First Page – Highway To Hell

“First Pages” comes from my writing group.  We are encouraged to bring in first pages of items we have written, or are still writing, to get feedback.  As I submit first pages to the group, I will also paste them here.

Below is the first page to the short story I wrote called Highway to Hell.  It is short for a first page, but it was well received.


Highway to Hell


The only piece of advice that my father ever gave me which was worth a damn was to never name a business after a street.

I was only nine years old the day he imparted that little nugget of wisdom unto me. Walter Dunn and I had spent hours traversing Warm Springs Road in search of Warm Springs Road Garage in a car with faulty air-conditioning during a scorching Las Vegas afternoon. Sadly, the shop had moved to East Russell and hadn’t bothered to change its name.

Walter’s dissatisfaction with the futile exercise resulted in a bruise on my arm the size and shape of his meaty Irish fist. It was his special way of giving emphasis to his words.

He called it punchuation.

My departed father’s words came to mind sixteen years later as I stood on Fourth Street in downtown Reno, Nevada and stared overhead at the snow-framed neon sign for the Sierra Street Pawn Shop.

I guessed that the owner hadn’t received Walter’s memo.

Jerry Fischer, my lifelong friend and general pain in the ass, stood beside me. “Zach, let’s go in,” he urged. “Before he closes.”

“Yeah, I know,” I said. I continued to stare at the sign as I attempted to warm my biceps with the palms of my hands. Then a breeze deposited a frozen fistful of motivation inside my collar and down the back of my neck. “Okay. Let’s do this.”

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