“I know you want to stay anonymous, but wouldn’t leaving money be easier?”
“It would, but I’m not a very trusting person. I feel better knowing the shelters have food to serve the homeless in a nice warm environment. Ready?” I parked as close to the curb as I could. “Picture this as an adventure.”
I put the truck in neutral and left it running. We jumped out and placed the food by the back door. I climbed back in the truck and put it in first gear while Chase rang the bell. When the doorknob turned he jumped into the truck. I hit the gas, driving away from the building. Shock registered on the mans face when he noticed the food surrounding the steps. Giving stirred a deep warmth in my heart.
Chase grinned, “How far to the next shelter?”
We made a game out of delivering the food to the shelters by timing ourselves. Once we had our initial time we would try to beat it at each new shelter we went to.
“Are you going to keep any of this food?” Chase asked as we reached our last destination.
“No.” I pulled up to the curb. “We’ve got a problem.”
“What’s that?” He asked right before he noticed it. “Oh hell, the shelters surrounded by a fence and the whole front of the building has windows.”
“How do you want to play this?
He considered the problem for a minute. “We have to go through the gate. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the back porch will be windowless.”
“This stop needs to excel our best time.” I adjusted my hat, “are you ready?”
He rubbed his hands together and rummaged around behind us for a few bags of food. “Ready.”
I opened the gates and drove through like I belonged there. I coasted to the back of the building. The back doors stood wide open. “Damn!” I made a u-turn and idled by the front door. Barred windows graced both sides of the entrance. “Go!”
Chase raced to the small enclosure with all of his bags as I raced to the back of the truck to get more; we grabbed as much as we could and put it on the front porch. We’d just snatched the last load out of the truck when an older priest dressed in clergy attire opened the door.
“What are you doing out here?” He asked in a low calm voice, almost tripping over the bags of groceries.
Chase and I ran up to him at the same time, shoved the rest of the goodies in his arms, and piled back into the truck. My heart was thumping with excitement as I yanked the gearshift into drive, flooring it through the side streets to my last stop.
“Wait here, I’ll be right back.”
I jogged into the store, rummaged around for my favorite zombie movies, paid the cashier, and jogged back to the truck.
Chase hadn’t moved. I placed the bag in his lap and veered onto the interstate, last destination home.
“Ah, he speaks.”
“That was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”
“I was starting to get worried about you Chase. You’ve been, like a zombie for a while.” I replied, chuckling.
“When the priest came out of the shelter I felt totally busted. My first thought was we’re going to jail. It just took time for my brain to come to the understanding that we didn’t do anything wrong.” His whole body shook for a second or two, and then he burst out laughing. “When can we do it again? Did we beat our best time?”
Relief washed over me. “I have no idea if we beat our time; I was motivated on getting us out of there. We’ll figure out something new for Christmas, if you’re around.”
“Oh, I’ll be around.”
We both laughed as he went through his bag of goodies. “Are all of these for me?”
“It’s a thank you gift.”
“Thanks Montana.” He fell silent for a moment. “What is it like winning the lottery?”
“What else has Max told you about me?” I countered.
“Everything he thought I should know with the promise I wouldn’t tell anyone else. He said he’d kill me if I did. My lips are sealed.”
“I’m going to keep you to that promise.”
“Fair enough, so how does it feel?”
“It’s great not having to worry about bills anymore and I get to help more people now, but it sucks to constantly be bothered by people and charities that want me to give.” I chuckled. “Plus both men and women kept asking me out for dates. Getting away from the unnecessary attention is one of the reasons I moved to the mountains.”
“Maybe some of those men actually wanted to get to know you.”
“Sure, along with the women.” I replied, distracted, huge snowflakes hit the windshield heavily, swirling snow began to glue itself to the road. I flipped on my headlights when low bearing clouds started to creep over us and slowed down to a crawl. We drove the rest of the way home through the intense white out. The whole time Chase was either bent forward or hanging his head out the window, making sure we didn’t run off the road.
“Turn, turn now, there’s your road.”
I turned, slid, over-corrected and we spun around in a 360 before we stopped.
“Well at least we’re facing the right direction.” I said, making sure my heart hadn’t stopped with the truck. I’ve driven in many snow storms and knew what I was doing, but sometimes nature had different plans. I hadn’t expected the pavement to ice over this soon.
“Help me put the beast in four wheel drive and we’ll try to make the drive to the house.”
Setting the four wheel drive on my truck wasn’t an easy task. The locks needed to be rotated on the outside tires and the locks were frozen. After melting some of the ice with my lighters we managed to click the locks into four wheel drive. I immediately turned on headlights and the heat full blast to unfreeze us when we climbed back into the cab. I put the truck into gear and we slowly crawled up my dirt road. Chase hung his head out the passenger side window, telling me where the ruts on his side of the road were. I hung my head out of the drivers side window, keeping an eye out for ruts as well. We made it a little over two miles before I plowed into a snow drift that covered a deep rut.
“I’ve got to get this road paved!” I screamed as I put the truck in reverse, cranked the wheel left and tried to ease us out of the hole. I accomplished sliding the rear-end to the right. I cranked the wheel to the right and put the truck in first gear hoping to catch some fresh snow for traction, but all I managed was another slide, and to sink us deeper into the snow drift. I cursed under my breath. My arms, hands, and finger muscles were rigid from gripping the wheel.
Chase gave me a moment before he began unhooking my fingers from the steering wheel, they were locked up tight.
“We’re going to have to walk from here.” He said. “Just so you know Rose did try to get the road graded, but the company couldn’t get out here in time. They were mega busy.”
“Okay. Fine,” I flexed my fingers a few times to get the cramps out. “I haven’t put any emergency clothes in my truck yet.” My mind had been on other things. “Your right, we’re going to have to walk the rest of the way.”
The snow fell faster now and darkness settled over us like a thick, black blanket. My skin pricked with unease. I picked up my purse and took out my gun.
“Stay close to me; hold my belt loop or something. I’m not sure what’s out there and I don’t want to get separated.”
I put my gun in my pocket and wandered over to the passenger side of the truck. I laced two of my fingers around Chase’s belt while he rummaged through the glove compartment to find the flashlight. After finding it he grabbed hold of my belt.
“Come on Killer.” I said, tugging on him.
Killer jumped out and took off at a full run.
“Killer! Killer! Get back here! Damn!” He was gone.
“He’ll be alright. If we’re lucky he’ll find Max.”
“Sure he will,” I said sarcastically, “if he finds Max I’ll cook him a steak.”
Blake-A Montana Dayton Novel Ch. 7:2