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When the grey Civic slipped on the rain smothered road, Chris Gilliam was on his way to play for a producer representing a prestigious record company. When the Civic skidded in the way of the blue Toyota, Gordon Kane and his two daughters, Hailey and Annette, were heading home from a week on the beach. When the grey Civic and blue Toyota hit each other and slammed into 18 wheeler, over-turning it and sending its contents sprawling all over the road, Kenneth Pierce was bringing four-dozen frozen hot dogs and a grill to a barbecue.
None of them were involved in the crash; in fact all three were in cars not too far apart about half a mile back from the collision. And that half a mile back, just after Exit 23, was were Chris Gilliam, the Kanes, and Ken Pierce’s cars would sit, in the pouring rain for the next three hours.

Gordon Kane was the first person out of the car.
“Dad, why are we stopping?” questioned Hailey, the eldest daughter.
“Just stay here in the car girls, it’s pouring, I don’t want you to get sick. I’ll be back in a few minutes. Lock the doors. Don’t talk to any strangers. I have my phone if you need me,” he replied quickly, and jogged towards the source of the gridlock. Hailey rolled her eyes and got back in the car, and pulled out her phone, seeking contact with someone other than her sibling sitting in the back seat.
“I’m hungry,” whined the 12 year-old Annette.
“Well does the car next to us look like a traveling restaurant?” retorted Hailey.

Three cars back from the Kane’s, and two to the left, sat Chris Gilliam. Staring at the seemingly endless mass of cars ahead of him. He could not believe what was happening. He checked his watch quickly. He was due to meet the producer in an hour, in a studio that was 45 minutes away from his current spot. Chris reached over his guitar case and pulled out his phone, and dialed the number of the record company. It was not until he pressed send that Chris realized his phone was dead.
“No, no, no, NO!” He screamed, pounding the dashboard in anger. He practically jumped out of the car, and proceeded to question the people in the neighboring cars for the use of a cell phone.

In the car two away from the Kane’s to the right, was Mr. Pierce, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel impatiently while leaving a message for the his wife, saying that it looked unlikely that the hot dogs and grill would reach the party in time. He snapped shut his phone, and sank down into his seat, sighing and rubbing his eyes at the thought of four-dozen hot dogs going to waste.
He stepped out into the pouring rain to check on the grill in the back of his truck and make sure the charcoal wasn’t soaked. To his happiness, both still seemed in order, but for insurance Ken grabbed the charcoal and placed it on the passenger seat, and then set out to determine the cause for the waste of his hot dogs.

Mr. Kane and Mr. Proxy-Connection: keep-alive
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erce met at the police tape that separated the three mangled vehicles from the hundreds more backed up behind them. Crews had removed the passengers, and a helicopter was flying away in the distance, bringing them to the nearest hospital. Enormous amounts of boxes containing various items were strewn across the highway. Two police officers and a fireman were now standing away from the scene, discussing the best method on how to remove the two cars and the truck.
“Excuse me officer,” yelled Gordon Kane from across the tape, trying to be heard over the thunder and rain, “but how long will it be until we get out of here?”
The officer’s face was grim as he walked over.
“I’m sorry sir, but because of the weather conditions and what a mess the site is, it looks like it could be a few hours before we get it all cleared away.” Ken groaned.
“Well there goes the forty-eight hot dogs I just bought.”
“What did you just say?” questioned Gordon.
“I was bringing them to a barbecue later this afternoon, but it will be over by the time this clears out.”
Gordon whistled. “Stinks for you. I have to take my daughters supply shopping, they start school tomorrow.” But Ken was already heading back to his car, drenched.

“You have got to be kidding me!” screamed Hailey, staring at her phone in disbelief.
“What! What is it?” inquired Annette.
My boyfriend just broke up with me! For Kelly!” Annette rolled her eyes. “Drama,” she said, bored.
“Shut up, you’ll understand when you’re my age.” After Hailey’s last remark, Annette sank back into her seat, rolling her eyes.
The Kane daughters heard a knock on their window. There stood a young man looking rather desperate. Hailey opened her door slightly.
“Is there something you want?” asked an angered Hailey.
“Well, excuse me, I was wondering if I could borrow a cell phone for a moment?” asked Chris.
“Sure, I don’t need to talk to that jerk anymore,” said Hailey, handing her phone over to the man. He walked a little ways away, dialing a number.
“I’m hungry,” whined Annette again.
“For the umpteenth time, I don’t have any food, and it doesn’t look either of us will anytime soon, so go, take a nap or something!” shouted back Hailey.
Mr. Kane came back into the car, utterly soaked. “Looks like we won’t be supply shopping today girls,” he said, “we’re gonna be here for the next couple hours.” Neither girl seemed upset over that prospect. Annette suddenly gained a look of complete terror on her face. She reached into her bag, and pulled out her half read summer reading book.
“I completely forgot about this. I need to have read it for tomorrow,” she gasped, “they told us at the end of last year there could be a test!”
“Drama…” replied Hailey, trailing off, which was followed by a death stare from Annette.
“Annette! You can’t do things like that!” yelled their frustrated father, “get reading then!”
Chris Gilliam then came back, looking incredibly depressed, and handed Hailey her phone. “Thanks for letting me use that,” he said, with his mind else ware, and walked away. It was then Hailey Kane realized how very cute she thought Chris Gilliam was.
“Dad,” she began with a smile, “I’m going to go for a walk, stretch my legs.”
“It’s pouring rain out!” replied Mr. Kane.
“I’ll be fine, I won’t be long,” said Hailey, taking off after Chris.

Ken ran a hand through his gray hair, thinking about the four-dozen hot dogs going to waste. He scanned all the cars around him, and looked at the bored, tired and hungry people. The hungry people. The hungry people stranded on a highway with little or no food to sustain them. Ken suddenly sat up with an idea. He got of his pick up and pulled out the tarp and two poles along with the grill, hot dogs and charcoal.
Using the back of his truck, the two poles and the tarp, Ken created a little lean-to to protect himself from the onslaught of the rain. He dumped charcoal into the grill, placed as many hot dogs as he could on the grill, and lit it up. A couple minutes later, Chris Gilliam came walking by, now accompanied by his guitar.
“You hungry?” asked Ken.
“Is that hot dogs you have grilling there?” questioned Chris, a little confused.
“Sure is, want one?”
“Well, uh, would I ever!”
Mr. Pierce pulled on off the grill and put it in a bun. “I apologize for the lack of ketchup or mustard,” he said.
“Oh its perfect, really.” Chris hopped up on the back of the pick-up.
“You a musician?” asked Ken.
“Yes I am. Here, let me play a little for you,” he said, pulling out his guitar.
“I would love to hear some!” said an excited Hailey who seemed to show up out of nowhere.
“Yeah, well that’s not what the record company seemed to think,” replied Chris, “wouldn’t give me any other time than right now, won’t see me, and it’s not even my fault.”
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry!” gasped Hailey, “but really, I would love to hear some.”
“Who are you anyway?” asked Chris.
“I’m Hailey.”
“You don’t look very old. You out here alone?”
“No, I’m with my father and sister. And you’re not very old either.”
“I’m 20.”
“You see? Only four years different. I’m 16.”
“Wonderful, I can vote and you cant. Now I’m going to eat my hot dog before I start to play. Never sing on an empty stomach,” said Chris jokingly, grapping a hot dog.
“Are those hot-dogs?” asked Mr. Kane showing up out of seemingly nowhere like Hailey.
“Why yes, they are, would you like one?” offered a smiling Mr. Pierce.
“Sure would!” answered Mr. Kane.
“Me too! Me too!” yelled Annette, bounding up to the car, “And Daddy, I finished the book!”
“You did?! Oh, I’m so proud of you honey!” said her father, hugging her and handing her a hot dog to ease her ever growing hunger.
“Now for that music,” said Ken, motioning to Chris as the rain began to stop. Chris finished his meal and pulled off the tarp and stood on the back end of the truck.
He started playing. The opening chords of “Collide” carried out across the congested road. As he began to sing, people came out of their cars, came to get hot dogs and listen to the impromptu concert. A contented smile spread across Chris’s face.
“One hot dog per person, we want to feed as many people as possible,” Ken yelled to gathering crowd as he grilled the hot dogs while Gordon handed them out. Half a mile up the road, the last contents of the truck was cleared up, the wrecked cars and truck were pulled awa





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