Another rare Saturday update! Perhaps I should tag it as an NFT and sell them? Naah; just buy the edited book when it comes out. As I think I may be sneaking up on a stopping point, along those lines I began thinking about cover designs. Aurie, obviously front and center, eyes bright gold. First I saw her at a table, with Jimmy and Colour behind her but that seemed way too passive. Now I’m thinking having her “berserker scene,” when she killed 27 pirates. More of an action shot. That will push her friend and boyfriend onto the back. Not sure what they will be doing.
I was as stuck as Jimmy in the segment below for two days. I’ve a truck and a minivan, both old enough to buy alcohol, so it didn’t enter my mind what most modern cars have by way of smart screens and telecommunications. Recall: Canada survived the Breakup. Their main problem was interning/shooting refugees from the starving US, so their grid still works. So I sort of wrote myself in when he says, “I am so effing stupid,” as that was how I felt.
Now with a car, he decided against the complication of the freight yard. Fifty klicks, he thought, checking his speed and mirrors, following the signs to the Honoré Mercier Bridge, crossing the river to the south. A few more corrections had Jimmy due south on the A15.
There really aren’t any border controls anymore. We’ve kind of started thinking of upper New York as a part of Greater Canada once things stabilized after the US fell apart. But I bet there are still checkpoints. And if they figure out my body is not on that plane, they will start looking.
So where to go? His thoughts continued as he sped up to 100 kph. I’ve no map of this area and am not familiar with it. I think Lake Champlain is a bit to the east. And it would probably be better to be on a side road than this highway.
Ahead, Jimmy saw the sign of the border in two kilometers and the last exit for services right before that. He signaled to turn off and then east on a road called Mnt Guay. Whatever the hell that means. Some trees, some farmland. A sign indicating a golf course to the south. No, walking around without clubs, I’d stand out. At a four-way stop, he looked at the clock on the dash: just after two. Many hours until dark. His eyes tracked just lower to the screen there. Screen?
“I am so effing stupid,” he breathed. Used to his ancient truck, he had forgotten what modern vehicles could offer. Jimmy pulled well off the road and started mashing buttons until he got to a map.
“So there’s a checkpoint here and another one here, but way smaller than on the highway,” he mused. “Still, all it takes is one radio message and they will stop and search everyone. Especially a man alone.”
A truck much like his old one pulled up next to him. First in French then passing English, the old man at the wheel asked him if he was lost. Jimmy smiled and said he had just stopped for a piss break in the woods, there. With a wave, the geezer drove off.
This means I cannot stay here too long or all these locals will wonder who I am and what I’m up to. Dammit. He looked at the map again. So, golf course, quarry, checkpoint, more open farm, another checkpoint, then no good way to get to the lake. Not that I could steal a boat once I got there. Wait. What’s this, just behind that first checkpoint? From this image, it looks like a small abandoned factory. All dirt and gravel… and nothing but fifty meters of forest south to the old border.
If they hear me at the checkpoint, Jimmy thought more, putting the car in gear and turning south, they might want to know who it is. If I see no one sees me coming south, I’ll kill the engine and pull off to the left, into the trees if I must, then wait for dark.
“It’s not a plan a general would make,” he said between his teeth, missing Aurie, “but it’s the best I can do, Miss Princess.”
Off the road fifty meters before the border post, Jimmy turned off the car’s motor and manhandled it left, then a sharp right. He braked quickly as there was a rusted, overgrown gate in front of him, and crashing it would make too much noise. He got out and carefully, quietly, shut the door after tossing the keys onto the seat.
“Sorry, Miss Aris Rent-A-Car lady,” he whispered. “I guess I owe you.”
The chainlink fence next to the gate was down in several places, so he stepped over and into the factory grounds. In-person, he realized it was no more than a small repair or machine shop, abandoned long before the Breakup. In case one or more of the border guards liked to take a nap in the woods behind their tiny building, he angled around the east side of the rusted shop, stopping to take a leak before settling under some trees a few meters away.
I’ll wait until nightfall, then get through those trees to the south. So far as I know, it’s not land claimed by anyone. The US is long gone, Canada – wait, did I just think of my country in past tense? – polices it a little, and I don’t think it is a part of the Northern Federation. So long as a Canadian cop doesn’t grab me, I’ll just keep making my way south. As long as this little cash and the dead guy’s plastic hold out.
Jimmy thought for a moment about going back to the car to look at the electronic maps some more but decided the risk was too great. He leaned his back against a tree and closed his eyes. Remembering the night with her.