I woke up with a mouth full of blood. Lying on my side, the hard curb cutting into my hip. I could feel my watch was gone, my wallet. The sons of bitches even took my shoes.
My fault. Everybody told me that District 2 is the most dangerous section of Ho Chi Minh City, that I should stay away from it. But that was where I had to go, because that was where he was.
I still had the postcard he sent Mom in my pocket. At least they had left me that.
I had to find out for myself.
Some truckers are psychopaths. Not in the cut-off-your-arms-and-leave-you-in-the-desert way. That’s just hitchhiker lore, same as the ghost rider and all that shit. No, I mean a guy that picks you up and then holds you captive for six hundred miles while he does a number on you, asks insinuating questions, plays good cop and bad cop at the same time. By the time we rolled into Paterson I was in tears. He’d just pulled his rig into the parking lot when I bolted into the diner and locked myself in the bathroom. I avoided looking in the mirror. Damn him.
The blizzard hit before we could get to Badger Bob’s cabin. The bullet in Roy’s leg pained him, but the cold soon took care of that, the blood freezing his trousers to the saddle so he couldn’t fall out.
Lord, it was cold. The north wind blew down that long plain with never a tree nor hill to stop it, drifts piled high as your shoulder. We was all snowblind by the third day and might have missed the cabin altogether had not Badger Bob seen us coming and fired his rifle.
He was especially happy to see our horses.
This is not the New York our father spoke of. Many things he told us have proven to be true, but he was wrong about the city itself. He attributed his success here to hard work and what I will call moral authority, that feeling that he would not be denied.
I have brought both to my work here, but it has not helped. It is a cold place, uncaring. How can one man make an impression when there are thousands standing behind him, waiting to take his place?
Even the boldest action will not pierce the indifference.