Langston Culpepper’s state of mind cycled from deep despair to hope, to fear, to paranoia and back to despair. He thought he might be losing his mind. Perhaps he was.
After passing Richmond he saw the green overhead sign. A mile ahead I-95 intersected with I-85. His mind briefly cleared; he had a destination.
Maybe Barbara and he could reconcile if for only the purpose of mutual self-preservation. She was mixed up in this mess too. The two of them evaded several close calls in the past. Maybe they could do it again.
He turned onto I-85 and headed in a southwesterly direction. He drove twelve hours, stopping only to relieve himself and buy coffee and stay-awake pills available at every truck stop.
Culpepper stopped south of Montgomery, Alabama. The coffee and pills no longer worked; he must get some sleep. Before checking into the motel he found a liquor store. His appearance posed a contradiction to the man behind the counter. Culpepper had perspired profusely and reeked of body odor. His slacks and shirt were wrinkled and grimy. He looked and smelled like a bum, but he purchased a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin, the most expensive brand on the shelf. He drank half the bottle and passed out.
When he awoke, several minutes passed before he could remember where he was. Then he vaguely remembered leaving Georgia and crossing the Alabama state line. Culpepper felt terrible and looked worse; he had no clean clothes or toiletries.
He forced himself out of bed and took a shower. The water offered temporary refreshment, but he vomited when he smelled his gin-soaked shirt.
Panic again set in when he glanced at the television. Fearing his face was plastered all over the cable news networks, he was didn’t turn it on. Certainly by now everyone in the world knew who he was…the crooked executive at the Pentagon who stole millions. Or worse, the traitor who sold the country’s most important secrets.
He sat for ten minutes gathering the courage to push the remote control’s on button.
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