“Well, for the next couple of hours I’m sure some part of it is worth having” she said with a sparkle in her eye.
“I may try to finish all three of those bottles and roll out of here in worse shape than your friend Billy. You’re pretty confident about something which may not be functional” I responded with a hint of a smile on my lips.
“I’m pretty sure the first one is already in these cups” she said taking a large gulp. “As for the other two, they will leave with me. If you want them you will have to follow them” came her next chess move. I was well aware that we were playing her game now. You generally don’t get to her situation in life without knowing how to work a guy in a bar that has had a few. I was a long way from buzzed, despite what those field sobriety tests would say, but I had consumed enough to be more social.
I was lucid enough to not volunteer we got the last room at the hotel which, thankfully, had two beds. Honestly, I have no idea how Henry found that particular hotel. I never saw him searching the Internet. Unless he had been here before with another team, Henry has been shuffled around a lot, I really don’t know. Not knowing bothered me more than the hotel. The possibility of walking into that room and learning those stories about Henry weren’t just rumor . . . Well, let’s just say Melony’s offer was starting to sound like the lesser of two evils.
To be certain I had valid credit cards with my current identity. They matched the name on the driver’s license. I could easily check into a better hotel. Better hotels had security cameras though. I didn’t have a hat with me and I didn’t know what the next assignment was going to be. Since we had dropped the truck in this town and were basically barefoot until our next assignment I had to try for a very low profile.
The locals were egging on the happily married group and Billy was somehow on his feet between them. Don’t get the wrong impression there. He was like a reed in water bobbing and weaving just trying to work his way through the shoving and hollering.
“Ah, wedded bliss” I accidentally said out loud.
“For them it’s foreplay” commented Melony. “They have a fight in here and go home for makeup sex.”
“Sad women always seem to need a reason to have sex. Guys just need a place and a moment” I volunteered. Okay, now I know switching from the tap beer to wine was getting to me.
“Too many of you only need a moment, that’s why women need a reason” Melony responded to what she perceived as a challenge. Maybe it was? I certainly hadn’t meant it as one. “How did you get hear?” she asked.
“I walked from the hotel.”
“No, I meant how did you end up here? You came from somewhere else” she clarified.
“Is it back at the hotel or here in the parking lot?” she queried.
“Ah, so you are broke down, I was right.”
Now she really did have a confused look on her face. She kept looking at me expecting me to explain and I just looked at her. She used the excuse of taking another drink to break eye contact then looked at me more thoughtfully. I watched her for a bit with a growing smirk.
“You don’t have to lie about it” she said irritated. “It’s a simple question which can’t be a national secret.”
“I’m not lying. I came in a truck and no longer have the truck.”
“You drove your truck here to sell it?” she asked.
“Wasn’t my truck to sell.”
“Oh, a car chaser. Someone who transfers vehicles between dealerships.”
“Nope.” Now she was more perturbed than curious.
“You don’t have to be an ass about it, just tell me!” Melony’s exasperation was starting to show. This was almost fun.
“You’re a smart girl, you will figure it out. You figured out my companion quick enough.”
“That was just observing. You kept sweeping the bar with your eyes but lingered a bit in his direction. Besides, both of you have shirts with sleeves” she offered.
“Well, there is a completely ordinary reasons someone could come here in a truck and no longer have the truck without being a car chaser or having any kind of accident or breakdown. You are just assuming something which is incorrect. Assumptions get people killed” I informed her.
“What am I assuming? That you are just messing with me?”
“No. You are making an assumption about the truck.” Now her perplexed look was back.
“It’s a truck. Nearly everyone in here came in a truck.”
“While your second statement is most likely true” I responded, “your first statement is where the assumption was made. It wasn’t that kind of truck.” She thought for a second then I could almost hear the rusty wheels grinding on shafts not meant to be turned in her head.
“You don’t look like a truck driver” she said hesitantly. “They usually look like everyone in here.”
“It’s not my occupation, but I have a license and am more than capable of driving one.”
“What is your occupation then?”
“Not a topic for conversation” I said a little too quickly and without any warmth.
“Oh come on, you start out the evening playing man of mystery only to tell me you arrived in a big rig? You really had me going there, I must admit. I would have never pegged you for a truck driver. Known too many of them.”
I sighed. I could tell by the look in her eye she thought it was a sigh of defeat because now I was not “a step up” as she called it, but more the same. After a pause I said, “I’m not a truck driver, but I can drive a truck. Yes, I drove one down here. When you need to travel a long ways without attracting much attention it’s a good way to travel. There is a sleeper, fridge, and most truck stops have shower rooms you can rent for under $20 without leaving much of a paper trail. For now I’m as far as I was told to go. As to what is going to happen with the truck, I neither know nor care. Eventually I will get a message and go somewhere else via some other means.”
She gave me a look which said she still thought it was bullshit.
“Well, it was nice meeting you. Time for me to wander off. I certainly won’t say anymore here” I stated then finished my drink. I got up and started walking out when Mike said “Mate, you forgot your money” holding it up so I could see. I was pretty certain Melony could see the fifty on the bottom. I had no idea how much was left and didn’t care. Too many risks were taken tonight for a low profile evening. “Nah, it’s yours I answered and walked out the door.”