Conveniently placed along the interstates and some highways are “Rest Areas”. Usually spaced around 50 miles or so apart . Sometimes they are the only sign of civilization for miles and miles. A trucker gets to know most of them quite well. Most Rest Areas can accommodate anywhere from 10 to 110 big tucks and trailers. Occasionally you do run into a Rest Area that will say “NO TRUCKS” and so you keep driving til you find one more accommodating.
Because professional truck drivers have strict rules and regulations when they can drive and when theyre supposed to rest these Rest Areas play a VERY important part of our drive. It didn’t take long to learn that wherever you are you need to start looking for a Rest Area around the early evening if you want to have a chance at finding a parking place. Depending on the state they can fill up very quickly. And when they do the parking will over flow onto the on and off ramps. Parking becomes so scarce at times that I don’t know why so many trucking companies advertise the need to hire more drivers. Where are you going to put them all when its time to park and rest? And some Rest Areas are closing down because there are states that cant afford the up keep on them.
Rest Areas can vary from very nice warm and inviting places to very isolated cold slabs of cement with a urinal.
On one late night I stopped into one that was somewhere between the two descriptions.
It was somewhat well lit as I approached the structure. Medium sized. The central “lobby” area lit with the all too familiar glow of fluorescent light fixtures.
WOMEN to the right, MEN to the left. Left it is.
This Rest Area bathroom was long and narrow. Four sinks lined the left side of the wall and four urinals and four stalls lined the right side. Odd door at the end of the room.
I stand at the urinal and do my business.
I look to the left and right of me. Nobody. I bother to lower myself to spy anyone in the stalls. Nothing. I shake it off. Emotionally and physically.
The more I use the “modern” Rest Area restrooms, the more I am accustomed to not having to touch anything. I don’t have to flush. I don’t have to turn on a faucet to wash my hands. Soap can be auto dispensed. And of course there is the auto hand drier or sometimes it’s a paper towel dispenser that rolls out a section of towel just by waving your hand in front of the sensor. Modern technology all to help stop the spread of germs. Except for that pesky door handle to get in and out of the bathroom.
I wait for all automated machines to stop.
Something…. Distant voices.
I look up at the air vents. I concentrate on them to try and make anything out. The sounds do not appear to be coming from there.
Added to the voices I hear a distinct metal sound. Where have I heard that before?
In the handicap stall I see the stainless steel pipe they install for assistance. I grab it and my ring taps on the bar. The sound. Metal on metal.
I shake it all off like Im just hearing things and go to leave. As I pull the door open I stop,
The doorway at the other end of the bathroom.
Not every rest room in a Rest Area has one. I never pay much attention to them figuring that theyre locked closets for supplies.
I turn and stare down at the other end of the rest room.
“It’s a closet” I exclaim to myself. “Right?”
Leave now and don’t give this a second thought. Every moment in every horror movie flashes in my mind on how the movie has a much happier ending if you just turn around and walk away,
Ok. MAYBE its behind the door.
As I walk closer to the door I stop a step short. Its partially open. Or is that partially closed?
I dare not push the door open further because they ALWAYS make a creaking noise.
Against everything Ive ever learned in the movies I peer closer. Light.
Is the sound coming from here?
I move to get a better angle at the microscopic crack in the door way. Stairs.
STAIRS?!?! In a Rest Area restroom? Downward stairs. Basement? In a Rest Area restroom?!?!
I shall not push this door open. I shall not push this door open. I shall not push this door open.
Nope. Im out.
As I turn and make a beeline out the door I repeat to myself, “Maintenance guy is watching a movie.” “Yeah…that’s it…hes downstairs on his break watching a horror movie.”
THAT is how you avoid a “typical” horror movie ending.
Maybe next time Michael Myers.