A large silver bus heaves to a halt and two men get off at a city stop. Two car dealerships stand on either side of a main street. A slick city dealer is leaning on a real beauty. He begins to call to the two travelers. “Hey, over here. So you’ve decided to get started? Step right up! Have you ever seen anything like this in your life?” Both men walk over to the shiny modern design. The dealer opens the door to reveal the glorious untouched interior. The new car smell permeates their nostrils. It’s allure calls to their inner desire as only a new car can do.
“Wow,” the first man moved closer. “Look at that. Is that real leather?”
“Nothing but,” The dealer rubs his fingers over the suede hide. “Have a seat. Get on in here, try her out.”
The salesman on the opposite side points to a large sign above his own lot, “Honest John,” it reads. “Be careful,” he calls out.
The first man waves him off and slides behind the instrument panel, his hands grasp the wheel. His eyes begin to take in all the digital faces and buttons that control the many choices for travel and comfort. He pulls a lever and a voice asks, “Destination, please?” A map materializes on a display screen.
The second man who has just been a silent observer, begins to look around. He focuses his vision on the sales lot across the street. The man standing in front of the small office takes his hands out of his pockets and waves to the potential customer. The second man begins to walk across the street.
“Hey Mister, that salesman ain’t got nothing over there.” The slick dealer beckons to his likely customer. “His models only go on the narrow dirt roads, just junk. You can only drive on the wide paved roads with my vehicles because we own them. We got the best of everything, fuel stations, restaurants, gambling casinos, shows– the works. I think you’ll be surprised.” He pulls out a set of gold keys and dangles them in the air. The flash of the neon sign behind the dealer mirrors it’s message on the polished surface of the inviting set. “Ride of Your Life” the letters spell. The message resonates in the mind of man one.
The second man just shrugs and continues his approach to the salesman on lot two. He shakes his head to the owner. “I just don’t trust that guy.”
The second car salesman agrees. “He’s leading people wrong.”
“So you’re on the dirt road?” The customer leans his head to the side and looks behind the lot. “Where does your road lead?”
“Oh, to a beautiful place, buddy, look,” he leads him beyond a group of trees to the road’s entrance. Far in the distance, seemingly above the land, shrouded in a cover of clouds, a barely visible image unfolds in the mist. It looks like a city. Every now and then, a cloud parts and a hint of glory escapes.
“Gee, that looks great! No surprises?”
“No, the closer you get the better you see,” he offers the customer a no-nonsense, decent auto with practical appeal. “Some controls, but nothing too fancy, get you where your going. The road’s a little bumpy, but very pleasant, green fields, flowers, nice and peaceful.” He offers the silver keys and a paper map, “The Road of Life” it reads.
The wide-eyed customer accepts the items and begins his journey. As foretold, his road has a bump and even a pothole here and there. The “Rest Stop,” sign is a welcome site, “Food and Fuel.”
“Home Cooking ” is brightly painted on the clean restaurant window.
Over the tall chain link fence he sees his former traveling companion in his fancy surroundings.
The paved wide-roader waves. “Hey, you got took by that ‘Honest John.’
What were you thinking? Man, this is the life, she drives like a dream, smooth, lighted highways. What do you do at night? You got to pull over, right?”
The narrow-roader threads his fingers through the links in the fence and squints at the flashing lights up ahead. “Where you going?”
“I don’t know,” a lady walks up and hands the wide-roader a drink. “Its got to be a great place if the road and amenities are any clue. See ya, got to get back.”
“Yeah, I got to go too, get some food.” He walks back to his car.
An attendant is holding out his keys. “She’s all full up, running fine.”
“How much further, do you know?”
The service attendant looked up with the bluest eyes anyone had ever seen. “Not too much. You’re getting real close. Just hang in there. Its kind of lonely at times, but well worth it when you get there.” They both look at the man on the other side of the fence as he goes into the gaming casino.
“Bring me another drink!” He rolls the dice. “I love to take my chances,” he winks at the lady at his side. “Hey, why not come along with me? I got a real special ride outside.”
“No, she has to stay here for now,” the casino dealer pulls in his chips. “Where you’re going you have to go alone, but she’ll see you there.
Won’t you Missy?”
“Oh yeah, I’m going there soon. Great place, the dealer here’s been there, ain’t ya dealer?”
“Oh yeah, I lived there for quite some time. Then a kindly couple with a garden helped me get this place.”
“Well, your sure its a nice place, right?”
“Rest assured, just look at all I have here.”
“Real nice dealer, real nice.”
“How can it be bad?” The Miss gives him a hug. “You get what you give.
You ain’t been bad to anybody right?”
“You said you like taking chances,” dealer offers the dice. “Its a new adventure.”
“Coffee, Mister?” The waitress points to a cup.
“Yes, please. I’ll just sit at the counter.”
“I wish those wide-roaders would learn some manners and keep it down.”
She pours the steaming liquid. “Its always like that. I guess its all they’ll ever have.”
“What do you mean?”
“Why… their destination.”
“Where are they going?”
“Don’t you know?”
“Really, then what keeps you on the straight and narrow?”
“I guess I’m suspicious of what doesn’t have rules. Anything I’ve ever seen that works well and is rewarding has some kind of regulations, limitations. Besides I’ve been watching. They’re having fun, but I see no peace. The closer I get to my destination, the more peaceful I feel.”
They look out the window.
The narrow-roader continues his journey. Down the road he gets a flat. He whistles as he exchanges the old tire for another that the service station attendant supplied, just in case. He looks at the beautiful countryside and the city that is now very close. It can be seen more clearly, though still in the clouds. He is happy. He picks a flower and puts it in his button hole.
“Stupid attendant! Didn’t he check these tires! I got a flat,” he whines to the female voice coming from his courtesy service device.
“If you can’t make it to your destination, Sir, there’s an automated station about half a mile away.”
Clunk, clunk, the wide-roader pulls to the side. He gets his tire changed by a robot, strolls over to a vending machine and gets a drink to nurse his hangover. “This will fix me up.” He resumes his trip.
“One Mile to Your Destination” the road sign reads.
“Last Chance to Cross Over,” another states.
“Not for me!” He takes a drink, floors the gas, and laughs. The plain car gets back on the road and starts up a hill to the city.
A sign reads, “Welcome.”
Another, “You’ve Made a Great Choice, Didn’t Take a Chance.”
Now the fancy car starts up his hill. “Point of No Return” greets him.
“We’ve Got You Now!” “Sucker,” he reads as he reaches the top and looks over, now in horror. “God No!”
“Right,” Demon hands open the car door. “NO, GOD.”
The second man hears the screams but he can’t see the other man. He looks wide-eyed at the site before him. Angels open his door and usher him into eternity with streets of gold that reflect the flashing sign, “Your Final Destination.”
Your final question?
What will be your final answer?
Contributed by Marjeana Martin BlueAngelBabie@aol.com