An hour later and she finally saw a gas station up ahead. Hallelujah! It only had one pump, and it didn’t look like it even worked, but she had never seen a more lovely sight in her life. Pulling up and jumping out of the car with it still running, she jolted through the cascading rain to the front door.
“Excuse me,” she said, realizing how good it felt to actually say something and hear her own voice. “Do you know what state I’m in?”
Okay, so maybe not the most eloquent way to ask for directions, but it was what came out, so she had to run with it.
She approached the man at the counter so she could get a better look. He had one lazy eye and the other had a cataract. An unfortunate situation indeed.
He said nothing, but just stared…well his one lazy eye stared.
“Sir? Do you know what state I’m in? I don’t have any signal, and my GPS isn’t working. I have no idea where I am.” She was either in West Virginia or Kentucky…or hell. She could definitely be in hell.
“Ummmmmm, no. I don’t live here.”
Was he looking at her?
“Okay…” She wasn’t sure how to respond. “Do you have a map?”
“A map of what?”
“A map of where we are.” Was this conversation really happening? Was she in some crazy twilight zone talking to a half-blind gas station attendant who didn’t know what state he was in? This couldn’t be happening.
“I’m looking for Big Creek, West Virginia. Do you know where that is?”
“Ummmmmm no. I don’t live here.”
“Do you have a phone I could use?”
He just stared.
“Am I even in West Virginia?”
He continued to just stare.
She turned around and left as quickly as she entered. Dear lord. Jessa had no choice but to continue on and drive through the typhoon from hell. She couldn’t stay with the cataract man with a lazy eye who didn’t know what state he was in.
Mile after mile she drove. The road seemed to go on with no end in site. On and on she drove in pitch-blackness and torrential rain, praying that a deer didn’t jump out and total her rented crappy, white, mid-size vehicle.
The dim light of civilization up ahead gave her hope. Ah, life of some sort. Hopefully this person had a working eye. As she drove closer, she could see—and she almost shit herself—a Bates Motel. Okay, it was actually a Stop In Motel, but it looked like a spitting image of Hitchcock’s slasher film’s motel. Next to it was a diner called Peg’s. Okay, Peg’s it would be.
Jessa once again hopped out of her still running car and ran through the storm, knowing she looked like a crazed lady drenched to the core. There was a fairly large man, squeezed into clothes far too small for him, at a counter talking to an old lady who seemed to be ringing him up. His belly button showed, his fly was undone, and he was sweating even though it wasn’t hot in the slightest. As Jessa looked around, she noticed there didn’t appear to be anyone else in the diner but the two of them.
“Excuse me. I’m lost. I don’t even know what state I’m in.” Why she felt the need to reveal that fact, she had no idea, but again, she wasn’t really thinking at this point. “Do you know where I am?”
The fairly large man turned, exposing that half of his dinner rested on his shirt. Stains were everywhere. “I don’t live here,” he said.
Oh for fucking Christ sake! Really? Again?
“But this lady can probably help you,” he added, saving Jessa from having a total breakdown.
Jessa turned to the lady, who was still focused on how to work the cash register. Jessa was two seconds from jumping the counter and ringing up the man’s meal herself. The little old lady just tapped a key, paused, tapped a key, paused, and tapped a key again. She never looked up.
“I have no phone signal, and my GPS isn’t working. I’m trying to find Big Creek, West Virginia.”
She tapped a key, paused, tapped a key, paused, tapped a key, paused.
Finally, she handed the man his change and a receipt and turned her attention to Jessa. “Oh, honey,” she started with a rattling voice that sounded like she had smoked ten packs of cigarettes a day her whole life. “You won’t find any signal around here.”
“Do you know where Big Creek is?” Jessa was losing her patience fast.
“Well…” She paused for quite sometime. “You go down this road for another twenty miles or so. Then you will see some railroad tracks. Turn left, and then turn right, and then turn left again. After about a mile or so, you will see an abandoned lumberyard. Just keep going for another mile or so, and then turn left. You should see a sign pointing you in the right direction. And if you hold your phone just right, you may get a signal around the lumberyard.”