Page 24 from the series Before the Pirates Came*
Miranda hadn’t finished digging out her car from last week’s storm, and now they were calling for the blizzard of the century! Miranda didn’t tell anyone she was leaving. Not her parents, her friends at school, and especially not the girls at work… although they suspected. No one even knew she was seeing Brian Parker Hall, so how could she explain leaving campus for a date that was 50 miles away?
Miranda wasn’t exactly an experienced driver even under the best conditions. (Luckily the little bit of damage she did to her car’s rear bumper escaped her dad’s notice.) Driving far away, in the dark, all alone, during a blizzard, was going to be dangerous. Even Miranda could see that. But in her mind, she had a vision of the perfect weekend, a perfect plan, and a future that fairy tales are made of. She hoped it would be more like Cinderella and not Little Red Riding Hood. Even if the roads were passable, she didn’t want to drive all that way and get eaten by the Big Bad Wolf.
From behind the wheel of Miranda’s 1974 VW Super Beetle, the situation already looked bleak. It was Friday night and traffic was heavy on Trowbridge Road. Sheets of freezing rain were already starting to ice up her windshield. According to the map, she would follow U.S. 27 to I-69 which she had easily done before. But once she got out on I-96 west to Providence, it was anybody’s guess what might happen.
Miranda turned on her CB radio, the one her dad gave her when he upgraded to a more powerful unit last spring. When her family went on vacation every summer, her dad (an economics professor at the university) tried his best to learn the trucker’s lingo, but never caught on. Miranda on the other hand, loved the buzz of the radio with all the fast talk and crazy characters that kept the banter going. As she merged onto 96 west, the snow was coming down hard and it was getting dark outside.
A row of semi trucks stayed in the right hand lane, spraying waves of heavy slush onto the windshields of cars trying to get by. Traffic was crawling at 45mph and starting to slow. It was cold inside the car. The VW Super Beetle was never known for putting out good heat, and turning up the defrost only made things worse. Except for a maze of brake lights ahead, Miranda couldn’t see a darn thing. Her fear of highway driving was catching up with her and she started to panic.
“You got the Bald Eagle, little lady. You’re comin’ in loud and clear… What’s your 20?”
“Um… I’m on I-96 westbound about five miles past the split. I’m trying to get around these stupid trucks, but these jerks won’t let me pass… and I can’t see a d&*$ thing… and I don’t know if– ”
“What kinda rig ya drivin’ there little lady… maybe I can give ya some pointers.”
“It’s a red VW Super Beetle with–”
Uh oh. Miranda was pretty sure she was talking to the same guy she just called a jerk. She was also pretty sure that he was in the cab of that big rig looking down at her.
“Okay, Lil’ Red… Little Red Riding Hood… that’s your handle now, so let’s pay attention.”
Bald Eagle and his brother, Pork Chop, told Lil’ Red to back off the hammer and wait for the two trucks to put some space in between ‘em. Bald Eagle pulled ahead, Pork Chop flashed his lights, and Miranda eased safely into the right lane between them. In trucker language they call it the “rocking chair”… a protected place between two semi’s, with trustworthy tail lights to guide her. She could see the road again and followed Bald Eagle all the way to Providence.
“We knew ya could do it, Lil’ Red. Now let’s talk about them two guys you was callin’ a jerk…
*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.