November 16, 2003
"I'm telling you, that bus is your last chance! There is nothing for you here in this town. You get on that bus!"
If eastern Nevada is a turd hole, then Wells is the turd. Some people are damned to Wells by having the misfortune of being born there. Others simply have the rotten luck of getting stuck there. Only the masochists choose to stay.
What on earth would possess those kids to not take the Greyhound to Elko was beyond her comprehension. They didn't seem crazy. For all she knew, they've never even been to Wells, much less heard of it, so you couldn't blame them for being a little slow. And it's not like they wanted their car to break down coming through the hills east of Wells. But there was nothing in Wells. Elko had everything.
She was working behind the counter when they first pulled into the parking lot of the 4 Way Casino / Cafe. Some casino. More like a gas station with a couple slot machines. But her Vegas dreams were long forgotten, and she had long since resigned herself to her fate as a gas station attendant. So when they they walked in the door, she asked "Which pump?" without so much as firing a neuron.
There was a flurry of activity inside her head during the following moments as they told their tale of woe. As far as she was concerned, these kids getting stranded was the biggest thing to hit Wells since sliced bread. For the first time in her life, her mission became clear. She knew she might never make it out of this town. But there was no way in Wells these kids were going stay here. Not on her watch. The first thing she did was call Skip.
"Ok, start 'er up," said Skip as he peered under the hood. And as soon as she started up, he shouted back, "Shut 'er off! Shut 'er off!" Skip scowled at the engine. "Yeah, looks like she threw a rod." When the young man gave him a blank stare, he explained that they would need a new motor. "So we're hosed," said the young man. "I mean, the van is totally pooched." Skip returned the stare.
He gave them his card and said that if they needed to be towed or anything, he'd be happy to help them out. But as far as getting the car fixed, they'd have to go up to Elko. Skip drove off with into the night, and once again she was alone with the kids.
But her mission did not end with Skip, and she knew that she could still help them. But first they had to get out of Wells. She explained that in Elko, the land of opportunity, they would find what they needed. Hertz, Amtrack, and the Jackpot Hayden Airport were just a few of the options they would have. But the only chance they had was to catch the Greyhound. All she needed was one quick phone call, and within two minutes the bus pulled into the gas station. She may have been condemned to Wells, but there was no question in anyone's mind that she held dominion over Greyhound.
But the kids had other ideas.Posted by jon at November 16, 2003 9:39 AM