Category Archives: Stories

5 O’clock Shadow – An Intermittent Novela – Chapter 5

Chapter One
4:59

Chapter Two
5:05

Chapter Three
5:15

Chapter Four
5:21

Chapter Five
5:32

He heard the engine before he saw the headlights. Sound had a way of carrying in the cool night air of the desert.

He sighed. He was hoping to knock off a little early if his replacement showed up 15 minutes before his shift began like he usually did. Regular like clockwork.

From the noise of the motor, he could tell that the vehicle was a semi. They always took longer. He cursed the overnight driver under his breath. Of all the nights for him to work overtime. Just his luck.

He grabbed his clipboard and flashlight from their hooks on the wall. Then he stepped out of the guardhouse and stood waiting by the gate.

The vehicle drew closer, gears grinding as the driver shifted down. He had been right. It was a truck, with not one, but two trailers, hooked behind. He cursed again and shielded his eyes from the glare of the headlights. The driver got the message and doused the lights as the truck rolled slowly to a stop.

He heard the loud hiss as the air brakes engaged. Let’s get this over with, he growled through clenched teeth and headed over to the driver’s side of the cab.

5 O’clock Shadow – An Intermittent Novela – Chapter 4

Chapter One
4:59

Chapter Two
5:05

Chapter Three
5:15

Chapter Four
5:21

He stared blearily out of the windshield at the two circles of blurring pavement illuminated by his headlights. He shook his head to clear the fog from his brain. He would need every shred of his wits about him to face the daunting task ahead.

He went over the plan in his mind for the millionth time. Strange to think how months of planning would come down to what happened in a brief instant. He hated the responsibility but it could not be helped. If he blew it, well . . . it didn’t help to think about that. Suffice it to say he would not be driving truck anymore.

He passed a sign showing the distance to the border. Then he began to see the tell-tale glow ahead. He began to slow the big rig down.

He wiped the sweat from his hands and licked his lips. In the distance, the guardhouse and the gate began to come into view.

He tapped the brakes and the truck slowed further.

Not long now.

5 O’clock Shadow – An Intermittent Novela – Chapter 3

Chapter One
4:59

Chapter Two
5:05

Chapter Three
5:15

He tried not to, but his eyes kept straying up to the clock on the wall above his head. 45 minutes more and his shift would be over. Then home, a quick shower, and finally he would head over to her place.

He felt his cheek. Oh, and a quick shave. He smiled. He still had a hard time believing it. It had taken him an appetizer, entree, dessert, and four cups of coffee to work up the nerve to ask for her number. He was pleasantly surprised to find it with her name scrawled on the bottom of his receipt. He was even more surprised that she invited him over for dinner when he finally got up the courage to call her a week later.

Tonight was the night. Dana. He liked that name.

He glanced out the dusty window of the guardhouse. In the growing darkness, he couldn’t see any headlights. Things were usually slow around this time anyway. Most of the cross border business was done for the day. Not much traffic. Just the occasional late night trucker. Poor soul.

It was lonely enough out here with the town only a few miles away. And he rarely had to work the overnight shift. Seniority did have its benefits. He couldn’t imagine being stuck in a cab for hours with nothing to see but dry flatland for mile after endless mile.

He caught himself glancing at the clock again and grinned.

Soon, he thought. Soon he’d be sitting across the table from Dana. After that, well, who knew.

5 O’clock Shadow – An Intermittent Novela – Chapter 2

Chapter One
4:59

Chapter Two
5:05

The moving of the truck woke him up.

He heard the shifting of gears and the increasing vibration as the truck accelerated onto the highway.

He groaned as he became aware of the various aches of his body. He shifted as best as he could in the cramped space. He began to stretch and relax his muscles. He welcomed the brief twinges of pain. He needed to be ready.

His face itched. The stubble gave him some idea of how long he had been here. 24 to 48 hours. He could smell his sweat and rancid breath. They must be getting close.

It was pitch black here in the hidden compartment underneath the bed of the truck. He wasn’t a big man but the space was barely large enough. It had to be small to avoid detection. He wondered if it would.

The truck bounced over a rut, jarring him against the metal walls of his prison and adding another bruise to the others already on his body. He gritted his teeth.

Soon all of this would be over, one way or the other.

5 O’clock Shadow – An Intermittent Novela

Chapter One
4:59

The stubble on his face was irritating. He scratched absently at a hairy cheek. He’d have to shave soon or go mad. But he couldn’t quite yet. His disguise was little enough as it was. Soon, he kept telling himself. Soon he’d have his old clean shaven face back again. But not right now.

He looked at himself in the rear view mirror. God, he looked awful. He barely recognized himself. If he could make it through tonight, he was home free.
If . . .

It got dark early here in the desert. The dashboard clock glowed in the gathering gloom. He waited until it read 5:00. Well here goes, he thought, and put the truck in gear. He pulled off the shoulder and back onto the deserted highway. In the distance he could see the faint glow of his destination.