Night was coming. The twilight fringes of the eastern sky were creeping toward the once-brilliant sunset. The clouds that were once white and welcoming were now a dreary, threatening gray. The fields blurred by, the occasional ranch or barn breaking the smear of dark green on either side.
The motorcycle hesitated for a moment, then resumed its steady drone. “Looks like it’s time to switch to reserve,” the rider thought to himself. He felt so liberated in the anonymous expanse of the plains. It was a strange feeling for the world-renowned DJ-turned dance prodigy, to get away from the pressures of the dance training that took up his days, and the DJing he was drawn to night after night.
He felt down to the fuel petcock and turned it 180 degrees to switch to the reserve tank. There should be about 30 more miles in the tank, just enough to get back to the service station that served also as a motel. The engine reassured him as it continued in the same steady speed that had taken it deep into the rural countryside. The country was gorgeous and the sunset stunning, but it felt good to be heading home. The chilly wind had been wearing away at the warmth in his hands all day, and he didn’t know how much longer he would be able to feel them.
An arm reached around his waist and hugged him closer. His companion was feeling the deepening cold as well, the chill that was growing as the day waned. She was a choreographer that he had hired when he was just starting to discover his talent for dancing. Their relationship was entirely professional, at first… It wasn’t long however before they had fallen in love.
He could remember the moment, actually, when he knew he loved her. They were in the middle of an intense push-up contest, and he was struck by her beauty, kindness, and goodness. And now she was carrying his child.
Suddenly the motorcycle lost power and dragged on the gear. He pulled in the clutch to allow it to coast, while attempting to start it again. No dice. It wouldn’t start. With a sinking feeling in his stomach, he realized the fuel petcock had been on reserve all day – and now they were stranded without fuel.
He allowed the motorcycle to coast as far as it was able, until finally stopping on the shoulder and leaning it heavily on the kickstand. He turned to his companion, and she knew by the expression of his face that they were in trouble. He pulled out his mobile phone – no service. The smile of freedom and pastoral isolation had turned to a snarl. It was getting colder and darker quickly, and the clouds overhead threatened menacingly.
“We have to keep warm until we can flag down a passing car,” he said to his companion.
After what seemed an eternity, a kindly couple stopped and offered them some gas, enough to get back to their motel and a warm night. “Looks like you lose again, world”, he thought to himself with a grim smile as she hugged him tight and they roared off into the setting sun.