Directions, Part 1

November. The second Tuesday.

Rune heard the crunch of tire on gravel a second before the car fender passed on his left, too soon for him to react, which, given his spastic energy and his tendency to turn in the direction of outside stimuli, was probably the main reason why the car missed hitting him. The passenger window was rolled down, and a middle-aged man wearing an orange and green hunting cap had stuck his head out into the cold late fall evening air and begun addressing Rune before the greasy-haired teen had fully realized what was happening.

“You know where the Sunoco is?” The man looked impatient, annoyed, and Rune decided it wasn’t time to indulge in a joke (Sure I do, then wait for the follow-up question). He pointed out beyond the left of the car.

“Go past this light, then take the left at the second. That’ll be North Street — Sunoco’s about a quarter mile up.”

The man’s demeanor softened. “Thanks, bud.” The man pulled his head into the car, began rolling up his window as  Rune remained standing, waiting for the car to leave before resuming his walk down the road.

The window stopped half-way. Rune watched, saw the window roll back down. The man’s head came back out again, this time grinning, the action looking to Rune like a jack-in-the-box.

“Hop in, bud, we’ll give you a ride.”


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