The Passing at Highway 10 – part 14

So I’ll have to admit again that shit was way off base; I mean, something big must have happened in that town to empty out the cop station like that.  Granted, there are only a few cops on duty at any given time, and it was a tiny ant hill of a town, but there still should have been some motion going on in the streets.  I locked the doors behind me once I got in and just sat there for a second to collect myself; shit was throwing my brain off of its track.  I was never one to worry, especially around others, and Sally seemed to have the same method of operation.  She was calm and cool as a cucumber on the outside, but I could see some fearsome tension in her eyes.  She sort of had this still, blank stare, and these big old eyes that spoke exactly what they just saw.  I could tell that she had about a million and a half scenarios racing through her head just by looking at her.  She told me what I was already thinking, which was to just head to the Brass Beak, suck down a few shots, chat the locals up, and see what the fuck was going on.  I shifted the rig into gear, and as I did, I threw a suspicious glance back toward the alley where I heard the noise next to the dumpster; I still didn’t see a damn thing.

So we were driving down the main street, and it was black as hell out; no streetlights, no stoplights, and no lights inside any of the houses.  It was like we missed the party and the town was closed for business or something.  We looked left and right at the houses just for any signs of movement or life; whatever hope we could find just to make sure shit was still alright and safe around there.  We just wanted a few answers, that’s all.  I grew up watching black and white cowboy movies with my dad, and this whole situation reminded me of some old dusty, windblown abandoned cow town.  The only thing missing was the tumbleweed.  So The Beak was literally a stone’s throw from the sheriff’s station, and we were closing in on it fast.  As we eased up to it, I think our stomachs both dropped at the same damn time; I mean, it was a total gut drop when we saw that the lights in The Beak were out too.  C’mon now, you know?  There’s no way Sam would have shut down The Beak so early, without a good reason at least.  That guy never turned down a thirsty mouth or a few dollar bills.  I pulled up slowly and we both looked at each other, too stunned to really say much of anything, but I think the idea of cell phones hit is both at the same time like brass knuckles to bared teeth. It’s just that in all of the damn ramshackle confusion, we both clean forgot about our cell phones.  Sally laughed at herself for forgetting that she had hers, and I laughed that the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind.  We needed that laugh; the tension was as thick as mashed potatoes in the rig at that point.

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