“Think about it Joe.”
What an odd thing to put on a billboard. I see the fine print down in the right hand corner. “66.6 FM Hell Radio”. Just coincidence that my name is Joe. I glance in the rear-view and watch the sign pass out of sight. Then I hazard a crane of my neck and make sure it’s still there falling away. Fine. Maybe I am awake.
I take a deep breath and turn back to the road ahead. With a shock of revelation I see another billboard approaching. This one has smaller print centered on it. As I get closer I begin to make out the words.
“Run to the Hills”
That song is playing right now. I feel the metallic taste of consternation at the back of my throat. I swallow hard and push a lump back down to wherever it came from. I check the rear-view and then strain my neck about again. The naked back of the thing has spray-painted words on it. I flash it to memory and turn back around. I think it said “Joe was here”. Without thinking I hit the power button to the radio. Nothing happens. The song is nearing its end as I slam the brake pedal to the floor.
I jump out and the smell of burned rubber assaults me. The cloud clears away and I look back for the sign I just passed. It should be there about two-hundred yards back or so. It’s not. I scream a long string of expletives and my voice goes hoarse not even halfway through. Bruce is screaming the last wail of the song along with the band as I jump, back into the cab and commence pummeling the dash radio with my right fist. I lose count of the blows as plastic and sparks fill the air. The next song starts without missing a beat. The cab is hazed over with thin blue smoke. Wires hang out and colors are revealed as the smoke clears. I look out and see another billboard on the right just ahead. I open my fist and bring it to my mouth which I find is open. I taste blood.
“Here You Come, There You Go. 66.6 FM Hell Radio!”
And just below that, “Wherever you go JOE.”
The Maiden album plays out to its end and I just sit there listening and fuming. I glance around occasionally and keep coming back to the sign. “Wherever you go JOE.” The phrase is looping around in my mind fueling my anger. That anger is now milling about with a growing tinge of fear. I glance at the mangled dash as the DJ speaks up.
“This is a special dedication to a close friend. He’s still far away but he should be arriving any day now. This is Type O Negative with, “Christian Woman: Body Of Christ (Corpus Christi)/To Love God/J.C. Looks Like Me”. Turn it up Joe!”
I slammed the accelerator to the floor and threw my hands up. The truck stayed on course. I screamed with what was left of my voice and lashed out at everything within reach. The driver side window succumbed to my elbow. The rearview snapped off its mount. The island between the seats lifted off from its hinges and took the passenger side window with it on its way to the shoulder. The steering wheel went red with my blood but I felt no pain as I shattered both hands to pulpy stumps. Blood and tears mixed in my eyes. I could not wait for the truck to leave the road, but it stayed between the lines.
After what seemed like, and probably was, an eternity, I stopped yelling, set the cruise control with the speedometer maxed out and saw the temperature gauge just shy of red. Another song was playing now but I was hardly listening. The truck was guiding its self. I realized I was just along for the ride. The sun was still high overhead and the tank was still full.
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