500 words based on a sentence (in italics) selected by Dive. Click here for more info.
Twin beds sullenly welcomed us at the motel just off the interstate, flat, spent pillows barely raising a bump under the stained quilted bedspreads. The sun had long ago sunk below the horizon, yet the Texas heat was as choking as ever, the relentless, disheartening, will-crushing heat of an August drought. The beige Saturn’s fickle electrical system continued its slow, lingering death that afternoon, taking with it the air conditioner and the controls for the power windows, which were now stuck at useless heights, neither containing the tepid air burping from the vents on the dash, nor letting any outside air circulate.
Traffic had slammed to a halt about 30 minutes north of Houston when a cattle carrier overturned, spilling disoriented livestock onto I-45. Local police stopped traffic in both directions while Texas Rangers on horseback worked with local volunteers to round up the frightened cows. The 250 miles between us and home in North Dallas stretched temptingly northward, but with no way to get there, Lo and I sat in the car most of the day with the sun pounding down on the roof, from the limitless, empty Texas sky. The motel room was little better as I slid between the graying, frayed sheets, trying to find a cool spot on my pillow and wondering why the room had no ceiling fan.
“Lu? Can I have a water?”
Three bottles lay on their sides, half submerged in the cloudy, lukewarm mystery liquid at the bottom of the cooler, floating among the remains of popsicles, candy bars and lipsticks.
“Sure Lo, but we’ll have to get some more tomorrow, and ice this thing up again before we leave. I’ve never seen anyone drink so much water.”
“Gotta stay hydrated. Oprah says how many liters a day? Got any straws?”
“Just drink it from the bottle”
“Like you’re worried about make-up now? We’re going to sleep, just drink it from the damned bottle.”
“I’m sorry Lu”.
“You know what today’s like, Lu? Thelma and Louise. This is our big road trip. We’re just like them.”
“Lo, you know how that movie ended, don’t you?”
“Yeah, but maybe I can still have a thing with Brad Pitt? Might be worth it.”
“Go to sleep Lo”
“Night, Lu…Lu, can we find a waffle house for breakfast tomorrow? And when we get the water, we need straws too. Oprah always says to use a straw. Her guests always have straws, too.”
“Go to sleep Lo.”
And again next day a thinly populated sky, losing its blue to the heat, would melt overhead, and Lo would clamour for a drink, and her cheeks would hollow vigorously over the straw, and the car inside would be a furnace when we got in again, and the road shimmered ahead, with a remote car changing its shape mirage-like in the surface glare, and seeming to hang for a moment, old-fashionedly square and high, in the hot haze.
copyright (c) 2009 Lulubelle B