The F-150 was an extended cab with four doors. Meaning that Don and Gene were able to put their bags in the rear seats rather than the bed of the truck. Then they climbed into the cab itself. Before Don did anything else, he gave the cab a good once over.

He inspected the steering column and located the turn signals, the controls for the wipers, and the cruise control. He gave the armrest on the door a look and located the controls for the side mirrors. He looked over the dashboard and found the various knobs and dials for the heater, air conditioner, stereo, and hazard lights.

“We ready?” Gene asked. “It’s getting a little cold.”

Don didn’t reply. Instead he moved the seat back slightly, put the key in the ignition, and started up the engine. It roared into life with a power that made Don smile.

Gene only sighed then began his own inspection, but of the stereo.

“Well, we have one thing going for us,” said Gene who smiled as he turned to retrieve his bag.

“What’s that?” Don adjusted the mirrors.

“The car stereo—” He paused, a look of deep thought carved onto his face as he sat forward once more, bag in hand. “Truck stereo?” He turned to look at Don and cocked his head to the side.

Now it was Don’s turn to sigh as he frowned at his friend.

“Anyway,” Gene continued as he rummaged in his bag. “The stereo comes equipped with an auxiliary input.” He pulled his iPod from the bag and threw a big smile at Don. “Nerd jams, anyone?”

The two rules that Don and Gene had agreed upon when planning this trip was that Don would always drive, but Gene got to provide the tunes.

Plugging in the iPod, Gene set it for shuffle and soon the thumping bass of an Adam WarRock song filled the cab. Gene frowned. Apparently he didn’t like what he heard because soon he was fiddling with the stereo controls until he nodded in satisfaction.

Don had never heard of Adam WarRock before this trip, but that’s all that Gene seemed to listen to. Adam WarRock and other rappers such as Mikal kHill, Beefy, and MC Frontalot. Plus a rock band called Kirby Krackle. The two things they all had in common was that they were all indie, and they all wrote songs about comic books, video games, and what Gene referred to as Geek Culture.

The songs were catchy, Don couldn’t argue there. They weren’t want he would fill his playlists with, but he enjoyed them all the same.

“You got the directions?” Don called out over the vibrating bass.

Gene pulled out his phone. He tapped and swiped at the screen for a moment.

“We don’t need directions, old chum,” Gene said. “How many times do I need to tell you? We have this thing nowadays called GPS.”

“Which gives you directions,” said Don.

“Okay, yeah,” Gene said. “I suppose it does.”

Gene then returned to the messenger bag for a moment and pulled out the cradle for the phone and, using the attached pair of suction cups, affixed it to the windshield so that Don could see the screen.

“I’ve programed it to take us right to the hotel,” said Gene.

“Okay then,” said Don. “Off we go.”

But they didn’t move right away. Instead, Don cracked his window and pulled a cigarette from a pack in the pocket of his jacket.

“You can’t smoke,” Gene said, his voice rising an octave. “They gave us a non-smoking vehicle!”

“You worry too much.” Don laughed and lit up.

Now that they were out of the plane and on land, their roles had reversed.

So, as Adam WarRock refused to watch an episode of Doctor Who, Don slipped the truck into reverse, backed slowly out of the parking space, slid the lever into drive, and roared out of the lot.

To be continued . . .

I'm going off book again here by posting on a Monday. But I have a couple of good reasons.

1: I won't be around much next week so I may or may not post anything.

2: Chapter 4 is the longest chapter so far, and I'd rather not stretch it out over the next two to three weeks. So I'm going to post it each day this week.


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