Andres Calzadilla discovered his passion for writing fiction at a young age and began writing short stories, as well as creating entire worlds for those stories. This eventually led him to pursue a career at Full Sail University, where he continues to work towards his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Entertainment. Other interests of his include reading, video games, and movies. He currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.
FLASH FICTION STORY
It’s a dark, grim Winter night. I’d been walking on the side of the road for what feels like forever through the cold of Maine, wearing the most raggedy clothes. The only thing I have with me is my backpack that’s only filled with the bare essentials, and even then, it still weighs as if I have a bunch of cinder blocks stuffed in there. As I continue dragging my feet to the next pit stop, I hear the loud engine of a pickup truck.
I’ve tried trying to hitch a good handful of rides, with no luck, so far. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a shot once again. So, I stopped dead in my tracks, and as the truck continued to approach me, I stuck my thumb out hoping to get the driver’s attention. As the bright headlights shine in my face, blinding my vision, I can hear the truck slow down more and more until it’s come to a full stop next to me.
“Ya need a ride, son?”, The driver said.
His voice sounds very rough and raspy, as if he smokes a hundred packs on cigarettes a day, and he looks like he hasn’t slept in days.
“Uh, yeah, I do.”, I said.
At this point, I was starting to get a little nervous. I’ve definitely worse people in my life, but this guy just looked plain creepy. His hair was a mess, and he had some of the dirtiest clothes I’ve ever seen. I mean, seriously, you would think that he sleeps overnight in junkyards. Nevertheless, he was nice enough to offer me a ride.
“Well hop on in, then.”, He said as he patted the passenger seat with his free hand.
I reluctantly climbed into the truck’s passenger seat. Immediately, an indescribable smell hit my nose like a freight train. The inside of this man’s truck smelled like an ugly combination of cigarette smoke, whisky, and vomit. There was an empty bottle of bourbon and cigarette packs on the floorboard beneath me. Once I got comfortable, the man started driving once again.
“My name’s Randall, by the way.”, The driver said.
“Chris.”, I said.
We’d been driving for several minutes at this point, but I was still nervous. I sit there in my seat trying not to focus on the negatives of the situation. I needed a ride and this guy was nice enough to give me one. It’s as simple as that. There is nothing to be nervous about.
“Where ya headed to, son?”, He asked. His voice once again sounding extremely raspy.
“It’s…a long story.”, I said.
I spent about the next half hour or so talking to him about my current situation. I don’t know if I really trusted him though, all things considered. As we continued driving, a light rain shower began. The rain drops hitting the truck like little pellets. Randall went on to tell me about his current situation. His family just left him without any prior warning. Just like that. That would definitely explain the bourbon, and why he currently looks so rough in general.
“Damn, Randall.”, I said with genuine sympathy for him. “Can’t imagine what that’s like. What do you do for a living?”
“Well…I’m actually an Uber driver”
“Oh, that’s cool!”, I said before realizing that I didn’t have any money to pay him. “Um…wait…don’t Ubers have to be requested for, though? Why did you just offer me a ride?”
“Mm…you seem like a good kid.”, He said as he looked over at me for a split second, grinning. “Wouldn’t want you to end up like me…”
For the remainder of the car ride, we continue conversing about random topics and things. After about an hour and some change, we finally make it to my destination. The breaks screeching as we slowly come to a halt.
“Well, we here.”, Randall said solemnly. “I guess this is where we part ways.”
“Yeah, I guess so. Thanks, Randall.”, I said as we I shake his hand. “Take care of yourself.”
“You too, kid”
I gathered my things and exited the car. Once I was fully out of the car, I straightened my clothes out, and slanged my back over my shoulder. I glanced back at Randall as he drove away. Despite his appearance, Randall ended up being one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Guess that goes to show, you really can’t judge a book by its cover.