My new book, Below the Wheel, drops on June 22. Here’s a little taste from last year’s novel, Angel with a Broken Wing.
The next evening, Christian relaxed on the couch watching the news on television. He glanced at his watch.
“Six-thirty? Whoa! I got class tonight.”
He leaped off the sofa, grabbed his textbook off the kitchen table, and headed out the door. He had some difficulty getting the Pinto started, but after several tries, the engine of the old ‘Gas Crisis Classic’ finally turned over.
“Going to work all day and then school at night is brutal. I should have done this right out of high school when I had the time. “I’ll be thirty-five this summer. It’ll take me forever to get my degree.”
The Pinto hesitated and bucked as he pulled into the parking lot of Gloucester County Community College.
“This car’s a piece of junk! Didn’t they used to say that if you got hit from behind in a Pinto, the thing blew up?”
He parked the car and began the long walk to the main building. He shivered as the frigid February wind whipped across the parking lot. It seemed to go right through his jacket and rattle his bones.
He got to the door and a blast of warm air poured forth as he opened it, and dashed inside.
The hallway was filled with the sound of students chattering and running to class. It felt like high school to Christian. High school without the lockers.
He suddenly felt old as he trudged past the groups of twenty-year-olds that congregated outside the classrooms. He couldn’t help but notice the abundance of baggy pants, bad haircuts, tattoos, and body piercings.
“What the hell has happened to our culture?”
Christian finally arrived at his classroom and tried the door.
Locked. He then noticed a note taped to the inside of the window on the door.
PSYCH CLASS CANCELLED DUE TO DEATH IN THE FAMILY
“Yea… Join the club, man. This sucks.”
He turned and headed back down the brightly lit corridor. The walls were lined with bulletin boards displaying upcoming student activities. Activities Christian would never attend. He was nearly to the door when a particular sign caught his eye. It was covered with brightly colored advertisements regarding travel. He stopped for a moment to read the board.
GO ON YOUR DREAM ADVENTURE! TRAVEL TO BEAUTIFUL COLORADO WITH US THIS SUMMER!
“Is it really that good? It can’t be as nice as the pictures. I suppose it’s good for the kids to get involved in something positive.”
“I wish I could go away…”
He continued to read the notes and signs on the board.
DIG UP DINOSAUR BONES!
HELP FEED THE CHILDREN!
BE A BIG BROTHER!
NEED A RIDE!
“Need a ride?”
It was a small 3×5 card tacked to the corner of the board. Christian pulled it free from the thumbtacks that held it to the corkboard and read it carefully.
I NEED A RIDE!!! GOING WEST, POSSIBLY CALIFORNIA. WILL SHARE EXPENSES. IF INTERESTED, PLEASE CALL (609)555-2602) ASK FOR T.R. JEROP.
SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY!!!
He read the card again, turning it over in his hand. He glanced up and down the hallway, and not seeing anyone, stuffed the card in his pocket. He walked towards the nearest exit. He stood in the warm vestibule and lit a cigarette before stepping back out into the bitter cold.
“What am I doing?” He made his way along the tree-lined promenade that led to the parking lot. “I should just put the damn thing back. I’m not going anywhere. Maybe I’m just jealous that this free spirit is going somewhere and I’m not. I don’t have the time, or the money to go anywhere. I’ve met so many people that would love to win the lottery and just fly away. This Jerop guy… he’s probably twenty years old, not a care in the world, nothing to tie him down. He just wants to see the country and cruise to the golden coast this summer. Must be nice. I gotta find some way to change my life. Jeezus it’s friggin’ cold out!”
Light snow began to fall as Christian got into the Pinto and drove home.
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