I was just beyond the smallest dot on the map, a crossroads with a diner and a gas station, when my water pump went out. I’d seen a tow truck parked next to the gas station, so I pulled off the road before overheating, and walked back up the road, passing the sign naming the town. It was shot up and rusting, but I could still read it:
As I approached the station, the mechanic, a lanky, long-haired kid, was already climbing into the truck.
“Saw you blow through here,” he said. “What happened?” The patch above his left pocket read ‘Clyde’.
“Water pump belt snapped.”
“Go over to the diner,” he said. “I’ll come get you when it’s fixed.”
In the diner, I sat at the counter and ordered coffee. The place was empty but for the waitress, the tag on her too-tight pink uniform read ‘Rosie’. I could hear the cook in the back.