Seeking inspiration, I grabbed my copy of THE WRITER’S BLOCK and randomly selected a page that contained the prompt: Invent a character who sees a phone number on a restroom wall. The following piece represents the outcome from that prompt, and this week’s blog post.
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by.
Glen sat in the restroom. It had been a long day on the road, and the shrimp tacos he’d eaten for lunch hadn’t settled very well. Their same-day-express exit strategy wasn’t helping matters––at least not now. He blew a large puff of air and scanned the inside walls of the well-decorated stall. The restroom rhymers had been busy, the truck stop maintenance crew in no apparent hurry to cover up the many long-haul poets’ wit.
“Here I sit brokenhearted. Came to shit but only farted,” Glen mumbled. “An oldie, but a goodie…that damned sure doesn’t fit my situation.” A variation to that theme which involved poopers and state troopers was scribed beneath the brokenhearted rhyme. After trying to recall the last time he’d spotted a state trooper using truck stop facilities, Glen chuckled. Seemed pretty obvious why they stayed away.
But toilet verses weren’t the only eye catchers in the stall. Plenty of sales pitches and invitations were also scrawled onto or scratched into the painted steel partitions. Best deal on tires in three states 855-0396. Cheap beer and cigarettes – Ollie’s I-99 exit 234. For a good time call 567-8295. “For the time of your life call 579-8134.”
Glen stared at the last message. How long has it been since I’ve actually had a good time? Have I ever had the time of my life? His bowels protested again. Once he recovered, his mind sought a distraction and focused on the 579 phone number. Unlike most of the other notes, the letters in the message were clear and uniform––and written in cursive. As he studied the words that accompanied the phone number, Glen’s thoughts began to drift.
Was the inked note an invitation or a scam? Was the phone number real or the number for the local cops? After all, he was sitting in the men’s restroom, inside an interstate truck stop built in the middle of nowhere, who would have written the message? Had a woman sneaked in with a Sharpie and left the note. If so, was she a hooker or a lonely female trucker seeking companionship on the open road? Could it have been the hooker’s pimp, or just a guy with a delicate hand? If a guy wrote the message, was he gay or just an articulate jackass prankster? Not that Glen had anything against the LGBT community. One of his cousins was gay, and they got along great. He recalled his cousin’s favorite saying, Two things I love to do––fornicate and fight. Glen snickered. Though he’d never learned how well his cousin made love, the guy sure could fight.
Then another thought came to mind. What if the note is for real? What if the phone number leads me to the love of my life? Glen mulled over the other possibilities he’d imagined and the consequences each one might bring. He also considered his lifestyle––a long-haul trucker, three months out of the Army, who spent his days crisscrossing interstate highways, transferring assorted loads from one city to another. He had a one-room apartment in his hometown that he seldom visited, and a pickup that usually had to be jump-started from lack of use. Hell, he didn’t even have a dog to keep him company. Glen looked at the phone number again. “Should I?”