as the rain accumulated against a whirling set of wipers, Steve felt
a lot less anxiety, a sense that they’d weathered the storm and
were more responsible now. No one to cover for their ass but themselves.
He glanced at Ollie who just kept flashing that Cheshire grin and he didn’t
know whether to be worried or enjoy the ride ahead. Steve had just received
a job transfer to Seattle, one he requested after a horrible break-up
with his live-in girlfriend in San Francisco. He had bet the boat on her.
Dropped everything and moved out west to make a life with his one true
love. But it went sour quick. It was one of those unbelievable, dreamy
romances where it almost seemed to good to be true. And it was. The floor
fell out before he could recover his senses and suddenly he again felt
a huge responsibility for this failure. Was it his fault? Didn’t
he try hard enough? Did he truly love her to the ends of the earth? He
certainly believed so at one time. But as the truck sped further north
he could almost see her distant heart dissipating in the rear-view mirror.
Whisked away in radial wake wash. Still, there were hard times that followed
the break-up. He felt completely lost and unfulfilled and knew he just
couldn’t stay in California. He had to go somewhere dark and enveloping.
A place that would enshroud him from reality a little bit more than the
harsh California sun. So he applied for the job in Seattle, and was shocked
when they approved with little argument. This was his big chance now,
he was 30 years old and not where he wanted to be financially, professionally.
This was his opportunity to move up the corporate ladder and show what
he could do. Establish himself in a new, beautiful city. Settle down and
meet someone new, just as soon as her face disappeared in the mirror.
He wished it would happen sooner than later.
Up ahead the rain began to let up slightly and Steve could see the border gates approaching.
"Don't screw around now, Ollie," he said sternly. "Just show them your ID and don't act like a smart-ass or they won't let us through. Or maybe they'll question us forever or something."
"I'll just tell 'em I'm heading for the famous BC Buds!" Ollie exclaimed, snickering at Mark's shifting paranoia.
"You better not, man."
There were a few moments of silence as they inched up to the gates.
"Well, if you're going to act like a dick it's better you do it now than on the way back," Steve issued. "The Canadians are a helluva lot more lax than the Americans. They'll let anybody in. But the American guards try to scare the shit out of you. Try to get you riled up so you confess to all your guilt."
"Oh, I've got some confessin' to do!" Ollie said in a slow, southern drawl. "Yup. I'm gonna tell 'em everythin'. I'll tell 'em about my sister, and my wife. . .whose one in the same!"
They both chuckled at the silliness of the joke and moved up another car length. Once at the gate, Ollie acted up only slightly, to Steve's relief. He cut a couple of quick jokes about Americans being dumber than Canadians, which the border guard surely enjoyed. Steve thought that was somewhat of a smart move on Ollie's part. And they whisked through on their way into Canada. Ollie was grinning even more now, almost licking his lips. Squirming around in anticipation for exploring the infamous head shops on Vancouver's West End. Steve began to wonder if Ollie had a problem. He hoped not.