At 2:35 a.m. in Pleasantville, Iowa, a car accelerates out of a truck stop and recklessly swerves onto the highway. Two people in dark clothing run after the car and fire fruitlessly in its direction. They stand there for a moment without speaking as the sound of the speeding vehicle fades. Sirens sound not far away and the two figures run back to the truck stop. A large black sedan peels away into the night, similarly to the first car. The sirens are much louder now. Moments later, two police vehicles pull into the truck stop. A distressed cashier runs out to meet them. After some initial confusion, the situation is explained. One police car goes after the sedan; the other team stays with the cashier. Statements are taken; the security tapes will be used as evidence in the investigation. Protocol being now met the team at the truck stop radios the team that went after the sedan. No luck. Having done all that is required of them the cops leave, presumably to do further work at the station. The truck stop cashier sits on the curb and lights a cigarette. He checks his watch, still three hours left on his shift. The cashier stands, puts out the cigarette, and walks back inside. The night is once again silent.
I stopped counting telephone poles after a hundred. It didn't take nearly as long as I wanted it to. Now I was bored again and would have to find some other distraction for the rest of the drive. Boredom is the enemy of the mind, or at least it's one of them. I'm no therapist, but given the tumultuous nature of the past two days, I'd imagine that any healthy form of escapism would be beneficial to my mental health. I unzipped the front flap of my backpack, the entertainment section, and examined the contents. Some pens and pencils were strapped in, as well as a basic, college-ruled notebook. Did I feel like building a new world or new scene? I pondered to myself a moment. I decided not, the effort of drawing from the creativity well deterred me. There were headphones at the bottom but I figured it would be unwise to use my phone when I was still hours away from an electrical outlet. That left me with the only book I had brought, one I had read hundreds of times. I held the thick paperback in my lap, I imagined some people held kittens the same way. The red paper cover had worn thin over the years. The top left corner had soft torn edges. A well-loved book. Technically a story for children, it was one I reached for every time I set out on a long road-trip. I gently rubbed my thumb along the cover page and opened it. “It was raining that night, a fine, whispering rain…” I knew the first sentence by heart and soon I was wrapped in the comfort of old, familiar words.