“Low Road”: Chapter 18

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Don’t worry. We’re almost done with this shit.

Low Road was the only novel-sized draft I’ve written. I finished it three years ago. Until recently, it was the only story I’ve ever completed. For the last several months, I’ve been editing down Low Road, trying to make it presentable because the first draft was complete shit. But because it was the only book I’ve written, I needed to see this thing through.

Recap: Rod Townshend is an alcoholic and an asshole. He’s also been suffering from a variety of mysterious health problems. Rod unfortunately was ran out of his northeast Oklahoma town by an ex-lover. So he grabbed his reluctant girlfriend, Taryn, and the two set off to California.

Chapter 18

Taryn sat silently. She lit up her pipe and handed it over to me.

We reached the Panhandle at around 8. I noticed a sign that pointed towards Liberal, Kansas. My mother lived there. I thought about visiting her one last time. Instead, we pulled off into a trashy motel in Guymon. I laid down on the bed. Taryn continued to smoke weed and watch TV.

“You should probably call your cousin. Tell her that we’re going to be there in a day or two.”, I told her.

Taryn just nodded. I tried to sleep. Taryn turned the TV off laid down beside me. I put my arm around her but she shrugged it off. I rolled over and closed my eyes.

The next morning, Taryn wasn’t there. I sprang out of bed and walked outside. The truck was missing. I tried not to panic. I went to the lobby and asked if they’ve seen her. They shrugged. I went to the truck stop nearby. Same story. I called her cell phone. No answer. I went back to the room. My heart was pounding uncontrollably. I drank some water. But I continued to sweat. I must have passed out soon after.

I woke up in the hospital. Tubes were tied to me in every which way. My heart rate monitor started going off. Then a nurse rushed in.

“Mr. Townshend, please be calm. The doctor will be with you soon.” The nurse said.

“What the fuck happened?!”

“Just wait for the doctor.”

A doctor came in. He checked a few things on my monitor, looked in my eyes, and all the other things that doctors do.

“You had a heart attack. Apparently, a room attendant found you.”

“What? How did this happen?”

“Your cholesterol levels were through the roof. Poor diet, heavy drug use, no exercise, and excessive alcohol consumption will do that to you. Your liver is shot to shit Mr. Townshend. You’re a probably an alcoholic. You might need rehab. You will definitely need to attend some classes. Most likely AA.”

“I’m not an alcoholic.”

The doctor laughed. He pulled up a seat next to my bed.

“You’re only fooling yourself. Keep this shit up and you’re off to an early grave. You’re 25, Mr. Townshend. Jesus Christ. Slow down. You survived this one, but I can’t guarantee you’ll survive the next one. Stop fuckin’ around and get your shit together.”

The doctor got up and left.

The nurse informed me that I could be released from the hospital by tomorrow. She asked if anyone could pick me up. I called my mother.

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