California Highway

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Where’s Tyler

Tyler has been on his road trip for six days now. Robert, his friend, is back to work as a realtor in Benicia. He is growing more and more concerned that he had not heard from Tyler. But he wants to make sure Tyler gets his alone time that he needs to think things through and allow him time to clear his mind of all the crap that he has been dealing with.

Robert is sitting at his desk in his office when the phone rings. He answers. “Hello, this is Robert.” To his amazement, he hears Karen, Tyler’s ex, on the other end.

“Hi Robert, this is Karen.” She sounds worried and concerned. “I was wondering if you have heard from Tyler. I’ve tried calling him, but there’s no answer.”

Robert was a bit confused about why she wanted to talk to him after leaving Tyler. “Nope. I haven’t heard from him in a few days.”

“Well, I’m getting concerned that he doesn’t want to talk to me,” she said.

“Seriously, Karen. After leaving that note for him and leaving, why do you think he WOULD want to talk to you?” Robert said.

“I know, Robert. But I still do care for him, and I want to make sure he’s okay,” Karen said.

“I’m sure he’s fine, Karen,” Robert said. “Tell you what, if I hear from him, I’ll let him know you’re trying to get a hold of him. If he wants, he can call you back.”

“Thanks, Robert. That’s all I ask.”

“Okay, I will. Good-bye.” Robert hangs the phone up. He starts to think; This does not sound like Tyler. He loves Karen, and if he saw her calling, he would answer the phone.

Robert decides to call Tyler. At the very least, he can let him know that Karen is trying to reach him. And, he can check-in to see if he is getting some good alone time.

Robert calls Tyler’s phone. It is sent straight to voice mail. “Tyler, this is Robert. Just checking in to see how things are going. I haven’t heard from you. Give me a call… Oh, and tell your mom I say, HI.”

Robert was still under the impression that Tyler drove east to visit his mom in Nevada County. He was still unaware that he had actually gone south on Highway One.

Robert figured he would give Tyler a few hours to return his call. If he had not heard from him by then, he would try again. Maybe call his mom’s house directly.

Robert decided to have lunch at The Old Tavern. Hopefully, he would run into some of Tyler’s acquaintances to see if they had heard from him.

Robert got to The Old Tavern and saw Josh was tending the bar, which was expected. He sat at the bar and ordered a beer. Josh was surprised to see Robert there. After canceling Tyler’s sets, he did not expect to see Tyler or Robert since they were such good friends. “How’s it going, Robert?”

Robert looked at Josh with disgust. “I think you know how it’s going, dude.”

“Sorry about that.” Josh placed Robert’s beer in front of him. “It’s a publicity thing. After it hit the paper, I had to do it.”

Robert took a drink of his beer. “Yeah, I get it. Do you think Tyler will ever be able to play here again? You know he’s a good guy. It’s just a bad situation.”

“Yeah, I know.” Josh was doing his best not to give away any information that would incriminate him. “Maybe when things die down a bit. I can let him come back.”

“That’s all I ask.” Robert knew there was not much he could do. It was Josh’s call.

Josh acted concerned, “So, how’s Tyler doing?”

Robert looked at him like he was clueless. “What do you mean ‘how’s he doing?’ He lost his job, his girl, and a place to play all in one day. I’m thinking he’s not doing so well.”

“I’m sorry, man.” Josh was secretly happy to hear that his plan had worked, and Karen had left Tyler.

“He took off for a few days.” Robert realized that if Josh asked how Tyler was doing, he probably had not heard from him. Robert looked around and saw a few guys who usually hang around Tyler when playing some sets. He asked them if they had seen or heard from Tyler lately. None of them had.

Robert thanked Josh for the beer and left to return to his office. He had a phone call to make to Tyler’s mom’s house. He was now getting worried that no one had heard from him.

* * *

Back at his office, Robert looked up the phone number for Tyler’s mom. Tyler had given it to him before when he was staying up there during the holidays. He placed the call.

Tyler’s mom, Linda, answered the phone. “Hello?”

“Hello, Mrs. Bishop. This is Tyler’s friend, Robert. How are you doing?”

Linda had met Robert once before. “Oh, hello, Robert. I am doing just fine. What can I do for you?”

“I was calling to talk with Tyler. Is he available?”

Linda was confused, “Tyler isn’t here, Robert. Is he supposed to be?”

Now Robert was confused. “Hmm. That’s strange. He told me a few days ago he was going to your place for a visit.”

Now Linda was getting worried. “Oh, my. He is not here. Have you tried to call him on his cell phone?”

Robert did not want to worry Linda any more than she was already, “Ah, good idea. I’ll call him on that.”

“Okay. And tell Tyler to call me. I’m worried about him now.”

“No problem, Mrs. Bishop. I’ll have him call you. Take care.” Robert hung up the phone and was more concerned now more than ever.

“I hope he didn’t go and do something stupid.” Robert thought.

Now Robert was getting worried. Karen had not heard from Tyler, nor can she get a hold of him. He could not get a hold of him. Tyler’s mom had not heard from him. In Robert’s eyes, Tyler had disappeared.

Robert sat at his desk, trying to figure out his next course of action. “I hope you call me Tyler,” he said to himself. “This is not good. Not good at all.”

* * *

Later that night, Robert was sitting in his living room. He was getting anxious now. He had not heard from Tyler all afternoon. His next chorus of action was to either call the police or look for Tyler himself. And neither of those options was something he wanted to do.

Robert would be more than willing to look for Tyler if he knew where to search for him. He did not know if he may have been in an accident and in some ditch somewhere? Did Tyler just keep driving and ended up in a different state? Did he go north, south, east, or west? Robert was clueless as to where he would start to look for him.

As for calling the police, that might open another can of worms. They may think Tyler is on the run since he is supposed to be in court next week. And what if they do find him? What if Tyler is trying to relax and the cops show up to ruin everything?

Robert was perplexed about what to do. As he was sitting, attempting to figure things out, his phone rings. “Oh, thank god, Tyler!” he was hoping. He answers, “Hello, Tyler?”

“No,” the voice on the other end was Karen. “This is Karen, Robert. I was calling to see if you had gotten ahold of him. It doesn’t sound like you have.”

“Hi, Karen.” You can hear the disappointment in Robert’s voice. “No, I haven’t. Nobody has.”

“Didn’t you say he was at his mom’s?” Karen was confused.

“Yeah, but I called there. She hasn’t heard from Tyler either.” Robert was reluctant to say anything to Karen. But right now, he was more worried about Tyler’s whereabouts.

“Oh my god! Robert!” Karen was almost in tears. She was genuinely concerned.

“Karen,” Robert tried to reassure her. “I’m sure he’s fine. Maybe his phone died or something. I’m sure he’ll be calling soon. And as soon as he does, I’ll have him call you. Okay?”

“Thank you, Robert. As soon as he calls.”

“As soon as he calls,” Robert reassured her.

The two of them hung up their phones. Robert is more worried. “Tyler,” he started thinking to himself, “You better be okay. Cuz if you’re not. I’m going to kill you.”

Robert chose to call it a night. He kept his phone on in case Tyler decided to call.

* * *

Back on Highway One, Tyler spent the day driving to San Luis Obispo. He realized about half-way there that he had still not called Robert. He made a mental note to get in touch with him as soon as he arrived at this hotel.

To Tyler’s surprise, the drive to San Luis Obispo was uneventful. He did not meet any actors or was asked to play any gigs. The one time he stopped for gas was about as exciting as drinking a glass of water while watching a TV commercial for some high blood pressure drug.

Nonetheless, Tyler was still excited about this trip and how it had turned out so far.

Tyler arrived at his hotel around 7 PM. A little place called The Avenue Inn, in the downtown area. He picked up his key and made his way to his room.

He was hungry and decided to grab a bite to eat before calling it a night. He found Gennaro’s Grill & Garden not too far from the inn. It was a nice Italian restaurant with good reviews. “Why not?” Tyler said to himself.

Once again, he had forgotten to call Robert. He remembered this as he sat down at the bar in the restaurant. He pulled his phone out and noticed that the battery on his phone had gone completely dead. “Crap,” he thought to himself. “I have to remember to charge this up when I get back to my room.”

Tyler’s food arrived, along with his glass of wine he ordered with the meal. He started to eat and decided to plan out the remaining days of his road trip in his head.

Since he was a few days behind schedule, he thought there may be a city or two that he could cut out of his trip. Tyler pulled out a cocktail napkin and a pen and began to jot down some notes. He started listing the places he wanted to visit, and the time he had left. Then worked his outline out. He figured, if everything went as planned, he would be in San Diego in about four days.

Tyler paid his bill and returned to his hotel room. He connected his phone to a charger and looked at the time. He thought it was too late to call Robert tonight, so he decided he would wait until morning.

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