Kevin White walked along the edge of the highway leading out of Rockland Springs. The sun was already in the lower half of the sky and he hoped someone would take pity on him soon and offer him a lift.
When he was younger, his father had told him that growing up was a matter of making bad decisions and learning from them. If that was the case, he told himself, then he'd certainly grown up a lot in the last twelve hours.
Otherwise, the decision to use his bus ticket to back what he thought was a winning hand in the all night poker game he'd got into was all for nothing. What were the odds of anyone beating a straight flush he had asked himself at the time. Now he could answer that question as pretty good since he was now walking instead of riding.
The twenty-year old college student had come down to Rockland Springs to try his skills at one of the legendary poker games he had heard about. Too late he learned that cleaning out fellow students was a lot different than winning against men who treated cards as if they were holy relics.
He could call his father and ask him to wire him enough for a new ticket, but the never-ending lecture about a fool and his money was something he could do without right now. If he didn't have a ride soon though, he promised himself, his father's sermon might be something he'd have to put up with.
Glancing back over his shoulder, as he did every few minutes, Kevin saw another eighteen-wheeler coming over the horizon. The last two truckers going in his direction had simply passed him by, so he didn't hold much hope for this one to be more understanding. The problem was that, aside from the trucks, there had been no other traffic in sight for the last hour. There was a gas station about two miles ahead where the Greyhound bus had stopped on the way here yesterday, he remembered. If he hadn't gotten a ride by then, he'd decided, he would swallow his pride and call home.
As a matter of form, he held up the cardboard sign he had made using a magic marker with the name of the college town some hundred and ninety miles down the road. To his surprise, the large transport slowed to a stop.
The truck seemed pretty old as compared to some of the other rigs he'd seen. Doubtlessly, it had seen better days.
The door opened and a high-pitched voice called from the cab, "Hurry up kid, I ain't got all day."
Kevin climbed the small ladder built into the side of the truck and swung into the cab, pulling the door closed behind him. As soon as he did, the truck lurched forward and the driver swung it back on the road.
"Thanks for picking me up," Kevin said as he pulled the seat belt across his lap and locked it down.
"No problem," the driver said, turning to face Kevin for the first time.
It was only then that the college student realized that the driver was a heavyset woman. She looked to be in her mid-fifties with short-cropped, brown hair, filled with gray and white highlights. Wearing a baseball cap along with black jeans and a short sleeved denim shirt, she could easily be mistaken for a man, at least from a distance. Close up, there was no mistaking the large breasts that filled that shirt.
"So what's your story kid?" she asked.
"Someone had a royal flush when mine was only a straight," Kevin said.
"Can't say I haven't been there and done that," she laughed as she gave him a longer once over.
"Are you going anywhere near Bridgeport?" he asked, giving the name of the town his school was located next to.
"You go to Mount Royal?" she asked instead.
"Yes I do," he replied, surprised she knew the school's name since it was rather small and not that well known.
"My sister's son went there some years back," she explained, "pretty nice school. I have to drop off this load at Rockville which is about an hour and a half away from there, but I don't have a problem dropping you off there after that since I have to pass it anyway. If time is a problem, I could let you off at one of the truck stops along the way and maybe you could get a faster ride."
"No, that would be fine," Kevin said, thinking he shouldn't knock the first good luck he'd had this weekend. "My name's Kevin by the way."
"Nice to meet you, kid," she replied. "I'm Alice."
The miles went by quickly for the next hour as the sun dropped lower and lower behind them. As she drove, Alice started to entertain him with tales of her life on the road. Stories that turned out to be quite interesting.
Alice had first started driving four years before Kevin had been born. Originally she had been part of a husband and wife team, her husband being Iron Mike Murphy, who spent the better part of fifty years behind the wheel before he'd died ten years ago. Taking over the family business so to speak, she'd never remarried but made oblique reference to several men she knew across the southwest.
Kevin in turn told her of his life at school, although his stories weren't as interesting. He talked about school and how he had only one more year to go and then he'd have his degree.
"Got a girlfriend?" Alice asked.
"No," Kevin replied.
"You queer?" she asked further.
"No!" he said emphatically.
"Not that it would bother me if you were," Alice said. "I know a lot of men on the road who take what pleasures they can, where they can."
That thought sent a shiver up Kevin's back. It never occurred to him that he could've wound up in the middle of some desolate road with an amorous trucker who outweighed him by a hundred pounds.
"I can tell what you're thinking," Alice laughed, "but believe me, having to worry that some burly guy who gave you a lift might be looking for a little head in return for your ride could be the least of your problems out here. There are a lot worse kinds of people riding these roads. That's why my late Mister always insisted I have this handy."
Kevin turned to see a silver-blue revolver in the woman's left hand. Where she had produced it from so easily, he had no idea Just the sight of it made the young man nervous.
"Relax kid," Alice said as she made the gun disappear just as easily, "I've already decided that you're okay."
Alice went right into another story about her days as an honest to goodness flower child back in the 1960's. She rode cross-country with six others from her parent's home in Connecticut to a commune in San Francisco where she lived a semi-nomadic existence for the next few years. It was there that she met Iron Mike one day when the group's Volkswagen bus broke down. The trucker had offered to give one of them a lift to the nearest phone so they could call for a tow truck.
Despite his being at least two decades older than the twenty-five year old, Iron Mike was the most impressive man Alice had ever seen. Before anyone else could volunteer, she'd jumped into the cab of his rig and into his life. When she called for the tow truck to help her friends, she told the mechanic to tell them that she wouldn't be coming back. She'd slept with Iron Mike that night and every night after that until the day he died.
"Don't you get lonely out here all by yourself?" Kevin asked.
"Sometimes," she admitted, "but I guess I'm pretty used to it by now. A few times after my husband died I took on partners to help with the driving, but all of them seemed to miss the point that this was my business and that I wasn't looking for someone to run it for me."
Kevin's impression of the older woman had certainly changed since he'd first climbed aboard her rig. At first he though she was pretty old, especially since she sort of reminded him of one of his aunts. Then, as he got to know her a little, she exhibited a much more youthful personality which changed his thinking.
"You hungry?" Alice asked after they had been traveling for a while.
"Not really," he lied badly, knowing his last meal had been the night before at the game.
"I didn't ask if you could afford dinner," Alice said, seeing right through his lie. "Like I said before, I've been there myself. Springing for a burger and fries is hardly going to break me."
"Yeah, I'm a little hungry," Kevin admitted.
"Well so am I," Alice smiled. "There's a diner a few miles up the road run by a friend of mine. The food is really great, you'll love it."
From the outside, the diner the old neon sign identified as Belle's didn't seem to back up Alice's claim. As they pulled into the parking lot, Kevin saw a long line of trucks that said that either the food was indeed pretty good, or it was the only place to eat in a hundred miles.
After they had been served, steak and hash browns instead of the burger Alice had mentioned, Kevin had to admit it was the former that was indeed true. He couldn't remember the last time he had a steak this good. Hungry as he was, he left a nearly bare plate.
"It's nice to see a man with a healthy appetite," Alice said as she watched Kevin eat. "My Mike would put away two of Belle's specials and still want a large slice of apple pie."
"I don't think I could handle another one of these," Kevin said as he put his fork down next to an small unfinished piece of steak, "but apple pie sounds great."
"Apple pie it is then," Alice said as she began to rise from her seat.
"But only if you let me reimburse you when we get to Bridgeport," he added.
"We'll worry about that when we get there," Alice smiled as she pulled her thermos out of her bag. "I'm going to get this filled up and I'll send the girl back with the pie."
Kevin went back to his soda while Alice walked over to the counter. There she was met by a blond-haired woman her age with a nametag that identified her as the owner of the restaurant.
"Could you have them fill this for me, Belle," Alice said as she placed the thermos on the counter, "and have one of the girls bring my friend back there a slice of your apple pie."
"Sure thing honey," Belle said as she handed the thermos off to one of the waitresses, telling her to take care of the pie as well.
"I'd ask how you were doing," Belle said as she leaned over the counter, "but looking at your friend over there I'd say you were doing pretty well."
"It's not like that," Alice said to her old friend. "He's just some college kid that I'm giving a lift to. He lost his shirt playing poker with the big boys over in Rockland Springs and I felt sorry for him."
"Well I'll tell you what, if you don't want him, I'd be glad to take him, even if he is a little skinny." Belle grinned. "It's been a long time since I had someone that young and cute ring my bells."
"You're terrible," Alice said as the waitress returned with her now full thermos.
"No, I'm just horny," Belle laughed.
"Aren't we all," Alice replied as she picked up the thermos. "Thanks for the coffee, I'll catch you on the flip side."
"My offer still stands," Belle called after her as Alice headed back to the table, giving the owner a wave goodbye over her shoulder.
"We'd better make that pie to go," she said to Kevin, "it's still a long way to Rockville."
"No problem," Kevin said as he picked up the pie and wrapped it in a napkin.
As they exited the restaurant, Kevin couldn't help but notice the funny look the blond-haired woman gave him as he walked by her. Especially when she told him that if he liked the apple, he should come back and try one of her other pies.
"What time do you think we'll get into Rockville?" Kevin asked some time later as he looked out onto the now dark road.
"Well, if we don't hit any problems, I would say we should get there about..." Alice started to say but was interrupted by her CB radio.
"Breaker, breaker," a male voice said through the low static, "this is Big Benny with a 10-17 for anyone heading for the big slab east of Rocky Ridge?"
Alice picked up her microphone and motioned for Kevin to be quiet for a moment.
"This is Flower Child," she said. "Come back Big Benny?"
"Hey baby doll, long time no hear," Big Benny replied.
"What's up?" she asked.
"A double reefer blew by me with the hammer down in the fifty-dollar lane and did a flip-flop across the boulevard at marker two-three, just past the cash register," he said. "The only wheels moving up here are the Smokies and the band aid wrappers."
"That's a big ten-roger," Alice replied as she keyed in the mike. "You take care now."
"I'll be fine just as soon as I can make a coke stop," he laughed, "I had way too much black water back at the panty hose junction."
"Flower Child is clear," Alice said with a laugh as she replaced the microphone on the dashboard.
"What was that all about?" Kevin asked, thinking that the other trucker might as well have been speaking a foreign language.
"What it's about is that we can forget about making Rockville tonight." Alice said.
Kevin looked at her with a confused look on his face.
"There's a major accident on the Interstate," she explained.
"What do we do now?" Kevin asked.
"Well we have two choices," Alice offered. "We can keep going and spend God knows how long waiting for them to clear the road, or we can find a place to bunker down for the night and start out again in the morning. Personally, I'd rather get a decent night's sleep."
Kevin just nodded his head in agreement and went back to watching the road ahead. Alice had been doing this a very long time, so he figued she must know what she was doing.
Ten minutes later, Alice pulled the rig off the road and into a small field that was hidden from the road by a grove of tall trees. Kevin was confused when she shut off the engine as there wasn't a motel anywhere in sight.
"Is something wrong?" he asked.
"I thought we were going to stop for the night," he added.
"And so we are," Alice replied.
"But aren't we going to a motel or something, one of those truck stop things you told me about?" he asked.
"Kid, you have a lot to learn about trucking," Alice grinned. "Sometimes you just have to rough it."
"We're going to sleep out there?" he now asked as he looked out the window, remembering how much he hated camping out when he was younger.
"Nah, as romantic as that sounds, it's bad for my bones," she now laughed. "There's a mattress in the back of the cab where we can sack out. Me and Iron Mike had no problem fitting back there so a little thing like you shouldn't have any problem at all."
"Okay," Kevin said, relieved that he wasn't going to be spending the night out in the woods with an assortment of animals and bugs.
"I would suggest, however, you take a little walk outside to take care of nature's call before you turn in," Alice said as she reached behind her seat and pulled out a roll of toilet paper, tossing it to her passenger. "Here, you'll need this."
It was a very nervous Kevin that found a nearby bush and dropped his pants to take care of business. The quiet drone of nearby insects caused him to constantly look to his right and left in search of anything larger than might be out there as well. He finished what he had to do and raced back to the truck.
Alice had watched him from next to the truck as she cleared space in the back of the cab and rolled out the mattress and blankets. It took some will power not to laugh as he ran all the way back.
"Hop on up," she said as she took the roll of paper from him. "I'll be right back."
Kevin couldn't help but notice that she took her time walking both out there and back. It made him feel a little silly to have been afraid.
The space in the back of the cab proved to be a lot smaller than Alice had described, but then again, when she shared it with her husband, they might've liked it a little snug. Luckily, Kevin was definitely not as big as Iron Mike so he was able to put a little space between the two of them.
They had both rid themselves of shoes and socks in order to be more comfortable. That had been enough for Kevin to relax but Alice seemed to need more and pulled off her jeans as well, leaving her shirt hanging down like a nightshirt. A cloak of modesty was also added as the dim glow of the battery powered cab lights faded when Alice turned them off.
After the long day he'd had, Kevin had no problem falling asleep despite the conditions. Alice followed him a short time later, more used to sleeping on the road.
The hours passed quickly as they slept until he abruptly awoke sometime around four in the morning. Opening his eyes, he was stunned to discover that sometime during the night, they had closed the distance between them and he was now pressed tight against Alice, his arm draped over her, now resting across her breast. She had shifted in her sleep as well, trapping his arm where it had rolled.
Kevin's position wouldn't have been that much of a problem, seeing as it was the result of somnambulistic movements. What was a problem was the reason he had suddenly awakened. He had been having an erotic dream and was now faced with a raging hard-on. An erection that was pressed tightly between the cheeks of the truck driver's ass.
"Please go down," he silently prayed as he tried to think of the most non-erotic images he could. His second prayer was that Alice wasn't a light sleeper. It was his bad luck that neither prayer was going to be heard.
"I hope that isn't my ass that you're trying to put that thing in, kid," Alice said as she began to roll over, "cause I don't play that way."
"I was having a dream and I..."
"Anyone I know?" Alice smiled, having now turned all the way around.
Kevin tried to remember the dream but he could only remember the vaguest parts of it. It occurred to him that it very well could've been about Alice. He had never had fantasies about an older woman before, but then he had never really looked at one as a friend before either.
"I see us as having two possibilities," Alice went on, not waiting for an answer for her question. "You can go take a walk outside and take care of your little, or should I say big problem. Or, we still have a few fours before daylight, and we're both up so..."