I could see the station through the rain; it was pitch dark inside, for whatever reason. That really struck me as strange, and I remember the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck standing straight up at attention. I asked Sally if she could figure out a reason as to why the hell the lights would be out, and why the whole damned town seemed to be on vacation at the same time. I eased up slowly in front of the station, shifted the baby into park, and left her running just in case we’d have to make a hot exit. I told Sally to wait inside the cab where it was safe and warm, and to keep the doors locked once I got out; I was going to run inside and see if I could find old Frank and let him know what we saw on the road. Just to be sure, I made a point to remind Sally that everything would be alright, and that she had nothing at all to worry about. She smiled at me through those worried eyes, and I felt her tension in the trembling of her hand. Maybe it was just the cold. I hopped out into the pouring rain and dashed over to the door of the station. It was locked. I jiggled that bad boy again, just to make sure; I couldn’t imagine why the hell they’d shutter up for the night so soon, or why they didn’t leave anybody behind to keep an eye on things.
I took a few peeps through the windows to see if anybody was inside, but it was too damned dark in there to see anything. All I saw was my face in the reflection of the window from the streetlight behind me. This was shitty, but I said fuck it, I’ll just drive us on over to the Brass Beak and see if any of those schmoes knew what the hell was going on around there. That is, if they were even open. It was like the town was on a curfew or house arrest, or under martial law or something. I whipped around and motioned to Sally that it was no dice trying to get into the station, that it was a done deal. The joint was dead empty. I was about to hot foot it back to the rig when I heard a little something rustling in the alley next to the station; it sounded like somebody dumped a trash can over. It was a commotion and a few bottles clanging together down there, loud enough to get my attention even over the roar of the rain. I jogged over to the mouth of the alley where I heard the sound echoing, cupped my hand over my eyes and squinted hard, but I couldn’t see a damn thing, thankfully. I’d hoped to see ol’ Frank or one of the other officers coming my way, but that wasn’t happening. At any rate, I’d left my bat in the truck and wasn’t about to get into a scrap barehanded, in case it was trouble. I wasn’t about to go looking for it, so I turned around and ran back toward the truck. I hopped in and let Sally know that we’d have to try our luck elsewhere.