This is a total change of pace for me...light, fluffy, and (I hope!) funny. I hope you all enjoy it!
"We're lost, Jordan," Woody finally said after miles of silence.
"We're not lost," Jordan insisted as the two-lane road wound through yet another cow pasture. "Okay, so we're a little lost."
"Why did I let you talk me into taking the 'shortcut'?" He took his hands off the wheel for a moment and waved his fingers in ironic quotes.
"Come on, Woody! Where is your spirit of adventure?"
"I guess I left it back at the gas station a hundred miles ago...where you should have let me ask for directions!"
They had driven several hours outside of Boston to meet with a possible witness in a homicide, and Jordan had insisted, as usual, in tagging along. The interview had proven fruitless, which did nothing to elevate Woody's mood on the long drive home.
"Just stay on this road. I know where I'm going, Woody. We're going to hit the highway sooner or later." She waved her hand down toward some unseen point over the horizon.
"Sooner would be better," he grumbled.
"What's the matter? Got a hot date?" she said with a teasing laugh and glanced over at him. He stared straight ahead onto the endless black road, and the laugh died in her throat as she realized that yes, indeed, he did. "Oh," she said and turned her head towards her window.
"Well, it's a date. I don't know how hot," he said almost apologetically.
"Hey, man. Good for you. None of my business."
A silent gloom dropped over the car. In the distance, an old yellow VW rumbled toward them and rattled by. It was the first car they had seen in an hour.
Jordan reached over and socked him on his right bicep.
"Ow! Jordan! What was that for?" He rubbed his arm hurtfully.
"Slug Bug," she said chewing on a piece of red licorice she had bought at the gas station many miles back. She held the package out to him. "Want one?"
He pursed his lips. "No, thank you."
"What's the matter? Don't you like red licorice?"
He shook his head. "Red licorice is a contradiction in terms. Licorice is black. Period."
She shrugged and took another bite. "Suit yourself."
The sun was beginning to set, and they were still at least 2 1/2 hours outside of Boston. She leaned her head back against the headrest and closed her eyes. She was about to sink into a state of semi-consciousness when she heard a heart-stopping sputtering sound.
She snapped open her eyes and sat bolt upright. Woody was staring down at the gas gauge. "No no no no no no no no..." he moaned helplessly as he steered the car to the shoulder.
"Are we out of gas? Tell me we're not out of gas." She looked out onto the darkening road as the Ford chugged to a halt. He mumbled something inaudible. "You did get gas back there, didn't you, Woody?" she asked in an accusing tone.
He turned to her sheepishly. "I didn't fill it up all the way."
"What? Wood-y!" She smacked her forehead. "Don't even tell me."
"Did you see how much gas cost back there! It was over two dollars a gallon! I thought we'd pass another station by now."
"Pass another station? We're in the middle of nowhere, Woody!"
He pointed a finger at her. "You said we weren't lost! You said you knew where we were going!"
They both collapsed back into their seats. He took long, deep breaths to steady himself. "Okay. Okay. I've got AAA. I'll just call them. They'll bring us some gas." He reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He stared at it for a moment. "Uh...Jordan? Do you have your phone with you?" He held out his phone to her. "No bars. Not one."
She rummaged in her bag and pulled out her cell phone. Her heart dropped. "No service," she said flatly.
He frowned and jumped from the car, slamming the door behind him. The car rocked as he pounded the roof with his fists. Jordan scrambled out of the car and ran around to where he stood at the roadside with his hands on his hips.
"Now, wait, don't panic yet, Woody. A car will pass eventually, right?" she asked hopefully. He glared at her and grunted in reply. They stood for a few minutes looking up and down at the nothingness that streched on and on in all directions. "So. I guess we walk, right?" She pointed to a sign across the road and read it, "Milton. Two Miles. We can pick up some gas there," she said as optimistically as she could. "Only two miles. Could be worse."
"I don't see how it could possibly be worse, Jordan. First, I drag myself four hours outside Boston to interview a possible witness whose memory and eyesight seems to have faded overnight. Then, we run out of gas in a part of the state that looks like a scene out of Deliverance. Now, it's maybe twenty degrees, and we're about to start a forced march to West Podunk, Massachusetts. Not to mention the fact that right now I am missing out on what was to have been my first date in months after a dry spell that makes the Sahara look like the Amazon rain forest. So, I don't see how this could possibly be any worse, Jordan."
He glowered at her, breathless after his rant.
She thought to say something, a snappy retort or maybe words of encouragement but was stopped as the grey sky opened and the first snowflakes fluttered down and settled on the empty road.