The officer standing in front of the log swiveled his body towards the van, his flashlight’s beam cutting an arc into the darkness then landing on the windshield. Jimmy lifted his left arm, frowned as light flooded the cabin. The beam lowered, found the license plate, then raised back up and approached the driver’s side of the van like a walking lighthouse.
Jimmy lowered his side window, a blast of frigid air invading the cabin. “Looks like we got a problem.”
“Fell about twenty minutes ago.” A communications device on the officer’s chest squawked a question, and the officer stopped, lowered his flashlight, spoke into his device, his face covered in darkness.
Rex pointed off to the left of the road. “We can try going around.”
“Pretty wet over there.” Rex nodded in response. “Summer time, I’d think about it. But winter, and with all the rain and snow we’ve been having.” Jimmy reached forward with his right hand, slapped the dashboard twice like it was the back of an old friend. “This here’s my livelyhood, son. I lose this van, can’t make no deliveries. I ain’t taking no chances.”
Rex pointed with his thumb behind him. “We could go back, take the county road.”
“Naaah.” Jimmy’s voice was contemptuous. “Way these crazy roads work in this town, that’d take an extra half hour. We about five minutes from your folks where we are — let’s find out from John Law when they’re fixing to move this damn tree.”
The sound of gravel crunching under shoes was immediately followed by the blinding re-appearance of the flashlight’s beam in the cabin. The beam focused a moment on Rex, who covered his eyes with his hands, then moved over to Jimmy. The officer’s footsteps stopped abruptly.