Holding Eric Part 14


Holding Eric part 14

Eric rushing to the other side checking out the chrome plated steps with lights running across each step, one step up taking the handle not to make the same mistake again with the exhaust, opening the door with a quick boost upward inside while holding the door, feeling the cold seat scooting upward avoiding the empty coffee cups on the floor and small fast food wrappers while checking around the cab, finding it a small area with no bed setup area behind the seats for overnight bags or storage.

Gene got in looking over “Little cold but she’ll warm up quick by the way names Gene and you are?” Pushing the heater button on high, reaching over a pushing buttons watching the screen change on the dash board, Eric sitting back relaxing “Eric” as they started pulling out form the docking area to the roadway, Erick spotting a photo on the center dash just like Jacob had showing his family “Your Family looks like you made out well” with his sad grin knowing he had no photos grafts of his own Mother or Father to show anyone let alone why would he want to show what type of family he had it only brought back bad memory’s.

“What’s the box do?” Eric asking leaning over looking at it more

“It’s set up the route plan” Gene pointed to the screen showing the street map with numbers

“You don’t use Road Atlas?” Eric said puzzled

“My company like us to use these, telling us we’re where supposed to go”

“Isn’t a log book for that?” frowning at the screen changing

“No that just records our hours driving and down time” Gene pointing to his in the slot next to them

“Oh’ every time we stop we’d always marking it do you?”

Gene shifting into gear pulling ahead into traffic” Your dad teach you about logs”

“Sure and Someday I’m going to be a driver like he is”

“We always need trucker’s … sounds like your dads been around awhile what’s his name?”

Eric hesitated a second avoiding a rolling cup “Jacob he has a Peterbuilt big one with the sleeper bunks and its long with painted green with white strips down the side with lights also like your lights”

“Big Peterbuilt and green too” Gene said smiling over watching the traffic on the side

“White Star what kind is that? Who makes it?”

“Good question never even gave it a thought who made it I just drive them”

“White Star maybe GM? What about the engine does it have a cat?”

“No just regular old diesel’ so Eric you going to school now?”

“Next week I’m starting my freshman year” only looking out the window at traffic not over to Gene

“Junior high so you like school, what your favorite subject?”

“It’s ok, mostly history of the western civilization like the Oregon Trail stuff like that”

“Good to know some things about the past never know what happen till you read about them or watch it on the Old western television shows” Pulling into the center lane watching the traffic getting congested slowly shifting holding the knob more resting his hand vibrating while holding the wheel steady.

Eric sat back watching the roadway checking the gages spotting the CB channel

“You’re not on sixteen why nine?”

“Right it’s not hooked up right it starts on that channel you can change it if you like”

“No that’s ok just asking my dad … has he’s always on”

“Some like nineteen but I like twenty-one late at night”

“But aren’t the drivers on sixteen at truck stops?”

“Sometimes if it’s too busy they switch over”

“See any bears on the side?” Eric said looking to the side of the road seeing a few cars on the side.

“No but we will soon they like hiding on us a lot”

Eric looked to the back hearing a hissing sound or something like it was dripping through a pipe, when a light on the dash started blinking “What’s that flickering?” eyes wide pointing at it, Gene reach over flipping the switch “That’s for the reefer unit in the back telling me its recharging nothing to worry about”

Eric leaning over feeling dimwitted checking the gauges stopping at the photograph

“My two girls and wife”

“My dad has one of us also”

“You have brothers and sisters?”

“Yea two and a brother” Eric remembering quick from the Jacobs photo smiling

“So where’s home Eric?”

“Texas”

“Texas big state, what in the world you doing out here?”

“Visiting a Uncle for the summer glade that trips was over to”

“You said you were taking the Bus to New haven?”

“Then it was going to New London or something but I was only going to Branford with my dad”

“Maybe we can hook you up in Harford all the way to Branford were about two miles from the truck stop so will see what we can do for you”

“Really Thank You’ then I won’t have to ride in that smelly bus” Smiling watching them pulling to the exit ramp.

Parking the Tractor the two went inside to the truckers lounge, Gene asking a few who were heading that way finding one driver going to the Litchfield area and he could give him a ride but not for another hour, Gene and Eric went to the service area for coffee, Eric excused himself and went to the Convenient area looking over thermoses, pulling down a med size one taking it to the cashier returning handing it to Gene.

“Got something for you that I thought you could use” Handing him the sack.

Gene pulled it out looking at it smiling over “Thank You but I really shouldn’t accept it”

“Why not you helped me it’s the least I can do for a True Friend”

“Thank You Eric it’ll come in handy”

“Got to be better than those cups to go”

Gene Smiled setting it on the counter calling the waitress over, She walk right over taking the thermos “Fill it?” It’s new could you regular and Eric you hungry or something my treat?”

“Coffee and cherry roll sounds good”

“Your dad must be so proud of you I should tell him”

“Well maybe someday you can, if we meet up again”

“Texas is a long ways from here, I’ll give you my card so you can give it to him next time you two are in the area we can go for coffee how’s that sound?”

“Great to me Dad would like to meet you to I’m sure beside you took care of me for him right”

“So right I’d be proud to have you ride with me anytime”

Eric said good bye to Gene watching him leave the lot returning to Mr. Klaus waiting at the pumps.

Klaus was an older man driving for many years, you could see it in his face all tired and sore from the sun beating on his weathered clothes, his ball cap worn with the name barely readable anymore, he still had a lot of get up and go left making sure he looked groomed and clean shaven, how much can you comb a flat top hair anyway pressing a ball cap on it, Wearing a light jacket just to keep from getting chilled on windy days, Klaus walked around the truck tapping each tire with his large black stick only glancing at the lights making sure they were all working.

Opening the driver’s door getting inside looking back down at Eric standing watching him holding his jacket and small books.

“Well you going or what?” in a harsh voice closing the door

Eric hurried around getting in  sitting trying not to make any wrong moves that might upset him, sitting holding everything in his lap looking over the dash out the window.

“Belt son” Klaus harshly said pulling out into traffic

Eric very uncomfortable about Klaus looking over a few times at him moving his lower jaw up and down chewing on something then spitting it in a paper cup wiping his mouth on his sleeve, with a frown Eric sat back glancing down at the door knob not wanting to even talk just an overall uncomforted feeling along with the smell inside.

“Maybe I should” Eric started to say be interrupted by Klaus “What you want to walk?”

“Well no …. but I don’t”

“Relax I’ll get you there in one piece”

“You must drive a lot?”

“All my life’ so meeting Your Father are you’ you’re not a runaway now are you?” spitting in his cup

“No I’m meeting my Dad in the Truck Stop”

“That an odd place to be meeting someone?”

“He’ll be there”

“Gene said you missed your bus is that right?” holding his cup shifting almost spilling it on the floor

“Yes it was heading to New London for the bike expo”

“Charter bus fancy pants riders taking our roads making us slow down more so they can peddle their little bottoms down the road think they would be better off getting a car and driving not riding some bike”

Eric sat back more trying not to say anything only hoping it wasn’t too long a ride, feeling more sick mostly from the smell inside even thou the windows were cracked open it still becoming more overpowering.

“Hey a’m I supposed to take you to your Father or just drop you off?”

“You can just drop me off less you’d like to meet him?”

“No Gene forgot to tell me that’s all ok where almost to the TA Stop so I’ll drive in the lot and if you see the truck give a holler”

“Thanks’ I really appreciate the ride”

“Don’t have many riders if any’ just an old trucker you might say”

“Maybe I could get you a coffee or something?”

“No need to be getting on my stop”

Down shifting hearing the roaring of the engine holding it back before coming to the end of the exit stop signal, watching traffic passing waiting on the light looking to the truck stop, one big lean over spit in the cup shifting while holding a knob on the wheel turning the corner, slowing turning into the parking lot passing the trucks parked, Eric sat upward looking back and forth at all the trucks, hoping to see only one the green Peterbuilt, passing all the truck stopping by the building looking over.

“Didn’t see him’ you can wait inside he’ll find you”

“Sure he’s running late or I’m just early Thank You for the ride”

“Ok kid you take care nice chatting with ya”

Eric quickly made it down closing the door standing back watching him pulling back out to the main roadway, one more glance down at the trucks lined up, before going inside, Looking at the ground same wrappers on the ground when he was there the last time, Eric smiled walking in with a wave to the cashier walking thru to the counter stool sitting down, reaching up to adjust his cap eyes opened wide surprised he left it in the truck, turning looking out the window it was too late no way could he retrieve now, lowering his head as the waitress just came up holding a glass of water.

“Hi Coffee and a Cherry Roll Warm ok?”

“No’ out of Cherry”

“What ya got then?”

“Apple or Prune”

“Apple’ Ok if I go get something I’ll be right back”

“Sure”

Eric scooted around the seat hurrying to the convince store looking in the isles, stopping at the hat rack with his finger up and down before spotting the one he wanted reach up pulling it off taking it to the cashier setting it down looking up smiling at her excided on getting a new cap.

“That it” skinny girl chewing gum said in more a cold tone

“Left mine in the truck”

“Sure eighteen sixty-four cash or charge” placing it in a bag

“Cash” Eric holding the twenty towards her, reaching over taken the twenty and looked at it, then marked a pen acrossed it looking again at it then to the light and made a sour face hitting the register keys.

“What’s wrong with it’ it’s good” Eric said getting upset at her taking all day

“Just making sure it’s good here” Handing him his change and receipt together.

Eric looked at the receipt and change in his hand setting them on the counter looking at it, Not knowing someone was behind him “Hey you shorted me ten cent’s”

“You must have dropped it, would you mind moving” not even looking at him

Eric turn around seeing the large man in a plaid shirt standing holding a few things waiting, moving over looking at the cashier waiting on his dime, she just started ringing the stuff he had placed on the counter.

“How much she short you?” The man asked looking down at Eric

“Just a dime’” frowning “maybe she needs it more” Eric said taking his bag going back to the counter stool, shifting his sweater over to the next stool before sitting down seeing the coffee steaming, pulling out his hat adjusting it a few times before it was set to his headband, feeling like he belonged now taken two sugar pack shaking them into his coffee looking up with a smile as the waitress headed down with his Warm Danish with melted butter on top.

“Nice Hat you need anything just holler”

“Thanks” looking over seeing the same guy from the counter sitting next to him looking over.

“You like Pete’s I can tell, maybe you should take the tag off” Smiling over

Eric pulled it off looking at the tag pulling on it a few times not budging afraid it might rip.

“Here let me do it for you’ names Patrick” Reaching over taking the hat, pulling out a little knife cutting the plastic off handing it back watching him adjust it again placing it on.

“Eric and Thank you I was sure I was going to rip it”

“I’ve ripped a few myself” Folding his knife placing it back on his side case looking up with the waitress bringing him coffee and Water setting them down glancing over at Eric eating

“I’ll have one of those also”

“Sure thing Buffet open”

“Just the Apple roll thanks”

“Wait a second” the waitress said looking at Eric “Denver’ Two weeks ago Right?”

Eric shocked looking over smiling at her, finding she remembered him “Yep that’s me”

“So how was it Denver I mean?”

“Cold and Wet”

“Bet you glade to be back here (Looking over) Apple’… be right back” she said heading to the back

Eric enjoying the company of his new friends talking how hot and humid Denver was, having to spend a week at his Uncles house in Rhode Island and missing the Bus, Jacob was picking him up as soon as possible or would call to let him know how long he was out before arriving. Patrick was taken in by Eric liking him right off offered to stay with him till Jacob showed, Eric said he had to check the desk again see if he called in yet and would let him know when he was showing up. Finishing off his coffee the two headed to the Receiving area, Eric asked the Guy if any Call’s came in for Him another big one he asked for Jacobs last name, Eric reach in his Pocket remembering the card handing it to the Guy at the counter.

“Texas … Mazzionie no he hasn’t called want me to call you when he does?” Eric nodded yes taking the card back placing in in his pocket turning looking at Patrick.

“Well looks like he’s a way’s out yet I’ll wait for him in the lounge”

Patrick walked with Eric sitting down watching part of a movie that was on and some News, before going checking again

“No call’s yet” the Guy said seeing the two walking up.

“Thanks’ I’ll be around you can page me right?”

“Sure Mazzionie”

“Patrick want some coffee or something to eat?”

“No’ maybe you should give him a call?”

“Maybe I should”

“You have a card?”

“Card?”

“For the phone”

“No”

“Come on I’ll use mind”

Eric followed Patrick back to the lounge area phones, Patrick sliding his card in”

“Go ahead you can dial out now”

Eric checking the card taping the area code and number waiting as it rang”

Penny standing in the kitchen reaching the phone “Hello”

“Hi is dad home?”

“I’m sorry do you have the right number?” Penny looking down at the phone return caller id

“Yes this is Eric”

“O’h … Eric’ Jacob is out with his father want me to give him a message for you?” smiling now remembering who Eric was from Jacob

“No that’s ok tell him I’m here and see him soon”

“I’m not sure how long he’s going to be but I’ll tell him you called” glancing out the window

“Ok Thanks” Eric quickly hung up the phone. Lowing his head

Patrick standing a few feet away waiting “Everything ok?”

“Sure he’s just delayed he’ll be here soon”

“Ok well I should be going you going to be ok here till he gets here?”

“Sure done it lots of times before you know loads sometimes they take longer”

“Well say hi to your dad for me and take care Eric, maybe will meet again someday”

Shaking his hand “You take care too’ it’s been nice meeting you”

Patrick headed for the exit, Eric watch him from the window walking down pass all the truck till he was out of sight, returning to the restaurant getting hungry finding it was very crowded inside, he felt it was better if he returned to the lounge area for a little while and plan what to do next.

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