Life is a Gamble… Take the Road Less Travelled

Prologue

“In the game of life;
Sometimes we win,
Sometimes we loss,
Either ways, we should always keep playing.”
― Lailah Gifty Akita, Think Great: Be Great!

“Alfred! Hurry the hell up!” Mildred yelled while banging on the rest room door of a local diner.
“I’m comin’! Hold on! You’re as patient as a horny jack rabbit!”
“Dispatch gave us a time to be at the loadin’ yard and if you don’t hurry up we’ll never make it there in time.” She then heard the toilet flush.
“Come on Mildred, let’s get goin’. My God yer pushy! Can’t even have peace and quiet on the can,” he muttered.
Alfred and Mildred climbed into the rig, a 2006 Peterbilt. He was still chunting about being rushed, especially when it came to doing his business. As he always said, “Ya can’t rush the flow of nature.”
Alfred and Mildred have been married 45 years. They bicker back and forth but that’s just them, they love bickering and thrive on tormenting each other. Alfred’s a truck driver, owned his own truck and Mildred was his co-pilot, or GPS as he called her. They were well off financially but didn’t show it.
Alfred was a big man who wore his “trucker cap” faithfully. It had Mack on it. He also wore a thin stained white shirt which was an inch too short to cover his ample girth, blue “Big Bill” pants and wide red suspenders, he usually dressed his feet with plaid slippers. He was balding but had a few strands of hair which he combed across his head for “volume”. It would wave to the world when he took his cap off.
Mildred was the opposite. She was very tiny, very thin and always wore T-shirts with funny catchy phrases. Today’s choice was, “Older than dirt but tougher than nails.” She wore blue jeans and loafers and her hair looked like a rat’s nest even on a good day.
The two hit the road to get to their next dispatch. They bickered and teased the whole way. Then they made it to their destination… late.
“I told you we wouldn’t make it. You never listen to me though.”
“Oh shut yer cake hole Mildred, we’ll call dispatch and tell them we’ll pick it up when they open in the morning. It’s dark anyway and I’m tired.”
Mildred of course was the one that was chosen to call. Although a bit annoyed dispatch understood and thanked her for calling. While Mildred was on the phone Alfred got out to check over the truck before he went to bed. After Mildred made the call and was getting the bunk ready for them to go to sleep she heard Alfred yelling. She opened her door a crack and saw a masked man with a gun to Alfred. Alfred was yelling obscenities and telling him to fly the hell out of there. Mildred called 911. Once done, she peeked back out the door, scared as a child watching their parents fight. She couldn’t move, she wanted to help but figured she was too small and he’d kill her. Then she heard a bang and saw Alfred go down. The masked man went to work on whatever his plan was. She saw him go around the back of the trailer then could see him go up the driver’s side. He’s going to steal the truck, she thought. She grabbed the keys and slipped out the passenger side door hoping he didn’t hear her. She saw the truck shake from side to side as he got in, then heard sirens in the distance. Looking down at Alfred she saw his belly was still moving up and down and blood was all over his shirt. She
crouched down to him and said, “You’ll be ok Alfred! I called 911, they’ll get you to a hospital, you’ll be fine.” All Alfred could do is croak.
Then Mildred heard a gun cock behind her.
“You bitch; you called the pigs didn’t you, give me the keys!” the masked man yelled, he was furious.
“I don’t have them,” Mildred squeaked.
“Bull shit! I saw you get out the other side of the truck, you have the keys, now hand them over!”
Mildred insisted she didn’t have the keys. She was damn well going to protect their livelihood!
“You want to play hard ball? Let’s play hard ball!” He yelled.
He lifted his gun for the second time and pulled the trigger. Mildred with closed eyes heard Click… Click, click, click. Nothing came out. Mildred dared to open one eye only to see the dud of a gun flying at her hitting her fair between the eyes knocking her out cold. The masked man grabbed the keys and ran to the truck. The sirens were getting closer but he didn’t care, he was sent here to do a job, getting paid well to do it and he was going to finish it come hell or high water.
One police car stopped at Alfred and Mildred while the other one flew passed to catch the truck that had just taken off. The truck was swerving and the gears were grinding but it was moving.
When the officer got up beside the truck the truck swerved to push him off the road. The cop slammed his brakes on only to be squished between the truck and a guard rail. This didn’t fizz him though, he was going to catch this guy if it was the last thing he’d do. “To serve and protect,” he kept muttering to himself.
While he was chasing the masked man the other cop called in back up and the coordinates. When the ambulance arrived they quickly assessed Alfred and Mildred and got them off to the hospital, everything was happening… fast but in slow motion all at the same time.
The chase was on for the masked man in the truck. The only benefit for the officers was about to happen. They came to a steep hill. Lucky for them the masked man wasn’t an experienced driver. He almost made it to the top of the hill when he missed a gear. The truck slowed down to a crawl then a stop. The masked man jumped out but didn’t apply the air brakes. He figured he’d get rid of some of these pigs by letting the truck “free fall” down this hill and “free fall” it did jetting backwards down the hill swerving from side to side before the rig jack knifed with the trailer and slammed into the ditch sounding like a train devouring a car.
The masked man was on the run. One of the officers took off after him followed by two more. The masked man ran into a house at the top of the hill. It was old, rundown, unoccupied and unlocked.
They had a standoff for two hours while a wrecker was getting the truck out of the ditch along with two flattened cop cars when they finally got him to surrender. They slammed him down on the ground and ripped off his mask. None of them recognized him.
“Who are you working for?” A cop asked the former masked man but he said nothing, only spit.
They got a little more forceful and threw him in the back of one of the cruisers.
“We’ll get you to talk, don’t worry.” But again all he did was spit and yell, “Never!”
At the hospital Mildred was awake and in a bed asking about Alfred, she wanted Alfred in the bed beside hers.
“I’m sorry Mildred but he’s in the ICU.”
“Is he going to be OK?” Mildred asked with tears in her eyes taking full blame on herself for not helping him. She felt selfish.
“At this point it’s hard to tell. He went in for surgery and it’s looking like he’ll need another one the doctor is saying. I’ll have Dr.Billow come see you as soon as he can to explain everything.”
“When can I get out of here?” Mildred asked.
“They’re hoping tomorrow morning if you stay alert and stable.”
Mildred rolled over and tears ran down her face… why hadn’t she done more… Why?

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