Sally asked if I’d ever stopped at Rim, and I told her that I used to detour there almost every time I’d leave Harvey’s, back when the filling station was up and running right off the highway. I always remember grabbing coffee, a paper, and a quick conversation with Bobby behind the counter before I filled up and made my way out of town. If I had a little thirst, I’d head down to the Brass Beak for a beer, a chat, or to catch a game on the old tv. The next town was a little ways down the road, so I’d fill ‘er up in Rim before I set out to log the major miles on the road. She had some family at Rim, she said; a handful of cousins, an uncle, and some grandparents that had lived there their entire lives. She’d drop into Rim every now and then to check on them and visit; it reminded me of my own family, and how I didn’t have any of them around anymore. I really missed those bastards. Sally told me that all the years that she’d been coming to Rim, she’d never seen it quite like it was that night; so empty. Like I said a minute ago, this was no Chicago, but damn, this also sure as shit wasn’t no ghost town. I agreed with her that the place did look mighty dead, and I told her that we’d better high tail it to the police station and get all of that stuff over and done with.
The rain was still coming down in sheets, and it was a pain in the ass to see anything in front of the truck. The good thing was that nobody else was on the road that night, and that made the driving much easier. The station was only a few miles off the highway, though, a tiny station made for a small town. There were less than 2,000 people in the whole damn town, and there were around 5 or so sheriffs on duty at any given time; nine times out of ten, that was more than enough to get the job done. One of the cops on duty was a friend of mine named Frankie Carwin; ol’ Frank and I welded together at Ray’s Sheet Metal up in Higginsville a while back. I’d planned on heading right into the station, going straight to Frank, letting him know what the hell we’d seen on highway 10, and getting the hell out of there. I had a woman in the truck whose company I wanted to enjoy, and I’m sure we both needed that drink pretty damned bad after the night we were having. We could see houses on either side of the road with the lights out, and all of the shops and stores looked to be closed. I started to wonder if we were going to get that drink after all.