Early Morning Thoughts Near a Quiet Road
by Jeff Baker
Joey sipped from the can of soda and pulled his jacket around him. At least it wasn’t freezing and windy. He glanced around the old garage; had they been sitting here on the milk crates and talking all night? The lights under the canopy at the back of the repair and tire shop were starting to fade compared to the January dawn.
“Hey, Joey, what time you heading out again?” Rog asked.
“Sometime around nine,” Joey said.
“You can probably sleep on the plane.” Andrew said.
“Yeah,” Joey said. He looked around for the hundredth time that night and let out a deep breath. “How many times have we done this?”
“Counting when we were sixteen and got that six-pack of beer and drank it here after the store closed?” Andrew said.
“Yeah, and your Dad found us here, you hanging onto the wall and Andrew throwing up in the back because we’d set off the alarm trying to get in to use the bathroom?”
The three of them laughed.
“Yeah, and I had to work extra hours here on the weekend in addition to going to school hung-over the next day.” Joey said. “Wow, that was five years ago!”
The three of them sat there and sipped their sodas.
“You know, this was my first job, working here on the weekends,” Rog said.
“Yeah, and his Dad fired you right after the first weekend!” Andrew laughed.
All three friends laughed again.
“And now you’re heading out on your extended vacation,” Rog said. “What we call a career.”
“Yup! Gonna do great at the new job Joey!” Andrew said.
Joey nodded his head and blushed. “Thanks!”
“We’re gonna miss you, guy!” Rog said.
“Hell, we’ll see each other again! I’ll be back here!” Joey said.
“Yeah, but I may be leaving town too,” Andrew said. “Got a line on a job upstate.”
“Wow.” Rog said. “This is like end of school vacation but we’re all going our separate ways.”
“Okay, so let’s make it like school was,” Joey said. “Let’s keep in touch and try to make it back here, this very spot once a year before school would be starting up.”
“Think that’ll work?” Andrew said.
“Hell, yeah!” Rog said. “We’ll make it work! Friends like us shouldn’t lose each other!”
“Okay, we meet here every year at the end of summer, okay?”
The three friends clinked their cans together for what would be the last time.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Looking at this I see similarities between this and my earlier story “Christmas at de Obra’s Garage.” Oh well! I guess the early-morning garage pic got me thinking of endings again!