The road trip snacks of 85 North!
We all have them.
If you work as a writer long enough, you will find yourself with a drawer (or in modern terms, a computer file folder) full of unused stories that, for one reason or another, never found a home to call their own. Sometimes it’s because of publisher or editor rejection; other times it happens because projects stall or publishers go out of business. It happens. Things do simply fall by the wayside.
Whatever the reason, things happen, and some stories fall through the cracks.
It’s a crazy business we’re in, isn’t it?
85 North is a collection of stories I wrote over the years that fell through the cracks, as it were. Every story in the book was contracted by a publisher at one time or another, but never made it to the published page for one reason or another. There are a couple of exceptions. When Falstaff Books asked about publishing this collection of stories, I added a couple of previously published pieces to round out the set.
The title story, 85 North, deals with a road trip that takes a decidedly strange turn when a routine gas stop turns out to be anything but routine. It’s also loosely based on a true story. Once the story goes into full horror mode, I embellish a lot, but the inspiration for the story has its roots in the real world.
The one thread that holds all of the wildly different stories in this collection together is that they all revolve around a trip. Sometimes that trip is straightforward, having to get from here to there, but some of the trips are to the past, the future, toward danger, away from danger, and toward bad decisions.
And what do you need on any good road trip?
Pete, Robert, Bethany, and Jill were inseparable during their high school years. Now, with college separating them, the gang takes one last road trip together, delivering Jill to her new home for the next four years. It’s also Pete’s last chance to tell her how he feels about her. Or is he already too late?
Food plays an important role in the story.
We open in the boys’ cluttered apartment, empty pizza boxes and take out containers everywhere. Ah, the life of a college student, back when we could survive on pizza, beer, and two hours of sleep a night.
The Sidewinder is a bar and grill they end up in on their last night in town before the big road trip. The sidewinder is that college town hole in the wall with greasy burgers, cheap beer, and heavy battered, deep fried onion rings with ranch dipping sauce. My mouth waters already at the thought of it. As good as the food is, what really draws crowds to the Sidewinder is the music. Local and regional acts flock to Athens, Georgia. You can sometimes catch national acts for the price of a bar band. It’s a music mecca.
Once on the road, we get the antithesis of the Sidewinder. It doesn’t have a name, but there is a diner attached to a gas station. This part of the story is true. We took the exit, which we realized wasn’t often traveled dur to the grass growing through the pavement. We crossed the bridge to the gas station and diner, the only thing on the exit.
While one friend pumped the gas, the other two of us headed toward the bathroom.
This is where things get weird.
To get to the restroom, we had to go through the diner. No worries. As soon as we crossed the threshold into the packed diner, all sounds ceased. It became eerily quiet. The diners all stopped eating and watched as we crossed the diner. No clinking silverware against plates, no nothing. It was like something out of a horror movie. If Rod Serling had been sitting at one of the booths, having a smoke and sipping on a steaming hot cup of coffee, I would not have been surprised.
After our bathroom stop, we retraced our steps as they watched us walk out. Once we were back in the gas station part, the sound of people eating resumed.
As I said, eerie.
Suffice to say, we beat a hasty retreat.
That wasn’t the end to the weirdness, but I’ll save that part for when you read the book. I can only assume that the diner was serving traditional American breakfast fare like eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, orange juice and coffee, but I was too focused on getting the hell out of there to pay that close attention. Ha! Ha!
We had considered grabbing a bit at the diner when we got off the interstate, but that option was quickly discarded. Thankfully, we had packed the usual junk food snacks and drinks so we were good until we reached our destination and could get a proper meal.
After that trip, I’ll vowed never to go on a road trip without a full stocked cooler again.
On The Road Again
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Bobby!
You can find Bobby here:
An award-winning author, Bobby Nash writes novels, comic books, short stories, novellas, graphic novels, and the occasional screenplay for a variety of publishers. Bobby is a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers and International Thriller Writers. On occasion, Bobby appears in movies and TV shows, usually standing behind your favorite actor. For more information on Bobby Nash please visit him at www.bobbynash.com, www.ben-books.com, and across social media.
About 85 North:
ROAD TRIP! There are many roads along life’s highway, paths taken or not. You come to a crossroad. Do you turn left? Do you turn right? And can you live with the consequences of that decision?
85 North is a collection of tales from Award-Winning Author Bobby Nash that heads off the beaten path into roads not yet discovered. From superheroes to robots, 85 North is full of tales of action and adventure for the modern world and beyond.
Buckle up. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
Published by Falstaff Books (http://falstaffbooks.com)
85 North is available in paperback and ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and more. You can read 85 North FREE with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.