[Author note: This week is a short post. I couldn’t get ‘fluffed up’ without leading into the next major scene. — JRL]
“Shawn! Get in here. Call Aaron while I get dressed.” I shouted out the door.
Deputy Martens hadn’t been able to tell me a lot over the phone. I’d already put the location in my phone and groaned when I saw it was at least 17 hours to get there.
Shawn came in and I must have looked as spooked as I felt.
“Vince?! What’s going on?” Shawn asked as he rushed in the door.
“It’s Brady! I just got a call from Oklahoma. Some sort of an accident. He’s hospitalized and after they interviewed him, he asked the sheriff’s office to call me.”
Shawn’s normally calm demeanor disappeared, “Go shower. Now. I’ll call Aaron and have him call Jackson. I’ll pack for you while you shower.” Shawn’s voice didn’t leave any room for rebuttal.
I hit the shower and scrubbed down as fast as I could. I didn’t bother shaving and forgot to put on deodorant but I didn’t care. My sole thought was getting to Oklahoma as soon as possible.
I walked into my bedroom to find two packed suitcases and the TV on the Weather Channel. I paused for a moment and realized that our rush was not going to do us any good. There was a major blizzard tearing through the middle of the country and pretty much every road in Iowa and Nebraska was closed.
All my rage at Brady came out in that moment. “You goddamned mother fucker! WHY DO YOU HAVE TO TURN UP NOW?!” I yelled as I unconciously threw one ofd my hiking boots at the TV.
Aaron stuck his head in cautiously, “Just saw the weather did ya? There is an alternate plan but it’s expensive as hell.”
Aaron had already called ahead and had three seats booked on a regional flight from Fargo to Dallas then a drive from Dallas to Atoka. I couldn’t contain my pained expression when Aaron told me how much it was for the three of us.
The drive to Fargo was only three hours but it couldn’t go fast enough. While the roads were in good condition for winter, Aaron wasn’t pushing things much as we had six hours to get to the airport. We checked in, got our seat assignments, and then the worst part, waiting to board the plane.
There wasn’t any small talk, just anxious glances at phones and waiting for the boarding call. It seemed like we waited longer for boarding than we were in the air.
Just after 7pm, we touched down in Dallas. The first thing we all noted was just how warm it was and the flashes of lightning to our north. There were winter storm and blizzard warnings in Kansas, ice storm warnings across northern Oklahoma, and a tornado watch across the southern two-thirds of Oklahoma down to about Dallas.
Well, it won’t be a dull trip! I thought to myself.
We picked up the rental car and took off to Atoka. The GPS said two hours so we’d be getting in around 9:30pm. While we were driving, Aaron called ahead and made hotel reservations for us. Given our arrival time, we didn’t expect to get much done that night.
First thing in the morning, we’d hit the Sheriff’s Office and take it from there. We got checked in to the hotel in Atoka. I wasn’t expecting anything fancy but there was a Best Western that was actually quiet and clean.
Aaron had gotten us adjoining rooms. I had a king suite with a jacuzzi and Aaron and Shawn had queen beds in their room. We opened up the adjoining door and settled in. I set my alarm for 8am and laid down.
At some point in the night, the adjoining door had gotten closed and I could make out Aaron and Shawn talking quietly to themselves. A quick look at my phone showed it was only just past midnight. I made a quick trip to the bathroom and crashed out again, this time for the duration.
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