Disclaimers, warnings, other stuff: It's a JS original!
Story copyright © 2004 by JS Stephens. All rights reserved, blah, blah. On with the show.
Lightning slashed through the air as rain started pouring in thick sheets. Melanie held the plastic sack above her head, looking around wildly for a place to ride out the storm. So much for seeing all of the state fair, she groused to herself. She was next to the new truck exhibit, and as she recalled, most of them would be unlocked so people could look at them up close. She ran up to a huge black pickup and managed to clamber into the cab just as the next slash of lightning rent the skies, followed by the angry roll of thunder. Panting, Melanie laid the wet sack of auto brochures next to her on the seat, unzipping her fanny pack to retrieve her comb to try to tame her brown, frizzy hair.
Slam! "Mind if I move this bag?" asked the stranger as she piled into the truck. Melanie nodded, and the woman slung the bag into the back of the extended cab. "Hi, I'm Karla, nice weather we're having."
"Melanie. Bad storm."
Silence filled the cab for a few minutes as the women tried to comb their hair, as the rain continued to beat fiercely on the truck. Karla settled her auburn locks, then turned to Melanie, asking, "What brings you to the fair this year? Any specific exhibits? Just fun?"
Melanie ran her hands up and down the steering wheel sensually, dreamily answering, "They were selling discount tickets at work, and I heard about these new trucks. My old one has over 200,000 miles on it, and I wanted to dream about a new one before buying a used one."
"I see," Karla replied, "in the interest of full disclosure, Melanie, I'm one of the sales people from the dealership selling this brand. You have my undivided attention, so why don't you tell me your dreams."
Melanie shook her head, amused. "Thanks, but I can't afford a new one, Karla, I just wanted to see what I could get in a few years. In fact, I really wasn't planning to be near anything but the compact trucks, but the storm hit while I was walking through, so I jumped in the nearest unlocked vehicle to ride out the storm. But it is a really nice truck..." her voice trailed off as she looked longingly at the instrument panel. "I mean, I really don't need such a large truck, another compact truck like my current one has done so well. I mostly need to haul a little dirt, a bit of lumber, mulch, odds and ends of yard equipment, help friends move, stuff like that."
Karla nodded sagely. "I understand, Melanie, really I do. But, isn't it nice to dream sometimes?" she asked, reaching out, lightly touching Melanie's arm. "It's not just that this truck has the horsepower, the cargo room, the new MP3 player, but the projection of self. The projection of saying, 'I'm as bold as brass tacks, take me on my terms, or get the hell out of my way!'"
Melanie shifted in her seat, facing Karla. "Exactly!" she said eagerly, "How did you know?"
Karla smiled mysteriously as she intoned, "Because they call me the dream catcher. I can catch your dreams, tell you how to make those dreams come true. What are your wishes, your dreams, Melanie?" Karla touched Melanie's arm again for emphasis, sending a little shock of pleasure through Melanie's arm.
Melanie stared off into the distance, mentally sorting and calculating her bills, but the payments still wouldn't work. She sighed heavily, saying, "I guess I don't have what it takes for make my dream come true." She fiddled with a few knobs, then looked up and blurted, "Hey, it's stopped raining!"
"Yes, so it did," Karla acknowledged. "So, you think you can't make the payments, how about entering the drawing for this truck? You'd still have a chance to dream, you know," she said softly, trailing her fingers over the dashboard as she spoke.
Melanie thought it over, then grinned and stuck out her hand. "It's a deal, then. I'll enter the drawing for this truck. Thanks, Karla."
Karla shook Melanie's hand, then opened her door and waited for Melanie to climb out of her side before leading her over to the drawing table. "Winners will be announced at the end of the fair, " she explained, handing Melanie the form and a pen, "but in the meanwhile, here's my business card in case Lady Luck doesn't help with the truck. Or," she added as if by afterthought, "you'd just like a test drive, or dinner after a test drive."
"Thanks. Hey, it was nice getting caught in the rain with you," Melanie said as she dropped her card into the box. She took the card and tucked it in her wallet, trying to decide what her next step was, trying to remember what she was planning to see next. "Um, see you around," she finally came up with, shaking Karla's hand again, just staring at Karla. "I should really go now," she babbled as she reluctantly let go of Karla's hand.
"Believe me, I was pleased to get caught with you," Karla replied, also reluctant to let go of Melanie. "Hey, the offer for a test drive is good any time, maybe dinner after?" Melanie just smiled, then melted into the crowd. "Oh, yes, I can make your dreams come true," Karla whispered, "just give me a chance." She turned, pasting on a bright smile as she started talking to an older couple about the new trucks.