apart!”
“I love you so much!”
“And I love you too, baby!”
“How much longer from here?”
“About four hours.”
“Yes, I just hope and pray my car won’t break down.” I reply.
“What’s your family like?”
“Let’s just say interesting.”
“I hope they will accept me but I’m afraid of what they will think of my mom’s pill habit.”
“Don’t worry, they’ll accept you. They always wanted me to find love and now I have because of you. They just might tease you about being from the city.”
“What about the pills? Would they judge me about that?”
“No, they won’t. My family has always taught me that no one is perfect and that we all have faults. Plus, you’re not the addict; your mom is.”
“What’s your hometown like?” She asks.
“Boring, flat and quiet. I guess that is a good thing at the moment. It’s not an important place, so the terrorists wouldn’t try to strike there.”
“So you think we’ll be safe there?”
“Yes, there is only a two-lane highway in and out of town and there are no waterways, railroads are airstrips. It’s nothing a terrorist would want to hit.”
“You should call your parents first, to let them know you are coming.” She tells me.
“You’re right. I was going to, but you know I should conserve my minutes, especially for my job.” I reply.
“I don’t think you will be returning to work for a while and, to me, that’s a very good thing. Besides, you can use my phone.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course. I love you and would do anything for you.”
“Oh, I love you too baby! Thank you so much.”
She turns her phone on and I call out the ten digits. She then puts the speaker phone feature on and we hear the ringing.
“Hello.” My mother answers, half asleep.
“Hey, momma it’s me. There has been a terrorist attack in my city and I am headed your way. Put the news on, you’ll hear all about it.” I reply.
“Are you all right?”
“Yes. I am fine, but I have someone special with me.”
“Whom do you have?”
“My girlfriend. I will explain everything when we arrive.”
“Okay, be careful.”
“I sure will.”
“How much longer until you’ll be here?”
“If everything goes right, about four to five hours. As soon as we find a truck stop, I will get some, food and coffee to keep me awake.”
“Okay, you drive safe and I will see you then. I can’t wait to meet this lovely young lady.”
Suddenly the signal fades out.
“Momma, can you hear me?”
“Your mom seems nice.”
“Oh, she is very nice. I wish I could see her more.”
“It’s a good thing she is not like my mom.”
“The worst she does is take a shot of whiskey every now and then. It’s only to help her sleep.”
I continue to drive. It is cold and dark. The heater is working well for the most part. My girlfriend snuggles next to me and we keep warm.
I see a truck stop sign ahead, so activate my turn signal. We get off the highway, then pull into the parking lot.
We drive up to a pump, then go inside to pay the cashier.
My girlfriend pulls out her debit card and says “Let me pay. My dad deposited grocery money in my account, but I think we need gas more than groceries right now.
“Thank you so much, baby! I wish I could repay you!”
My girlfriend replies “It’s the least I can do. By the way, when we get back home, you can repay me all night long!” The she tells the cashier and say “Forty Dollars on pump five.”
The young cashier says, blushing “Y’all are so cute.” She then runs my girfriend’s card.
We go out to pump the gas, then come back after we’re done. I desperately need food and coffee, so I ask the cashier, “Is your restaurant open?”
“Well, we were going to close, but could sure use the business.” She pauses then calls the waitress. “There are some customers, don’t shut down just yet.”
We walk into the diner and the waitress greets us.
“What’ll it be?” She asks.
I look at my girlfriend and say “Tell her.”
“I would like some strawberry pancakes if that’s all right.”
“Sure. And for you?”
“Whatever sandwich you can make. And coffee-lot’s of it.”
“Where are y’all from?”
“The city south-east of here. There was a terrorist attack and we are refugees.”
“A terrorist attack?” She asks.
“Yes. Turn your TV on. You’ll learn all about it.” I tell her.
“Can’t. Cable’s out.” She replies.
“Well, these radical extremists, purposely derailed a train right where the transmission lines cross the tracks. That caused a chemical release and the power in most of the city is out.”
“Good Lord, that’s awful.”
“Yes. And it’s her eighteenth birthday.” I tell the waitress.
The waitress looks at my girlfriend and says “Well since it is your birthday, y’all both eat free. Y’all have seen enough hell for tonight and it’s the least we can do.”
“Thank you so much; I surely appreciate that.” I tell her.
“Yes, y’all are both welcome. Just tell any travellers about this place when you can.”
“I just hope and pray that you’ll get more refugee customers coming from the city, but most are probably on the Interstate. I took a back road so we wouldn’t be caught in all that traffic.”
My girlfriend and I happily eat and converse with the waitress and then we get coffee to go.
“Here’s a thermal mug with our company name on it. Tell everyone you can about us.” The waitress says.
“I sure will.” I tell her.
“Come back if you’re ever passing through again and we’ll take care of y’all.”
We leave the truck stop and get back on the highway. I am now awake and alert thanks to the free coffee. My girlfriend is sleeping on my shoulder. I hold her with my right arm and the wheel with my left. Three and a half hours before I am in my home town…
I see plenty of yellow lines and reflectors and at least my car is running smoothly. Finally I see the junction and turn to go into town.
I pull into my parents’ driveway. We step out of the car and I ring the doorbell. My momma greets us.