The man stood under the darkened Wal-Mart sign, staring off to the road. He paced for a while, then leaned against the sign, then paced again.

There were some lights going past on the highway, it gave him a sense of not being alone at least. He wished he had worn his watch because at least he would know for sure how long he'd been here. Maybe it was better that he didn't. If someone asked him that right now he'd probably answer, "About a month." It felt that long to him. He wondered if anyone noticed that he wasn't where he should have been. Not likely because he would have been still on the plane if he hadn't decided to drive. He had planned to spend 2 days just driving and looking at the scenery. He'd only seen things from the airplanes that he was taking from one job to the other. He thought that this would be a nice change. HAHA!

It was different here in Tennesee. He always thought that Wal-Marts stayed open all the time. This one sure didn't. According to the sign on the door they closed promptly at 10PM. He had pulled off the highway about 10:30PM. Just in time to see the last employee pulling out of the parking lot as his car sputtered to a stop.

He had called the AAA number from his cell phone and they assured him they would send someone out right away. He was sure that had been at least 2 or 3 hours ago. This was the only thing he'd seen when his car started acting up. The gas stations around here were few and far between. The last time he had tried to call AAA to see how much longer they would be, his cell phone was dead. There was no outdoor phones around here either. He opened his car door and sat down. He was sure that he would see the tow truck pulling in any second. He'd been thinking that for quite a while now........He thought, "Worse comes to worse, the Wal-Mart opens in about 6 or 7 hours. It'll be daylight then too."

The tow truck driver called his dispatcher, "Mary-Lou? I don't know where that guy is. I just hit every K-Mart from here to just out side Memphis and ain't no cars stuck anywhere. Did yawl try to call him back?"

Mary Lou giggled, "Loyal? You know how these Northerners are. He didn't give me a number and what came up on the ID isn't answering. He probably got his old car started and just drove right on outta there without giving one thought to you patrolling all the K-Marts in three counties. C'mon back in now and bring me some coffee and donuts, Ya Hear?"

Loyal turned the truck around and headed back up the highway. First Krispy Kreme he saw, he'd pick up enough donuts to make Mary Lou fall in love.


Swampetta (
July 2004

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