Flash Friday 09/10/2015: Trucker’s Luck
It was approximately one in the morning when Chad’s truck came to a smashing halt.
David jolted from his slumber in the passenger seat, his face white. “What was that, pa?”
“Might’ve been a deer.” Chad flicked the country music off, unbuckling the seatbelt. “Would be the third one this year.”
“A deer? You think she’ll be okay?”
“Absolutely not. Was doin’ some mighty fine miles back there.”
“So why are you taking the rifle?”
Chad loaded a bullet into his firearm. “‘Cause someone might need to put it out of its misery. Stay in the truck, son. Cover your ears and close your eyes when I says so, alright?”
Chad climbed out of the huge truck, stepping out into the cold night. The area around the country lane was pitch black. Chad looked out of the front of the truck, the headlights illuminating the scene. The radiator had been smashed in, liquid leaking out of the impact zone. Chad prepared himself for the worst; a new red paint job across the front of his truck and a smear across the asphalt. Both were surprisingly clean.
Chad looked down the road where the headlights shone, and saw it.
“Holy smokes,” Chad muttered. “That wasn’t a deer at all.”
“Dad?” David called out. “Everything alright?”
Chad began to slowly approach the surreal scene in front of him. The figure lying on its back was a male human. He was lying very still, his right arm up in the air, giving the sky a thumbs-up. Chad wanted to think it was a mannequin or a statue, but the man’s chest was rising and falling, his breath appearing as whispy clouds in the cold air. Just as Chad got close enough to inspect the damage, the man turned his head to look at him.
“Ah, hello,” the man said, his arm still in the air. “I’d like to go to your nearest city, please.”
Chad blinked. “Well, I’ll be. This is a gorram miracle.”
The man blinked. “How?”
“‘How’? Bud, you shoulda been a red stain on the road! Anyone else gets hit by a truck like that, they’ll be at the pearly gates before they can blink! You shouldn’t be alive, let alone talkin’.”
“Really? Humans are that fragile? Fascinating. You must live every day of your life in terrible fear, if something like that were able of killing you.”
Chad placed his hands on his hips. “The hell you yappin’ about?”
“Well, see, I’m on vacation on this planet, so I took the guise of one of your adult males. According to the human encyclopaedia I purchased on my PDA, it states that humans can secure travel via means of standing in the road with a thumb out and asking for transportation.”
“In the road? Bud, you gotta stand to the side of it.”
“Truly?” His thumb still in the air, the man used his other hand to press something on the side of his head. A holographic visor creeped across the man’s face, with hundreds of alien words written on it. He nodded to himself, turning the visor off again. “Well, I suppose you should never argue with natives. Now that we’ve made acquaintances, shall we get going?”
“Going? With Betty’s front all smashed in? I don’t think she’ll be moving until she gets fixed.”
The man picked himself off of the floor. “And how long can that take?”
“Given it’s so late and we’re stuck out here in the middle of nowhere…few hours, at least.”
“A few hours? You folks haven’t discovered teleportation yet?”
The man raised his eyebrows. “I’m starting to see what I’m dealing with. Let me have a look at the damage.”
Chad watched as the man started to observe the huge dent on Betty’s front. “You know, you still haven’t shown me what you really look like. Without that disguise.”
The man clicked his mouth. “You don’t want to.”
“Lots of eyes. Scaly skin. Some tentacles. I’ve heard stuff like that can really tarnish first impressions around these parts.”
“Where are you from?”
“Tarnalia. It’s, uh…” The man pointed vaguely into the night sky. “Around that area? Maybe.”
“Really?” Chad said, following the finger. He couldn’t see anything particularly of note. “Normally wouldn’t believe any of this bullhonkey, but given how you took a blow like that and survived, I’m just about ready to believe in anything–”
The truck’s engine roared into life.
Chad turned to see the alien projecting a green wall of light from his visor onto the damaged radiator. Within the green light, the metal of the truck had begun to twist and turn into its original position, as if remembering where it had been.
“The hell are you doing?” Chad said.
“Not really supposed to use technology like this on a vacation. Ruins all the fun. Sort of like going camping in Africa in a full-sized camper van. Given how I’ve gone and ruined your night because of my ineptitude, however, I thought it’d be the least I can do. Do trucks have portal generators?”
“Oh. Well, they do now.” The green wall vanished, leaving a perfectly repaired truck. “Should make longer trips more bearable, at any rate. You should find a panel on your dashboard — it has all the buttons you need to work it, perfectly self explanatory, even someone with your technological expertise should be able to–”
“Pa?” a voice called from the driver’s compartment. “What does the ‘Belgium’ button do?”
“David! Don’t go touchin’ nothin’, you hear–”
The truck flashed a brilliant white for a split second. There was a sound as if someone pulled the plug on space-time. The truck vanished with a burst, leaving behind nothing but a few particles of light floating in the air.
Chad dug into his pocket, drawing a mobile phone. “You, bud, are damn lucky I get cheap international calls with this data plan.”
The man smiled sheepishly. No wonder nobody took vacations here.