Fiction Fragment Friday
I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to post something today, but as long as it is before midnight it counts as Friday. This has been a long week and it is difficult for me to be creative when I’m tired. Over the course of the last two days I have spent about 14 hours in the car driving. Before that I had a severe allergic reaction after doing hard work that required some strong medications because my eye had swollen almost completely shut. There is far more for this week but the point is that I am tired and struggled when I finally sat down to actually start writing.
It is weeks like this that are why I do the Fiction Fragment Fridays. When things aren’t going well it is so easy to just say that I will skip it this week. Then one week becomes two, then three, and before long I haven’t written in a year. I do these and push myself so I don’t let that happen. I hold myself to write something every single week and release it. Some of them I think have been really good, but some of them are not. These weekly releases are not about putting my best stuff out there, they are about just sitting down and writing. Just to keep moving forward.
There are two kinds of people in the world. There are the kind that can see a sign on the side of the road that says, “World Largest” and just keep driving. Then there are people like me. For as long as I can remember I have always been fascinated by roadside attractions. These random things that exist because someone decided that they had a calling to create something unique. Maybe the attraction is just a freak act of chance, but someone decided that it was worth telling everyone about. Sure, these things don’t have an impact on the world, but to somebody they meant something. People that take care of these attractions are some of the most interesting people you will ever meet. Most people though are just focused on their destination and miss out on these opportunities.
I was driving home from a business trip late one night when one of these signs stood out to me. “Wild Bob’s Truck Stop and UFO museum.” Now I would say that these things don’t normally go together but I have heard quite a few stories from truck drivers about seeing strange things late at night. Personally, I had always just assumed it was a combination of long boring stretches of road and lack of sleep. Since I was starting to feel a little tired myself, I figured that it would be a good time to get off the road and stretch my legs a bit. Usually, I just stop and grab a fountain drink, but I figured even if the museum was closed there might be some interesting things to look at in the truck stop to help wake me up.
I was actually kind of excited when I got off the highway. I had traveled this road before, but somehow had missed the attraction. As I pulled in, I really started to wonder how that was possible. The parking lot was bright, and I could see it long before the exits. Bright neon lights showed a UFO lifting a cow up with some sort of beam. There were five cow lights that lit up in order to make it look like it was raising and getting smaller as it went into the flying saucer. I tried to get a picture of it on my phone, but pictures of lights never seem to turn out well. Maybe that’s why all the UFO pictures are so blurry I thought while laughing at my own joke. I glanced at the bars and realized that I had no signal way out here.
As I walked into the truck stop, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the museum was open 24 hours as well. You just had to buy a ticket from the cashier at the truck stop and you could walk through the museum. Since I needed to walk a bit anyway, I gladly paid my $10 admission price and stepped through the turn style. The museum was a handful of rooms with framed photos and newspaper articles hung on the wall. Display cases filled the floor with weird looking pieces of metal and strange looking skulls. The whole things was over the top cheesy and I was loving every minute of it. I was so entranced that I didn’t notice that I wasn’t alone in the room.
“So do you believe in all this stuff?”
I jumped and fumbled my soda almost dropping it. I’m pretty sure I let out a sound that was less than dignified. “You nearly gave me a heart attack.” I looked over the older man. His hair and bushy beard were a dark gray and despite looking like a man who probably spent a lot of time outdoors his skin was as pale as could be without being an albino. He wore denim overalls covering a dirty yellow shirt. “Guess I was too busy reading to notice you come in.”
“You didn’t answer my question. Do you believe in all this stuff?”
“Well as big as the universe is I think there is probably life out there.” I pointed to one of the tabloids framed on the wall. “I don’t think they would come here to abduct random farmers though.”
“You calling my brother a liar?” It was then that I realized the man in the picture did bare a resemblance to the rather large man in front of me. I started to stammer a bit, but he broke out laughing a deep and hearty laugh. “I’m just messing with you boy. My brother fell off the tractor a few too many times when we were growing up. If it ain’t aliens it’s the government, he thinks is after him.”
“You had me going for a minute there.”
“I’m Wild Bob and this is my collection. Truckers see things up in the sky all the time. It’s probably just planes, or stars but my daddy always told me not to let the truth get in the way of a good story. I’ve got quite a few stories to tell if you got some time. Get’s kinda lonely out here these days.”
I listened to his stories for about an hour before I told him I really needed to get going. As I got back on the highway, I looked in my rear-view mirror expecting to see the bright neon lights for a while, but instead just saw darkness. My phone started buzzing like crazy with new notifications. I had 25 missed calls and hundreds of missed text messages. Panicking I started listening to the messages afraid that something horrible had happened. Person after person was asking where I was, and they seemed to get more upset as the messages went on. I checked the time on my phone because it didn’t seem like I had been in there long enough for this many calls. That was when I noticed the date. According to my phone and the last crying message I had been missing for three months. A bright light caught my attention as it streaked through the sky and into the night.