"I've got a meeting this morning," I told Nate as we tossed our gear bags into the
bed of his truck. "I can't blow it off again."
"What are you going to do then?" Nate asked as he stepped over the tongue of the
trailer, the snow crunching under his shoes in the 10-degree chill.
"I'll handle it," I said.
I pulled out my cell phone and called the office.
"I'm expecting a call from Dan about the meeting this morning. Forward my calls to
my cell." I told the voice on the other line.
"Are you coming in?" the voice responded.
"No, but it doesn't matter. He won't show up. I know Dan," I said.
I pushed the red button and simultaneously slid the phone into my pocket with one
hand and pushed my sunglasses on with the other. It was sunny, and the fresh layer of
white snow was only making it worse.
"I can't believe we got hit that hard yesterday, and then it's like, POOF! Not a cloud
in the sky," Nate said as we sped down the ice-covered highway. "It's going to be awesome
up there. What was your meeting this morning about, anyway?"
I finished chewing my Hostess Chocodile, reaching back over the seat trying to fish my
Mtn. Dew out of a grocery sack on the floor of the back seat. "We're supposed to finalize
the details of the sponsorship package for next year."
"Sounds important. Shouldn't you be there?" Nate asked as he signaled back over
into our lane after passing another truck and trailer, which was probably only going 10
mph over the speed limit.
"I am there, at least as far as Dan knows," I replied between sips of my Mtn. Dew.
"There's no way Dan's going to show up for it on a day like this. So I'm going to force
him to blow it off, and then tell him I'm sick of him wasting my time and all sorts of things
to ruin his day."
"But, aren't you pretty much blowing it of right now?
I shot a look over at Nate, took a sip of Dew and looked back to the road. A few miles
later, my phone vibrated. The screen said "Work."
"Here we go," I said, hitting the green button.
"This is Ryan," I said, cupping my left hand around the phone to muffle out the noise
of Nate's truck and the Black Eyed Peas that he refused to mute.
"Ryan-Dan here. Just wanted to let you know I'm running a few minutes late, you
know with the roads and all, but I'll be over to your office in a bit, if that's still good with
you," Dan said, barely audible. The cell service is terrible through here, I thought to
myself. I was a bit surprised at his play, but I knew he was full of it. The mountains east
of town were supposed to get two feet of powder yesterday, and now the skies are blue.
Dan wouldn't pass up a day like this to actually work.
"Like, how late are you talking?" I replied with a bit of a put-off tone. "I'm slammed
today; I've got another meeting right after you. I just don't have a lot of time to spare
today." I could tell Dan was setting the table to reschedule.
Nate slowed the truck to pull off into the parking area.
"I'm actually in the truck right now, but I'm on the other side of town. I'll be there in
20 minutes, tops. But if you can't spare the extra five minutes to wait for me, I can come
another day," Dan's voice crackled. Bingo. I knew it. He's on the road alright, but not on
the way to my office. What a punk.
"No, I'll wait for you. We need to get this finalized today so I can send off the paperwork.
Nate pulled the truck alongside the bank of snow; the state plow truck was still working
on the other end of the parking lot.
"Alright. I'll be there. No guarantees on time, though. They haven't gotten the roads
cleared out on this side of town yet. There's a pretty good pileup at 25th and First," Dan
said, this time a little more clearly.
Uh oh. I felt my pulse rise a little. Maybe Dan really was on his way over to my office. I
grabbed my gloves and reached over and popped the door open with one hand, holding
the phone with the other. The truck we passed earlier pulled into the parking lot, taking a
spot behind us.
"Look," I said into the phone, trying to tip-toe through the snow back to the trailer
so Dan wouldn't hear the snow crunching. "Maybe today's not such a good day. It could
take you an hour to get over here. Why don't we reschedule for Thursday?"
"No, today is better. I'll be there in 20 minutes," Dan said. I could hear him crystal-
clear now as I reached the back of the trailer.
"Hi Dan," Nate said.
I looked up. Dan was standing next to the other truck, reaching over the bed rail for
his gear bag, holding his phone between his ear and right shoulder. His eyes froze wide
open as he saw me; I returned the look.
Nate was leaning against the trailer, laughing. He had seen Dan and his friends when
we had passed their truck on the highway earlier.
"Glad to see you could both make it to this morning's meeting," he said.