Winner! The Writer's Cramp 4/27/22 W/C 578
Today is the day of our big trip. We’re on the way to the snow-covered mountains of Montana. But first we need to go through the desert of Nevada.
The freeway traffic jam gave me time to peruse the map, because I still love to study a paper map. It gives me time to plan, see where I’ve been, know where I’m going. So I turn to Nevada.
“Let’s stop in this town,” I suggest to Mike.
He takes a glance. “Rachel?”
“Yes, Rachel. Like your mother. Why not? It looks like we can get there from Las Vegas. Just a short day trip. Then go through Tonopah. You know we like to explore. Why no? We have nothing to lose but time.”
Traffic starts to move. I plot the highways. We can make this work. So we make our way to Las Vegas, stay a few nights and gamble a few bucks, see a few shows, eat at a few buffets, sleep in an uncomfortable hotel bed. Then it’s on the road to Rachel.
A desert rest stop in Alamo for a fast food lunch gives us a chance to stretch our legs and reconfirm the directions to Rachel.
“Excuse me,” I ask the person giving me fries and a burger. “How far to Rachel?”
She looked at me with a bemused expression. “Um. Well. Depends which way you want to go. It could take a few miles, it could take a few hours. Or you could be looking at a few hundred thousand million miles and a life-changing experience. Here’s your change. $4.25.”
I wondered for a moment what that meant as we walked to a booth.
We are surprised to hear that the ‘town’ of Rachel has of last count a grand total of 48 residents. It is also has the Extraterrestrial highway, Route 375. But that all makes sense as we enter Rachel.
Seems we’ve entered another realm. There are a few scattered homes, some broken down buildings, a few beat-up trucks and cars and a highway that stretches out forever. That highway has an interesting sign.
“Do you really want to go this way? Ever watch X-Files?” Mike peruses the sign. He surveys the geography. “I think we need to turn around, go back to Vegas.
“You chicken, live dangerously. Let’s go. I’m not afraid of any aliens. Fake news.”
We drove on, cautiously I must say. But we made it down the E.T. highway and on to Tonopah. Then eventually to the mountains of Montana.
But in the news the other day I caught the tail end of a story from Nevada. Seems the entire town of Rachel disappeared one night.
“Mike, come listen to this!” I sat down and listened to the talking heads on the network news show. He joined me on the couch.
“And that’s all we know folks. The entire town of Rachel, Nevada is no more tonight. What once was a tiny enclave of 48 souls plus a few cows has been wiped off the face of this earth. No evidence of any structure remains. All that is left is an old highway sign. Perhaps that talk of Area 51 is true.” And just like that, the broadcast ended, the TV went black. Our lights blinked a few times, then went off. The house shook and began to rise into the air. That’s all I remember of our last days on Earth.