Running westbound…hard into the pitch black Mississippi night, pushing Big Iron…the aged, yet powerful and competent Dodge truck…right to the limits…I looked to my right at my wife, my lover, my friend…drowsing in the passenger seat and felt a pang of guilt.
It had been a long day. A loaded trailer. Wind. Unpredictable holiday drivers around the cities. The almost abandoned countryside between the population centers. The high-speed I-states and plentiful power of the big V-10 making the miles slip by even as the almost inconceivable size of our country meant we had many hours of running left.
We’d been out to the coast to visit family. A pleasant interlude. More than 1200 miles each way. We’d been uncertain of our exact return route or timing so we’d not reserved a hotel room for this leg of the journey. It’s normally not an issue these days.
Fourteen hours into the run we’d stopped and tried to get one.
Friday after Thanksgiving…not happening. Not anywhere. Not at any price. Good day to be in the hotel business.
We could always grab a nap in the truck…not ideal but doable…I’ve done it on many occasions…even slept at rest stops on the seat of my motorcycle, feet on the handlebars and my jacket bundled up for a backrest…but these things are best left to the “uncivilized” biker struggling to please to his wanderer’s soul. I often thrive on the struggle…and embrace the pain.
I strive to not subject my better half to such conditions.
A splash of gas…one of many…Big Iron is not shy about applying the power…but that surefootedness and smooth power come at a price…
Fuel and a quick check and the rig was ready for another leg. A quick meal and I was too.
The wife smiled, handed me a drink, said, “Let’s rock!”, and kicked up the radio. Into the night. On we go.
Twenty-six years together. Not far from 20 hours in a truck together. The uninitiated might think we would run out of things to talk about. That we’d be bored…or worse. Familiarity breeds contempt after all…or so the proverb says.
Heh…it’s bullshit though, through and through. She still surprises me. I still make her laugh. Near 10,000 nights I’ve spent with this woman and every one is unique. I eagerly anticipate 10,000 more.
Hours and hours confined in a truck. Short stops. High speeds and intense traffic. It is wearing, no matter how much you happen to like road trips.
I was wishing for a hotel room hard about now. A shower. A chance to lay in a soft bed. Hold a soft woman. Rest and respite. Neither were to be had.
If I was feeling it…I was certain she was even more so. I’ve been road-tripping to the extreme for years. I’ve been known to run more miles than this run…on a motorcycle. Once I didn’t stop till a wolf called me an idiot and took my keys…but that’s another story.
So I looked. And felt the guilt. She was obviously tired. A little better planning on my part and this would not have been an issue.
I reach over, rub her inner thigh, and whisper, “Sorry babe.”
Her eyes pop open and she smiles. Tired, but contented. Yeah. 26 years and that smile still gets me.
It had only been a glance. My eyes back on the road, she takes my hand in hers and leans in and kisses me on the cheek. “No worries. We’ve got this. We’re in this together lover. Always.”
There’s a reason I love that woman…
Running hard, deep in the Mississippi night. Home is ahead in Texas. We’ve put near a thousand miles behind us…but we’ve hours to go yet.
As long as she’s with me…I can do it for days.
I’ll see you on the road.
Since our update schedule is slow…some pinups! Click for larger!
These are also in the gallery.
Color by Daniel Meyer.
Spotted on the wife’s ride…
It’s been a year since I started this project. If you’ve not done so already, give it a read. Forty-five pages of comics. Hundred’s if not thousands more waiting to be brought to life.
I noodled on this project for years before launching it. I wanted so much to illustrate this myself, but alas…I didn’t feel my art skills were up to telling the stories with the panache I felt they deserved, so I brought RHJunior on board for the illustrations. The expressions, body language, and movement he brings to this art-form are highly refined.
Ya’ll may know though…that the webcomic world doesn’t generate a lot of revenue, so there are not a lot of funds to pay the artist what he’s worth.
Thus the artist is rightly focused on his own projects, raising the question of what I should do with this story…and these characters. I’ve been pondering this for some time.
There is much left to be told…single page stories, long story arcs, adventure, humor, tragedy, and everything in between. Old buildings, motorcycles, road trips, remodeling adventures, friends lost, passion, and pain. Even a ghost story or two.
I love storytelling, I love writing, I love art, I love webcomics in general, and I particularly love the expressiveness of the anthro-comic medium. Life is a hell of an adventure…and I struggle to write even a small portion of it down.
Much like my book projects, the stories are occurring faster than they can be told. I’ll never run out of material.
So what to do?
As I said, I’ve been pondering for some time…and had concluded that I should really just sit down and draw. I do have some skill…and had I done that in the first place…I would have forty-five or more pages of “practice” and style development/refinement already here.
And today…one of my friends posted this on his facebook feed…
But I have to start somewhere. Perhaps if I’d started drawing this a year ago I’d be close to where I feel I want to be. Probably not though…life is art…and it’s a work in progress and demands constant refinement.
If I want it bad enough, I’ll put in the work to make it happen. Reading archives on many of the webcomics I love shows this plainly…they all started somewhere too…and refined their art and skills along the way. They are where they are now…precisely because they are where they are now.
So…off to my drawing board! Stay tuned…I’ll probably post some practice stuff and character sheets/poses/etc as I work myself up to doing actual pages. There will inevitably be some style changes…and a…”lack of refinement”…at least…to begin with.
Also, DO look for more from my friend RHJunior…there’s been no falling out or such here…he is simply busy with his own projects. As he has free cycles for my admittedly low-budget project, he may yet be illustrating more of my stories here. We’ll see.
New picture in the gallery!