The sound of crashing waves is drowned out by the roar of the truck’s engine. The driver peers out the passenger side window at the cerulean sea and sighs. “You know, today’d be a perfect day to go swimming,” he says to the doll sitting on his dashboard.
The doll, a hula girl toy he bought at a sleazy truck stop, doesn’t respond. Instead, it simply shakes back and forth, moving thanks to the vibrations coming from the truck’s engine. “You’re right,” the driver says, “Leeroy’ll get mad if we’re late.”
The driver hears a banging noise coming from the back of the truck. “That’s wonderful,” he says dryly. “Something must’ve came loose.”
The driver pulls over to the side of the highway. “I’ll be back in a sec,” he says as he grabs a toolbox sitting in the truck’s passenger seat.
Cars drive by the stopped truck, ignoring it as they go on their daily commute. As far as they know, nothing about the truck is noteworthy. The truck, a rusty old pickup who’s blue paint has faded from years of use, is thoroughly uninteresting. The midsized silver trailer it pulls is similarly bland.
After a few moments of work, the driver returns to his seat. “Sorry about that,” he says. “Took a bit longer than I expected.”
The truck pulls back onto the highway. The driver stares out at the sea once more and sighs. “Perfect day to go swimming,” he says. “It’s a perfect day to go swimming and I have to haul a shipment for Leeroy.”
“God, it’s hot outside. Now, if I was swimming, that wouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately, I’m stuck hauling a shipment a thousand miles.”
The driver wipes the sweat from his brow and looks at the hula doll. “I’d roll down the window for us, but I don’t want you to fall out the window again,” he says while staring at a crack on the doll’s face. “Can’t have anything bad happening to my little girl.”
“I can’t believe he gave me the truck with the broken AC. For crying out loud, it’s the middle of summer! It’s the middle of summer, it’s a perfect day to go swimming, and I’m hauling a shipment for Leeroy.”
“See, that’s what happens when you follow your word. People catch on and start abusing your kindness. You think Leeroy has Dave haul cargo for him on nice days like today?”
The doll’s head shakes back and forth. The driver assumes that this movement, rather than being caused by the pothole-filled road, is a sign that the doll agrees with him. The driver smiles. “It’s nice to have someone who gets it,” he says.
The driver distracts himself by fiddling with the truck’s old radio. He flips through uninformative talk shows, repetitive pop songs, nostalgic hits from his youth, and the occasional advertisement in his search for something interesting. After a few moments of searching, he stumbles upon a news station in the middle of telling some breaking news.
…her captor is currently unknown. The state police are offering a hundred-thousand dollar reward for any information leading to the apprehension of the culprit. We now go to Keith Jameson, who’s live at the scene.
After a brief pause, the voice on the radio switches to that of a different man.
I’m currently here with June’s mother, Tina. Tina, what can you tell us about your daughter’s disappearance?
The voice changes once more, this time to the voice of a distraught woman.
I can’t believe that something like this could happen. I mean, I heard about those other girls, but I never thought this could happen to June. I can’t stop thinking about the horrible things that must be happening to her-
The driver mutes the radio. “I hate the news,” he says. “It’s always crap like this. Some sob story involving a barely literate moron bawling about something horrible. I don’t get why people just eat this crap up. Don’t they have better things to do than cry for people they don’t know?”
The doll shakes its head. “Yeah, I guess you’re right,” the driver says. The cretins who listen to this crap probably don’t have anything better to do.”
The driver takes another look at the ocean and sighs. “You know, today’d be a perfect day to go swimming,” he says, still looking at the sea.
Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a car driving far below the speed limit. He quickly swerves to avoid it and slams his fist on the horn. “The nerve of some people,” he says. “I can’t believe I almost died in a car accident because some asshole doesn’t know how to drive!”
Before he can rant more about his dislike for bad drivers, he hears the sound of sirens. He mumbles a few curse words and pulls over to the side of the road. A portly sheriff with a bushy brown mustache knocks on the truck’s window. “Nice weather we’re having,” the driver says nervously while rolling down his window. “Perfect day to go swimming.”
The sheriff blows a puff of smoke in the driver’s face. He stares at the driver for a few moments. The sheriff pulls the cigarette out of his mouth, drops it, and stomps on it. “License and registration please,” he says.
“Of course,” the driver says quickly.
He reaches into his glove compartment and grabs his paperwork. The sheriff looks the papers over, a stoic expression on his face. “Do you know why I pulled you over?” he asks.
“I’m not really sure, sir,” the driver says. “I’m positive I was under the speed limit.”
“You passed a car half a mile back without using your blinker,” the sheriff says.
“I did? I’m so sorry about that, sir. I promise it won’t happen again, sir.”
“I noticed you’re draggin’ a pretty big trailer,” the sheriff says. “Sure the lights are hooked up?”
“I’m not sure, sir.”
The driver exits the truck and walks around to the connector for the trailer. As he checks the wiring, making sure that the trailer’s lights are properly connected to those of the truck, he hears a loud banging noise coming from within the trailer. The driver winces.
The sheriff places his hand on his holster and stares down the driver. “You hear something?” he asks.
“I don’t think so, sir,” the driver replies.
“Sounded like it came from inside the trailer.”
“Mind opening the trailer for me?”
“Of course not, sir. Just give me a minute.”
The driver walks back to the truck and grabs his toolbox. He carries the toolbox to the back door of the trailer and opens it up, grabbing a key ring sitting within the toolbox. He undoes a pair of padlocks sealing the door and opens the trailer.
The driver opens the door of the trailer, revealing a large pile of stacked boxes. “I’m helping a friend move,” the driver says.
“That doesn’t explain the banging,” the sheriff replies.
“You know what I think it is?” the driver says, “One of the boxes must have a hole in it.”
The driver reaches into the trailer and grabs a box. Quickly and carefully, he cuts a hole in the back of the box using his keys. The sheriff doesn’t notice this deception. The driver pulls the box out of the trailer. As he moves the heavy box, a ceramic mug falls and shatters on the ground.
“Dammit!” the driver shouts, in fake outrage. “John’s gonna be pissed when he finds out I broke half of his dishware.”
The sheriff walks back to his car and leaves the driver alone with his truck. With a smile on his face, the driver crawls into the back of the truck, toolbox in hand. He sneaks behind the boxes, moving to the back of the trailer.
In the back of the trailer lies a small oak coffin, chained shut. The driver opens his toolbox. Inside lies a gun, a flashlight, and a large wrench. At the bottom of the box lies a clear box containing four syringes, three of them empty. The driver grabs the flashlight and wrench.
He unlocks and opens the coffin. Within lies a young girl. Her hands and feet are bound and duct tape covers her mouth. When she sees the driver, she begins crying.
The driver shines the flashlight in the girl’s eyes. “Now, Juney, I told you to be quiet,” he says. “Do you remember that?”
The girl’s head shakes back and forth. The driver assumes that this movement, rather than being caused by the girl’s attempts to free herself from her bindings, is a sign that she disagrees with him. The driver smacks the girl in the face with his wrench, creating a large gash.
“Now, Juney,” he says, “I don’t like being called a liar. I told you to stop making noise. Moreover, I told you that I would punish you if you made another sound. Now, I don’t want to beat you with this wrench, but I am a man who follows his word.”
Ten minutes later, the driver walks back to the truck. He opens the door and brushes the head of the hula doll. “Sorry about that,” he says. “Took a bit longer than I expected.”
The driver pulls back onto the highway and continues his journey. He peers out the passenger side window at the cerulean sea and sighs. “You know, today’d be a perfect day to go swimming.