“Can I come,” she asked and he said no, “Why not?’ She persisted.
“Because …” he said, “because too many things could go wrong, because …we could get caught.”
“So,” she said getting off his bed and standing over him at the desk, watching him stare at the screen, “I don’t care if I get caught.”
“I do,” he barked and stood up, pacing the room again. “I … My father … They hurt him, they ruined him, they killed him. My mother may as well be dead, she does nothing any longer. Life has been … Crappy since the auto-drivers …” He was searching for words. She went to him and took his hand. He stopped pacing, looked at her, “You’re … you’re like the best thing in my life right now, Tracy and … No, okay, no, I don’t want to take a chance that something might happen to you.” He went quiet.
“Really,” she asked.
“Yes, really, “ He said, “I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“No,” she said, “I’m the best thing in your life?” he nodded and blushed again. She rose up on her toes and kissed him.
Two weeks later he was back in the ditch. He had adjusted and believed he understood how the auto-driver was able to reboot. He waited. The night was warm and he sipped from a juice box. Soon, he saw the headlights of a truck. It was roughly half a mile away, moving at a steady pace. He put the computer on the edge of the ditch, waited, watched, timed it. The truck was directly in front of him and he hit the key. The truck moved past him slowed, stuttered and came to a stop. He waited. It didn’t move. He climbed out of the ditch, leaving the computer behind and slowly moved toward the dead truck. He got to the truck and looked in the cab. Nothing. It was dark inside. No lights, no sounds. The truck was dead. He stepped back and shouted. He pumped the air with his fist. He couldn’t wait to tell Tracy. He danced and kicked the truck’s tires.