Breakfast was at Grant’s Pass. No sooner had Juno finally dropped off again than the coach parked, and by the time Jock made it outside everybody was already piling into the gas station diner. Jock followed pretty much of his own accord. There was just one free seat left, predictably at the old dude’s table. Juno was real tired after the most uncomfortable night she’d ever had and Jock seemed to be grabbing the chance to take on some kind of life of his own, ’cause before she knew it or could even consider doing any Magic, she found she’d sat down.
‘What a shame,’ said her neighbour without so much as a ‘good morning’. At least he was dry now.
‘What is?’ asked Juno warily, wishing she’d been quicker off the mark. If that relic reckoned he was gonna bore her with the sob story of his life, he had another thing coming.
‘Highway forks here. We’re gonna be sticking to the Interstate. Should be taking the coast road. ’s beautiful. Gotta be the second most beautiful road in the world.’
‘The second most beautiful road?’ Jock said faster than Juno’d imagined a tongue could move.
‘Probably. First prize absolutely goes to the road to Mallaig, northbound along the shore of Loch Morar. Haven’t seen that in sixty years…’
Juno’d heard enough. The next fifteen minutes the old Scotsman found himself strangely unable to articulate his memories, nor his puzzlement as his deceptively pleasant-looking young companion kept on spilling coffee over himself in what had to be a deliberate way, and hotly berated himself for it every time. You just never knew the kooks you met on these greyhounds.
Home and dry on the coach, though, pensively stroking Jock’s moustache, Juno found herself changing her mind about the episode. Maybe it was a good thing she’d heard about that coast road. Somehow felt like she was meant to see it.