Writing Prompt #13: Wrong Road

14 January 2015

Writing Prompt #13: Wrong Road



Jack’s lower back had been bothering him for the last hundred miles, and the car was getting low on gas. Luckily, Rowley’s Junction was just up ahead. He recalled there was an old mom-n-pop gas and market out here; of course it’s been twenty years since he’s taken this road.

And it was still there. Jack eased the old Pontiac GTO up to the pump. He looked around and saw three other cars. Busy day for the Junction Watering Hole.

Jack walked inside and saw a middle aged man at the checkout, a strung out young couple, and Old Man Terry himself at the register. Jack grabbed some jerky, beans, spam, rice, and a fountain drink. He scoped out the joint and spotted saw an old camera in the corner of the store. It looked like the old cctv type, you can’t see any details on those things. The only other “surveillance” device he had was one of those big dome shaped mirrors in the other corner. Jack instinctively brushed his elbow against his left side, checking if his Colt .45 was still under his denim jacket.
The young couple waited until the other guy left. They both glanced in Jack’s direction to see if he was done, which he wasn’t. They made the move to go up. Jack finished and followed.
Jack glanced and saw the handle of a snub .38 tucked in the waistline back of Buzz-cut's camo shorts, just peeking past the dingy wife-beater.
“Anything else for you folks?” Old man Terry asked.
“Pack of unfiltered 100s,” Buzz-cut said. His purple dyed girlfriend kept looking around, avoiding Jack’s eyes but trying to ascertain his profession. Jack mused at her paranoid side-glance.
Ol’ Terry rung it up and Buzz-cut handed him a crumpled twenty. Right then Jack choked back a strong inclination to grimace. Terry’s no slouch, and he—
“Got something else?” Terry pushed the twenty back after looking at it through the light. Jack mentally shook his head. Called it.
“Whadya mean?” Buzz-cut asked.
“The twenty- it’s fake. I need real tender.”
The girl piped up, “It’s real, asswipe.”
“Hey now, you can talk nice and pay me or you can get out of my store.”
“Call the cops then!” She said after she smiled at her beau. He snickered.
“Okay, I will.” Ol’ Terry picked up the phone and immediately the kids started stammering.
“I don’t want the cops to come. Come on Jeanine, let’s blow this joint.”
Jack was with Buzz-cut on that one. He’d pay for their damn stuff just to avoid that, but he realized that would bring unwanted attention to himself. Stay anonymous, stay quiet.
Jeanine began to shake with indecision, and Ol’ Terry gestured to Jack.
“Look, lemme check this gentleman out first, then we’ll figure it out.”

Jack put his items on the counter and ol’ Terry kept his attention on the kids as they paced back and forth, arguing what to do next. Jack glanced down and saw the very corner of a shotgun butt behind the counter.
 “Need gas?” He asked Jack, but kept his eyes on the delinquents.
“No thanks.”
“Alright.” It came to eight dollars.
Jack pulled out a one-dollar bill and handed it to Ol’ Terry, who was intensely watching the kids, rang it out and gave him change for a ten.
Jack piped up, “Sorry, I gave you a twenty.”
Ol’ Terry looked at Jack in surprise and quickly pulled out change for a twenty.
“Sorry about that, sir. You have a good day.”

Jack smiled a nod, and resisted the urge to run out. He fired up the old GTO, and took off. Just as he got to the onramp, he heard gunshots. Indifferent, he casually pulled out onto the highway.

“Guess I’ll get twelve dollars worth of gas in the next town.” He muttered as he looked at his gauge.

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