The worst thing about trying to sleep in rest areas was the pervasive orange light. Rain spattered loudly as I tossed around in the seat trying to find a place where I might get some rest. I travel a lot, in this line of work it is the only way.
Around three a.m., a cop rolled his cruiser slowly around the nearly deserted lot. Probably looking for a place to snatch some shut eye himself. I'd seen it before, they always creep into the shadows and leave their radar guns on so if another cop sees them, they think it is just a speed trap.
Those work well out here too since I-84 in Utah is probably the most desolate place in the country, especally on a Sunday night in March. Still a good chance of snow on any given night. Almost on cue the rain seemed to change to huge puffy flakes of snow. They were little snowballs more than flakes and they made an odd hushed plop as they hit my windshield.
It might sound strange to live such a solitary life. No roots, no home, no family to speak of, but it isn't all bad, I try to meet someone new every week I'm out. I've met a lot of interesting travellers too. I don't bother much with couples or families on vacations, Some one always seems to take offense at a look or a question and really, I've got enough trouble without making more for myself that way. I stick to folks travelling alone mostly, like me, because like me, they almost always want a little company when they pull off to rest.
No, I am not in that business. I'm pleasant enough to look at but I don't think I could do anything that someone would pay me for. Mostly, I talk to them. Sometimes we share a sandwich or a soft drink or on the rare occasion, maybe a bottle of beer. Only one of those though, can't have myself getting busted for DUI. When it gets cold like this, it's harder, you almost have to stand around in the building or sit in someones car. That scares me, sitting in a strangers car. It generally works out okay since I can almost always find someone who doesn't mind getting in my car to talk.
I park under the lights so it is less scary and people are just more comfortable when they sit in a lighted place. We often get a cup of hot chocolate from the vending machines, or maybe coffee. Well, look at this, a rusty old Bronco is slipping up to the snow covered parking lot. Looks like just a driver, you never know for sure though until you talk to them. Sometimes there is a sleeping passenger in back or something.
He climbs out and stretches and yawns as he stumbles toward the building, I can see him go to the mens through the window. I open the car door and peek in the Bronco, nope, no one in there. I wonder aloud if this fellow would like to unwind before he tries to nap in that rust bucket he's in. I decided to take a chance and followed him in to the building and get myself a cup of hot chocolate.
He comes out and I smile as friendly as I can and ask if he is going a long way. He nods and looks at me with bloodhot eyes that are not white at all, but a dusty rose color. I go on for a bit, you know I tell him what I'm doing where I'm heading and ask if he wants to just sit an unwind over a coffee or hot chocolate.
I love that stuff in the winter, it's smooth, sweet, and warms me inside. As we chat, I see headlight switch on and the state trooper eases out of his hiding place and comes in to the building with us. He nods and then askes the usual questions, where are we heading, do we know how bad the roads are getting and how lucky we decided to pull off before they closed the ramps until morning.
He's just checking us out, I know, my new friend knows and the trooper knows we know, but, no one panics, no ones tags are hot and there is little else he can say besides be careful if either of us decides to head on tonight.
When he steps back in the car I ask if my friend would like to go sit in the car and chat for a minute while we finish our drinks ? I have a little brandy I might add to the hot chocolate "just to help us sleep". He agrees and we walk to my car, the snow is wet and squeaks under our feet s the wind makes a low rumble in the rocky hills.
I know, I said I don't drink when I'm on the road, much, that doesn't mean that I mind if someone else does. He smiles at the suggestion and we climb in to the front seat, I start the car to keep it warm and pull a pint bottle wraped in a wrinkled brown bag from under the seat. I do have a small car so it was close quarters and I popped the lid off of his drink and poured a small amount in to his cup. I started to do my own and I guess I bumped something because the next thing I know is I'covered in hot chocolate.
I always have my towel with me when I travel. Good thing too since I can't stand to be all sticky. I wiped off the spilled drink and he asked if I'd like his. I told him that it was okay, I'd just take a drink straight from the bottle, he didn't notice that I just pretended to swallow the brandy.
I turned and reached around the seat to put the towel away and, as I did, I slipped the ten inch ice pick into my hand. I've been doin this for a long time and you know, practice does make perfect. Just as smooth as silk I turned back to the front seat and as I did I rammed all ten inches into the back of his skull, he twitched a few times and then went limp.
The snow was coming down pretty good by then and the trooper's tracks were gone in only a few minutes. I went in to the bathroom and washed the sticky hot chocolate off of my legs and hands and I think a little blood too. I was happy that the place was deserted now and I went back to the car and crept slowly along the highway until I saw a deep cut at the edge, I pulled over and dragged him out and gave him a good shove over the gaurd rail and sent him tumbling down the wall of the ravine and then, carefully smudging my foot prints I got back in my car and looked for the lights of Ogden and a warm comfortable hotel.