To a large degree, my journey is mapped out. I’ve studied the Greyhound schedules, pre-arranged overnights with willing friends, worked up a budget. I have a plan. Of course, plan or no plan, I have the requisite amount of anxiety-will I meet my schedules, will my friends realize that they’ve made a mistake and sell their home before I get there. But I have a plan.
Then, there are those who move forward without a plan, or any idea of awaits them on the other side. I wrote about Danny who traveled 3,000 miles for a job that probably never existed. David is on a similar journey into the unknown. From the tiny, dusty, nowhere town of Trinity, Texas to the Keystone pipeline fields of North Dakota. No contract. No letter of recommendation. Not even a contact, a friend of a friend. He makes the trip solely on faith that a job awaits.
David’s story is not dissimilar to so many others: a chaotic childhood, violence, alcohol, drugs; often lived at or below the poverty line. He was the loner, who fell in with the outcasts, marginalized and often desperate. What makes it sad is that he’s engaging and bright, the kind of kid you root for despite his resume of hard luck and failure.
David was on the bus because he had to keep his end of a bargain made with God. Two weeks earlier, he was arrested for a third offense of driving without insurance or registration. He was familiar with the jail, an old soul, at 20, in the ways of American incarceration. But this visit had a twist. While David sat in his cell, his car sat in the county in-pound lot. In the trunk-enough methamphetamine to get him a mandatory minimum of 25 years in Federal prison. He was sure someone would search the car.
It’s said that you’ll never find an atheist in a foxhole. I suspect the same can often be said of jail cells. David, the agnostic, said a prayer, asking a favor: “get me out of here and I’ll give away what I have and change my life.” God called his bluff, and a few hours later, the duty guard came to the cell and announced that David was free to go.
David kept his end of the deal. He says he gave the meth to his friends. He sold his old pick up truck and packed his bags (which, by the way, Greyhound lost somewhere in Oklahoma) and boarded the bus in Trinity, Texas for the oil fields of North Dakota. It’s not a perfect plan. But David needs to keep his end of the bargain.