“Be careful,” Cheryl whispered, “I think Karma is right around the corner.”
“Oh yeah?” Bill challenged Cheryl, “Who the hell is Karma and what’s she gonna do if I mess up, huh? Nuthin’, that’s what, nuthin’. Besides, I don’t see no one. Yur’ crazy as a pecker in a …”
Cheryl interrupted Bill’s rambling, “SHHhhh! I think someone’s comin’.”
No one was coming, at least, no one human; the sound Cheryl heard was just one of the many indigenous nocturnal animals scampering by on their nightly hunt. Bill’s tampering made little noise to disturb anyone other than the animals of the night. The home next door was a little more than an acre away and with the wind blowing in the opposite direction, Bill did not worry about minimal sound disturbances, besides, he cased the neighborhood and knew it was canine-free.
With a loud bang, the trailer hitch was secured to Bill’s pickup truck, “Herry up! Git in and let’s git outta here!” he whispered loudly to Cheryl and off they sped.
They got away with it. Bill and Cheryl broke into the propane storage yard and stole an eighteen-foot flatbed trailer. With an unsuspecting buyer already lined up, they were home free, and planning how to spend the money as they passed the four-hour-drive into Arkansas.
Parking at an all-night truck stop, Bill and Cheryl drank stale coffee and donuts inside the restaurant until Ted, their buyer, showed up. Ted had answered Bill’s ad in the local paper two days ago when Bill explained that the trailer was at his brother’s house and he would have to pick up the trailer and meet Ted somewhere halfway between their locations. Ted found no problem with Bill’s explanation and found the truck stop convenient. There was no paperwork to be transferred since Oklahoma, where Bill’s “brother” lived does not license trailers.
After inspecting the trailer in the early morning sunlight, Ted opened his wallet and gave Bill the money. Bill helped Ted hook up the trailer and everyone drove away happy.
Several years later, Bill and Cheryl, packed up their meager belongings and headed off to start a new life in Tennessee. They chose to start their trip pre-dawn, thinking this would give them a head start before the highways became congested with work-traffic.
Four hours into their drive, they approached the small town of Benton, Arkansas where they planned to grab a bite to eat at a cute little diner before continuing their journey through the outskirts of Little Rock and onto I-40. Bill’s double-bacon avocado burger dripped greasy juices and sloppy bits of lettuce and tomato on the map he was reviewing. Cheryl complained that if he were not careful, they would get lost and Bill waived his hand to silence her protest. They finished their meal in silence.
All the time they thought they saved by leaving Tishomingo early was soon to be lost as they left the outskirts of Little Rock heading for I-40. Road construction created a massive backup and Bill had trouble merging onto the highway.
“Change the station,” Bill demanded of Cheryl, “we gotta find out what’s goin’ on here.” Cheryl switched channels until coming upon one which was giving an update on local news and mentioned the traffic jam caused by construction on I-40. The radio announcer gave suggestions to avoid I-40 and proposed alternate routes.
“What’r we gonna do Bill? We gonna git off on the next exit?”
“And then what Cheryl? Backtrack to where we jest come from? Hell no, we’ll jest sit like ever’one else, it cain’t be more than a few miles of this mess.”
Bill was right, an hour and a half later, they were through the congestion and would make up for lost time as he weaved through traffic for the next three hours. Finally, they began seeing billboards for restaurants and hotels in Germantown. How happy they were, knowing they were only moments away from their new home.
“I’m gonna call the landlord and let her know that we’re headin’ into town, alright?”
“What time is it?”
“It’s nearly two o’clock, why?” Cheryl wondered what Bill’s concern might be with the time.
“Nuthin’, just wondering what kinda time I made, that’s all. Hey, before you call him, reach behind the seat and grab me another pack of cigarettes.”
Cheryl released her seatbelt, twisted her body and crawled partially over the front seat to reach the back seat of the king cab. Clothes and food were thrown in that area haphazardly, making it difficult to find anything.
“Where are they?” She asked Bill.
“How the hell should I know? They’re back there somewhere, just move stuff around.”
“Got ‘em!” Cheryl declared as she quickly twisted back into the front seat, knocking Bill’s arm from the steering wheel, causing the vehicle to swerve into the left lane. Bill over-corrected as he pulled the wheel toward the right, throwing Cheryl forward into the windshield when suddenly, another pickup truck hauling a load of bricks and lumber plowed into the passenger side of Bill’s truck. Screeching brakes, smoking tires and the horrible sound of breaking glass filled the air before the vehicles finally came to a rest.
An eerie silence followed the accident until a nosey crow landed on the trailer to search for anything edible. The driver of the pickup which was hauling the brick and lumber trailer crawled out of his cab and made his way over to Bill’s truck as he dialed 9-1-1.
“9-1-1, what is your emergency?”
“This is Jim Clancy with Karma landscaping. I need to report an accident, we’re off of Poplar and S. Germantown Rd.”
Jim continued relaying information to the 9-1-1 operator as he surveyed the damage. Bill and Cheryl appeared to be lifeless. Jim’s pickup truck was damaged and the load of brick and lumber were spilled on the highway, but the trailer which carried the name, “Karma” seemed only to have minor dents and scratches.
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More thoughts on Daily Prompt: Karma Chameleon