• Jason E. Fort

Horns of Hope


James sat on the edge of the motel bed. He'd just about given up on life. The revolver sat out on the nightstand in his motel room, just within reach. With his head buried in his hands, leaning way over at the waist, he cocked his head and stared over at the gun, but tried to shake the vision of it out of his eyes. He grunted and growled at himself; why did he have to choose this profession? He felt so alone...but he sure loved the open road.


Yet the company (and its country) that he contracted his rig to drive for had just given him an ultimatum:

Take the shot, or else.


James was brought up by his single mom, after they'd lost his father when James was just three years old. But his dad had been a pastor, and he taught his wife everything there was to know about the Bible. At least, that is what it seemed like to James; that his mother knew scripture backward and forward. And she'd taught James that nobody could force him to do anything with his body, be it take a drink or a needle or a cigarette.

"The body is God's temple, son. You let him tell you what can go in and out of it. And don't you let anyone ever tell you otherwise," she'd said on multiple occasions.

James was convinced his mother meant things like this vaccine needle, too. She said as much on her deathbed before dying of the Rona a year ago. James wasn't some pushover who just believed everything the TV said about this shot or that shot; this virus or that virus. That is why this mandate was hitting him so hard. He wasn't even sure his mother would've taken it, if she'd lived long enough to see the rise of the mandates.


He didn't quite know what to do. The company he'd been driving for had used him for a few years now, but ever since the Rona hit, he had to take a cut in pay, and deliveries and midnight runs had been drying up anyway. Now he stood to lose his job, and it didn't look like the thieves of freedom were going away easy. On top of all that, the bank threatened to take his rig due to missed payments, thanks to James picking up his mom's medical bills when she was still alive. The mandates for this blasted shot seemed to pop up everywhere overnight. The country just to the south of his motel and the highway it sat beside was supposed to be a beacon of freedom for the world, yet thanks to its corrupt politicians, its citizens weren't faring much better. Nothing felt right about any of this.


Yet there James sat in the hour just after dawn, staring back at his gun. His parents were both gone. He had no brothers or sisters, no real family to call his own anymore. He tried to remember the last time he ran into any cousins or aunts or uncles. The Rona had messed up all of his hope for family, so he had just kept trucking when he could. His rig, he called her Old Olga, was really all he had left. And now, he might not get to enjoy that anymore... unless he took the shot.

To Hell with that, he thought to himself, and he grabbed the revolver. He held it up to his head but couldn't put his finger on the trigger. Something held him back. Tears came out of his eyes as he squinted real hard, trying to fight whatever invisible force kept him from following through with the worst of plans.


It was faint at first. But the soft long honk seemed to ring familiar through the thin walls of the motel room. It was loud enough to cause James to lower the gun and hold it in his lap. Then the noise began to crescendo. James ran over to the window. He stood there shirtless, with nothing but a pair of jeans on from the day before, and he pushed the curtain aside to see what he could see.


There in the distance, were headlights in a line, far down the highway that seemed to head right for the motel before curving at the motel's corresponding exit. The headlights came closer, and the line of them actually clashed a little bit with the early morning daylight. But the line of vehicles were rolling towards James, and the cacophony of horns blasting got louder and louder. James knew that sound because it had been music to his ears ever since he was a small boy, riding in his mom's back seat, pumping his arm up and down to get the truckers to blow their horns. And as the trucks blowing their horns came closer and closer, in the longest convoy of eighteen wheelers he'd ever seen - James had never before seen anything that called him forward with such power.


As the two trucks that led the line of mechanical juggernauts got closer, James could see one word strapped across the monster grill of the truck closest to him.

Freedom

James looked down at the gun in his hand, and he tucked it in the back of his jeans. He shook off the burden and weight of the depressing desperation he had felt crawling into his brain, like some demon slowly trying to convince him to do the worst - and he ran to his bag and grabbed a flannel shirt, buttoned it, and grabbed his keys and wallet from the dresser. He threw open the door, locked it, and ran over to Old Olga. He hopped up in the cab and assumed the position so iconic with drivers everywhere. He flipped on the CB, and he decided to start up some chatter. But he didn't need to start up anything; truckers were cutting in on the channel, one after the other. Finally James came over the CB with the mic held out several inches from his mouth, "Breaker, breaker; this is Widow's Son coming in, come back?"


A mysterious voice came in over his CB radio and replied, as if a divine voice was in on his dark secret of longing to leave this world that had just been interrupted; "Copy that, Widow's Son....whereya been hiding, trucker? This here is the Freedom Convoy, and she'll be passing through these parts for the next hour or so."


"Freedom Convoy, huh? Well I could use some freedom. Where's this convoy heading, anyway?" the Widow's Son asked.


Another voice cut in, "Rolling on, son. We're just gonna keep rolling on 'til either the good Lord calls us Home - or they lift these godless mandates. Now you comin' or what, boy?"


James checked his gauges. He did what truckers do, and gave Old Olga some revs to let her smoke stacks billow for a moment. He backed up his rig, towing no trailer because his company hadn't given him one to tow for days now, and he guided his rig out of the motel parking lot. Pretty soon he was rolling down the ramp, about to merge with the line of trucks still extending back as far as the eye could see. As he got closer, the driver of the truck closest to him passed and saluted him, and James pulled on the cord to his big rig's horn to give a couple of short bursts as a gesture of good will. Horns behind him honked in sync and sporadically to James's driver side's rear, as if to welcome him to a cause much greater than James thought possible. James paused from talking on the radio and just listened as he merged with the other trucks. The loud ruckus of horns blaring up and down the line was one of the sweetest sounds to James's ears. Just minutes before, he sat on a bed, ready to take his own life because he thought there was no hope for his life.


But now, as James suddenly felt the urge to listen to some old fashioned American rock and roll to accompany the horns of hope that surrounded him, James found something he could hope for. The mysterious force that held his hand and kept him from pulling that trigger in the motel room was God; of that, James was certain. And deep down in his heart of hearts, James knew that God gave him a second chance and gave him hope... hope against tyranny... hope against desperation and being alone... hope for earning a living again... hope... for freedom.

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