Stranded, Scared and Smiling
Instead of the usual twenty-five year high school reunion, my graduating class planned a fun road trip to Las Vegas. About fifty of us pitched in and rented a fancy bus to take us from Kansas to Vegas. We figured on a bus trip we could drink, sightsee, eat lots of junk food and relive our high school glory days.
We spent last night in New Mexico and left about eight this morning on the last leg of our road trip to Sin City. The excitement level was high and the noise level probably even higher. It was like being on bus filled with teenagers coming home after winning a state championship.
The orange juice and alcoholic beverages were flowing freely and our breakfast of spicy chicken wings and cheesy biscuits were making their way around for a second time. That’s when we begged the driver to find a rest area so we could use the facilities and stretch our legs. About three hours into our trip and in the middle of nowhere we stopped at couple of outhouses along the side of a deserted road. It wasn’t exactly the Ritz but it would have to do. In my rush to be the first in line to use the nearest outhouse, I’d forgotten to grab my purse and phone.
To make a long story short, I did my business and decided to explore the area. I think we were somewhere near the Grand Canyon. I could see mountains with no snow on the peaks and hundreds of large cacti with round arms standing like bandits reaching for the sky. The desert landscape extended for miles in each direction. There isn’t a building or human in sight. I was fascinated and I couldn’t stop exploring.
I stood there for I don’t know how long mesmerized by the rugged beauty and uncompromising energy of the untamed desert. I could almost see covered wagons making their way across the desolate landscape. The dry hot sandy desert was so different from the greenery of Kansas.
I didn’t realize how far I had wandered away from the others until I turned and headed back. To my horror the bus was gone! I never heard the bus leave. I’m standing there alone in the middle of the desert without my purse, or my phone or food and water.
Heading back toward the outhouses I’m becoming more aware of the sun and heat stinging my face. Hasn’t anyone realized I’m missing? Haven’t they noticed my empty seat? I need to stop and breathe and think.
Trying to stay calm I crawl under the only tree in sight. It’s a scrawny little thing that looks as pathetic as I feel. Hopefully some car, or motorcycle or bus stops to use the outhouses soon.
Man, it is hot out here! I close my eyes and begin reciting the Gettysburg Address – anything to keep my mind off how tired, hot and thirsty I’m getting.
Is that a man’s voice calling my name? Why does he sound a million miles away?
“Ms. Kingsley, can you hear me?”
There’s that deep sexy male voice again.
It’s difficult, but I try opening my eyes. The light is bright. I squint through a half closed lids. The bluest eyes I’ve seen are staring back at me. I must be in heaven.
“Am I in heaven?” I whisper to the blue eyes.
“No Ms. Kingsley you’re in Arizona. I am Sheriff Matson. Your friends called and said you were missing. They were worried you might be stuck in an outhouse.”
“You have beautiful blue eyes.” I stammer as I squeeze open my eyes. Yep, I must be in heaven because there is a handsome man with a bottle of water looking at me.
“Here, try to take a slip of water. You’ve been in the sun for a few hours. We don’t want you getting dehydrated.”
“You have a sexy voice.” I try smiling but my lips are too dry. I must look a mess. Wouldn’t you know it, I finally I meet my knight in shining armor and I look a mess.
“Here, let’s get you into the patrol car.”
The sheriff with the blue eyes has strong arms too. Yes, I believe I really am in heaven. Sheriff Blue Eyes walks me to his car and places a bottle of water in my hand. I slide into the front seat and let out a sigh of relief. Thank goodness for air conditioning.
“Drink some water and place this cool compress on your forehead. It’ll help stabilize your body temperature. Another hour and you’d have had heat stroke for sure.”
As I begin getting my bearings I realize I am not in heaven. I’m actually feeling a bit disappointed because it sure felt like heaven in his arms.
“Are you married?” I blurt out.
“No, I’m not.”
“I was just wondering.” Now I’m embarrassed. I’m beginning to regain my senses. This handsome hunk of man just recused me from probably dying in a smelly dirty outhouse. I should be thanking him, not trying to date him.
“Have you ever been to Las Vegas? I’m headed there this week.” I announce, before I can stop myself. I’m becoming aware of sweat dripping down my back and my damp hair clinging to my face. I must look and smell awful. Obviously that doesn’t stop me from trying to pick up a handsome stranger. I must be delusional – too much heat and sun.
“As a matter a fact Ms. Kingsley I’m headed there this evening to attend a seminar.”
“Really,” I gasp, suddenly finding myself at a loss for words.
“I’ll give you my card and you call me tomorrow afternoon. I want to make sure you’re alright. Maybe we can meet for a drink or dinner?” The handsome sheriff with the blue eyes smiles at me.
“Here’s your bus.” He says, pulling into a rest area at the side of the highway.
He hands me his card with his private cell number.
“I’ll see you tomorrow. Please stay with the group so you don’t miss your bus again. It’s a long walk to Vegas.” He smiles and squeezes my hand.
All I can do is stand and watch as his car pulls away. It must be heaven because that was one heck of a way to get a date.
This is a work of fiction.
None of it is real. All names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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