Wilder Boys

Free Wilder Boys by Brandon Wallace

Book: Wilder Boys by Brandon Wallace Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brandon Wallace
continued its search for food on up the river.
    At Davenport, Iowa, I-88 merged into Interstate 80, which continued straight across the state. By the time they passed through Des Moines, the sun was beginning to sink like an orange fireball on the western horizon. Jakecouldn’t believe how wide open and flat the country was. Farms spread toward every edge, dotted by barns and silver grain silos.
    I’ll bet I can see fifty miles in every direction, Jake thought.
    It was dark by the time Sharon pulled into a truck stop outside of Omaha for dinner. TRAVELER’S REST flashed in neon green above the building.
    â€œMy treat,” Sharon told the boys as they made their way into the restaurant and slid into a booth.
    A waitress approached with water and menus. “Hey, Sharon. I see you got company tonight.”
    â€œSure do,” Sharon answered, giving the waitress a wink. “But let’s keep that to ourselves, okay? Don’t want their wives to find out.”
    The boys and the waitress all laughed.
    â€œYou already know what you want?” the waitress asked.
    â€œI’d like a—” Taylor began, but Sharon cut him off.
    â€œWe’re all having the meatloaf special, with plenty of mashed potatoes and green beans. Milk for the boys here, and I’ll have coffee.”
    â€œComin’ up,” the waitress said, flipping her order book closed and walking away.
    â€œSorry, Taylor,” Sharon said. “I couldn’t live with myself if you didn’t try the meatloaf. It’s the best meatloaf this side of Des Moines.”
    â€œBut the last sign said Des Moines is only a hundred miles away,” Taylor objected.
    Sharon grinned at him. “You catch on fast.”
    While they waited for their dinner, Jake asked, “How does that waitress know you? Do you drive through here a lot?”
    â€œAt least once a month. I’ve got friends along the whole interstate highway system.”
    â€œIt must be cool drivin’ a truck,” Taylor said.
    Sharon’s blue eyes seemed to lose focus for a moment, then they snapped back toward the boys. “It’s like anything. Got its good and its bad. Sometimes, there’s nothin’ better than hittin’ a wide open highway with plenty of scenery and no one lookin’ over your shoulder.”
    Jake could tell from Sharon’s voice that she wasn’t telling them the whole story.
    â€œDo you have a family somewhere, or do you drive all the time?” he asked.
    Sharon sipped her coffee and slowly spun the cup in its saucer. “Yeah. Two kids. A girl about your age, Jake. A boy two years younger.”
    â€œWhere are they? Do you ever get to bring them with you?” Taylor asked.
    Sharon frowned. “Nope. Fact is, I’m only allowed to see them a couple of times a year, and only with a legal guardian present.”
    â€œWhaaaat?” Taylor and Jake looked at each other.
    â€œThat’s right,” Sharon said. “I got my life straight now, but I made some mistakes when I was younger.”
    â€œMistakes?” Jake asked.
    â€œWell,” she said. “I don’t tell this to too many people, but I got into drugs. Booze, too.”
    â€œNo way!” Taylor exclaimed. “You?”
    Sharon nodded. “Yep. I liked nothing better than to party. But soon I wasn’t using the drugs. They were using me, and I tell you, that was a dark road to drive down. I got arrested, thrown in jail.”
    â€œNo way!” Jake’s jaw dropped, revealing a mouthful of half-chewed crackers.
    Sharon stared hard at her coffee cup. “Yep. A buncha times. The courts took my kids away and sent me to the state penitentiary for two years. Inside, I kept being a real badass, until I found Jesus and cleaned up my act.”
    â€œWhen did you get out?” Jake asked.
    â€œFive years ago.”
    â€œAnd they still won’t give you your kids

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