About the Author:
Shirley VanVliet, a trucker’s wife, enjoys writing short stories, articles and poetry. She is currently writing a novel. When her husband Mike is on the road driving for McKee Foods Corporation of Gentry, Ark., VanVliet turns to her 80- and 50-pound standard poodles for companionship and critiquing. Shirley and Mike live in Siloam Springs, Ark., and have two daughters.
I’ve always been a suspicious, distrustful kind of guy. One afternoon last March it almost cost me true love. But I like to think it also saved the world – or at least a chunk of it. You probably haven’t heard what happened, because the authorities asked us not to talk to the media.
It started at a truckstop – my last before New York City. I savored one final draw of black cherry tobacco, tapped the ashes from my pipe into a Folgers can and laid my cancer-causer on the dash of my burgundy Freightliner. I gathered my USA Today, ditty bag and my best clean shirt and jeans and stepped down to the parking lot. I wrapped my trench coat closer against the freezing drizzle. This was my last stop before New York. I’d try Holly again and get showered for later.
In the restaurant area, Rocco attacked a burger and fries. He’d jammed his ball cap backward over his thick black hair. He slung Spanish around the table so fast, I couldn’t tell if he spoke separate words or just one really long one. The other hombres in the booth laughed. I was glad Rocco had decided to drive. I got to see him almost every week. He’d been smiling and joking since grade school when we’d first hung out.
That’s when he’d nicknamed me Sherlock. Obviously, I didn’t have my pipe or mustache back then, but I loved mysteries and viewed life as a series of clues. I need a clue now, I thought, reaching the pay phones. I’d get clues all right, but not about Holly.
"There probably should be some minimum standards. But as long as the ...