Thread: Utopia Bound
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:20 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Sarzana,Italy
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Default Re: Utopia Bound

Chapter six
A Roadside Surprise
It was very early in the morning when they pulled up to the fuel pump. They emptied their boots and collected a total of eighteen dollars. Then they emptied their pockets and found another two dollars and eighty five cents.
Tom said. “Put ten dollars worth of gas in the truck, then you go have coffee and I will buy a half pint of Southern Comfort to settle my nerves , then we will get a cot , a hot shower and have a nice snooze. Tonight we will make music and some cash. Things are always good when you walk on the sunny side of life Billy boy.”
By ten AM, the bottle of whisky was empty and Tom was snoring loudly. So loud, that Billy found it impossible to sleep. He got up and went out to the truck to feed and water Gimpy. Then he decided to take her for a walk and realized that she had no collar and he had no leash. He rummaged around in the box of used clothing and found a belt that he cut off and made it into a collar, then found some twine for a leash. He decided that it would do until he had money to buy her a nice one, and a matching leash.
The traffic was heavy and the air smelled of diesel fumes as they walked, but he was happy just to be taking his dog for their first walk together. Gimpy was happy to stop and investigate all the new smells along the way. They had gone about five miles when he decided to return to the truck stop.
He waited for a break in the traffic, then crossed the highway and started back. They had not gone a mile when Billy saw a bank note caught in a clump of trash and weeds, He picked it up and to his amazement, it was a one- hundred dollar bill half covered in roadside rubbish. Then he found another banknote near it. Excited he picked it up, next to it he found a twenty and a fifty. He put them in his pocket, and then continued searching the ditch and trash along the roadside for more. When he looked up he saw Gimpy pulling at a black packsack that was buried under a pile of trash down in the ditch and she was barking furiously. But he ignored her as he continued to search.
When he was sure that there were no others to be found he went down into the ditch, picked up the dirt covered packsack she had found and opened it.
It was full of money. The amount of money frightened him, but the pistol that was with it terrorized him. He shut the bag, and looked around to see if anyone was watching.
He saw no one, and quickly put the packsack over his shoulders as he said a prayer to Saint Joseph; Then yelled to the sky; “Thank you God.”
He then called Gimpy and they went back to the Flying J, walking along the sunny side of life and nervously looking back over his shoulder. As he was walking he wondered how much more was in the packsack .Certainly it contained at least several thousand dollars; maybe even more.
Then he remembered Tom saying “There are a multitude of things you don’t know about me.” By the time he got back to the Flying J. Billy had decided he was not going to tell Tom about the packsack.
Instead he went to the truck, opened the passengers door took off the packsack, and looked to see if he was being observed .When he saw no one, he opened it and took out several bills and also put them in his pocket. Then he shut the packsack, slid it under the seat, locked the truck and took Gimpy with him to see if Tom was up.
When he opened the door to their room he found Tom still in the cot.
He yelled.”Tom! Get up, we are going to the restaurant and I am going to order for us the best porterhouse steak they have.” Without opening his eyes Tom groaned and said. “Donīt yell, my head hurts, and don’t lie. I am not in the mood for jokes.”
“I am serious Tom, I have more than enough money and we have not had a good meal in two days.”
That got Tomīs attention, but he still lay on the cot as he tried to shake to fog from his hangover. “What have you done Billy? Don’t tell me you have sold my new Mandolin or Gimpy”. “No Tom I haven’t done anything except to take Gimpy for a walk and find this money along the roadside in a ditch. Now will you get up, I am starving. Open your bloodshot eyes and look at this beautiful hundred dollar bill. And there is more, three hundred and seventy more”
Tom rolled over and opened one eye, looked at the money Billy was waving in his face, then he opened the other and sat up, “Sweet mother of Jesus. You are not joking. Give it to me to look at.
It must be counterfeit; no one throws good money out the window. Tom studied the bill and decided it was real after he saw the magnetic stripe embedded in it. He groaned, and then he got out of the cot to splash cold water on his face. Ten minute later they were in the restaurant and had ordered two porterhouse steaks with all the trimmings, black coffee for Tom, and a raw burger for Gimpy
“Tom, can you explain what is so important about Utopia, I want to know"? Billy said as he drank his second cup of coffee, and finished the last bite of steak.
“Billy, Utopia is a very special small town, and the people who live there want to keep it like that. Two years ago representatives from Coco Cola showed up and wanted to drill artesian wells, and put in a bottling plant
When they presented this plan to the mayor, he held a town meeting...Coco Cola was willing to build new roads for transporting the water, build a new state of the art school and gymnasium and give all the residents a large sum of money. The meeting lasted five minutes before the townīs residents decided they want to stay a small town and did not want Coco Colaīs trucks and equipment destroying the harmony of Utopia. They threw them out and told them not to return.
I had a half brother who lived there, that I loved… one day…he was drunk and went riding on his Harley, and it got him killed. I inherited the small piece of land he had there .
It is located along the banks of the Sabinal river, which has some of the most beautiful cypress trees growing along it. It also has the best bass and trout fishing in Texas...That River flows from springs one hundred mile to the north. The water in this river is purified by limestone. It is the purest water in Texas, and it needs no filtration, that makes it a very desirable product to sell.
There are two things that are essential for life, water and air .Now you cannot bottle air but you surly can bottle water. It so happens that there is an artesian spring on my piece of land. The time I spent in prison gave me time to think of a way to make money by bottling Utopia water, and then promoting it to the tourist that come year round. I have some friends in Utopia, if I keep the operation small no one will object. A small bottle of water sells for around a dollar and cost less than ten cents to produce so you can see that a good profit could be made .The only fly in the ointment is the fact that I don’t have the money and my credit with any bank is zero. But Utopia is still a long way away and we have Saint Joseph looking over our shoulders. Something to make money will turn up.”Billy nodded his head in agreement as he said, “I think you are right Tom.”
After they had eaten, they went out to the truck and filled the gas tank, and watered Gimpy, and then they got into the cab. Billy drove onto the highway; suddenly he stopped: shut down the engine and looked at Tom as he said.
”Tom, you have saved me from the downward spiral into hell that I was heading into. You have made me believe in myself, and I shall not forget you for that, but I don’t think we can continue together if you are going to drink your health away. I want to go to Texas, and I want to believe that we can develop the Utopia water bottling idea of yours; I know that you are a good man and I trust you. I do have the education needed to manage a project like this, but I cannot do it if you are going to waste your life sucking on a bottle of booze. We have more than enough money to make it to Texas now. Or I have enough money to leave and find my way alone. Is there any chance you would be willing to join Alcohol Anonymous if I go on with you to Texas? They have helped many a good person from disaster.”
Tom looked down at the dog in his lap, then he looked Billy straight in the eyes as he said “Billy, I have been thinking about this ever since you got into this truck. I lost my half brother Rodger to booze and my father’s marriage failed because of it. And because of it I now have no driving license. And now you have brought my drinking to the surface .I honestly don’t know if I am capable of restraint but I want to make the effort... I give you my word as a Texan. I will give the AA a try. Now you can put this old truck in gear, and let’s head for Utopia”. He took out the harmonica and started to play the “Yellow Rose of Texas”, while Gimpy barked and howled in harmony
"What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in everything"-Lawrence Sterne
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