The warehouse was set on a one-way street, across from an empty parking lot. The area was deserted, a spray-painted district of businesses with two story homes in between them. The homes had pitched roofs and small patches of bare land, gated and locked.
Just beyond the gate of the warehouse, she stopped for a moment and tried to orient herself. The building, a large gray structure, squat and broad and defined by a sense of fortification was surrounded by a tall fence and cameras angled from three different spots, one above the door. The building bore the name of the proprietor, Albini, in faded lettering. Lizzie stated the job order to a black-haired woman in a booth and drove in once the gate had lifted.
The dock was to the left. She swung the truck around, shifted into reverse and began backing into the indoor dock – it was like backing into a black hole. But she was good at it. She has always considered herself a good driver, and her clean record and winning competitions confirmed it. She had won two Truck Driving Championships in the Five Axle Sleeper Berth Division and placed second three times. Heck, she could both back a trailer into a hole with one hand and apply her makeup with the other. Often she had seen truckers back up too fast, use too much throttle, until they slammed into the yellow pole.
Now she was even with the indoor dock.
She took a deep breath and tried to clear her mind. But when she caught her reflection in the mirror, the fear returned; the fear of strangers. Damn it, it was in the headache she was developing, in the cramping stomach. Lizzie opened the door and jumped out of the cabin. A gusty wind pushed against her, pulled strands of springy brown hair, gathered into a short ponytail, and whipped them around her face. She moved toward the door of the warehouse at a quick pace, trying to look casual. She was dressed in nondescript clothes similar to most truck drivers – sweats, a hoodie, and sneakers. By normal standards, Lizzie was not what anyone would expect a truck driver to look like. She stood five feet tall. If anyone happened to look at her closely, they would notice the scars, the large mournful eyes, the paleness of her skin – but most of all, the scars.
By the door of the warehouse, weeds sprouted from cracks in the concrete. Lizzie cast a gaze at her truck, as one would look at a departing lover. With the help of her father, she had searched for the right truck. It was the sort of a truck that people noticed, that gleamed in the light of day; she scarcely let the dirt and grime sit on its pink paint with the squiggly green, yellow, and purple lines drawn along the sides of the cab. It was a long-haul heavy truck with a seventy-two inch condo sleeper compartment, equipped with two bunk beds. The one on top she used as storage for clothes, newspapers and magazines, on either sides of the bed stood two-tiered twin cabinets. The one on the right held a microwave and a fridge, and on top of the cabinet to the left stood a small television. A drawer and a cabinet held her few clothes.
This had been her home for the last five years. The space was tight, but sufficient. She had enough room to move around and could stand up without hitting her head. From the tractor it took exactly one step to reach the bed. And she quickly accommodated herself to every peculiarity of living in such a small space. When she first bought her truck and took it on the road, she immediately begun to treat it as her home. Except from occasional nights at motels, her truck served as her bedroom, kitchen and sanctuary. No one could barge in the middle of the night to rape her.
The motto inscribed on the back of her Kenworth trailer said, Life Sucks If You Don’t Get It.