Off the Beaten Path

Author: Charles Parker <charles_parkerh[at]>

Author: Adrian_Tepes

Feedback: The Coin of the realm.

Rating: PG-13

Summary: A chance meeting sends Xander on the wildest ride of his young life.

Disclaimer: Xander and the rest of the BtVS characters and settings all belong to ME. Snowman and company belong to their respective owners. I own nothing but a nifty X-Box.

Xander groaned as he hauled the trashcans out the back door into the alley. Washing dishes at the Ladies Night strip club was NOT high on his list of things he wanted to do this summer. In fact it wasn't on his list at all. But thanks to engine falling out of his Uncle's car, he really didn't have much of a choice. It was either wash dishes, scrape paint or call his parents. Given those choices, washing dishes didn't seem so bad.

As he started to empty the cans into the dumpsters the sound of profuse swearing reached his ears. Trying not to pay attention, he continued emptying the cans. It was only when his curiosity finally got the better of him did he wander up the alleyway to see what was going on.

The first thing he saw was a Semi truck parked, then beside it he saw a tall thin man pacing back and forth. With a final expletive, the man sat down on the truck's bumper with his shoulders slumping downward. Xander looked at him, then looked back at the alley where the cans set. After a few seconds, he made his decision and approached the man.

"Hey there. Can I help you with something?"

The man looked up at the sound of his voice and seemed to study Xander for a few seconds. Then he spoke in a thick Southern accent.

"Son, don't know if anyone can help me. I'm stuck between a tanker and a bus full of Sunday school kids."

Xander didn't know how to respond to that so he remained silent. The man threw down the cap he had been wearing in disgust.

"Damned Bad luck, if it wasn't for it, wouldn't want have any at all. Damn bank for calling, Damn Frog for not telling me where he is, and damn my sorry hide for making that deal."

"Um... that's too bad."

The stranger turned and looked at him closely, "You from around here son?"

"Me? No sir, I'm from Sunnydale, which is down the road a bit. See I just graduated High school and was trying to fulfill my childhood dream of driving cross-country and seeing all fifty states. But I had little trouble..."

"What sort of trouble? Smokey take your wheels?"

Xander blinked, the term 'Smokey' was familiar but he couldn't recall exactly what it meant so he continued his story.

"No, umm... not Smokey. More like my wheels fell off, or rather the Engine that drove those wheels fell out. Of the car that is."

"Huh, well that's too bad ... " The man trailed off as he seemed to be pondering something.

"Say Son..."

"Xander, My name is Xander."

"All right, Xander. My name is Cletus but everyone calls me Snowman. Pleased to make your acquaintance."

The two men shook hands briefly, "Xander I got a business proposition for you."

"It's not illegal is it? I don't do illegal."

"What? Oh no it's not illegal, " he muttered to himself "Not much anyway", "Look Xander I'm kind of caught between a pig and a poke. See I got this friend he's throwing a BIG party and he wanted me to bring him something."

"Uh huh and this 'something' would be?"

"Beer. A whole trailer load of beer."


"Yeah Beer but not any old beer. A special kind of beer. But you see there's a problem. I don't have a license to transport that much beer over county and state lines. And I don't have the time or the money to get one. So you see my boy, I have a problem."

"Yeah you do."

"Right but I think you can help me out with this problem. Tell me boy can you drive a stick shift?"

Xander nodded.

A huge smile spread across on Snowman's face. "Good, because I have something I want to show you that I think you'll like."

He went the back of the trailer and opened the doors. A fairly large ramp extended down from the trailer to the street. Just as Xander was thinking what he had gotten himself into, he heard the sound of a powerful engine revving. Curious, he walked to the back of the trailer where the ramp was. He got there in time to see a black Trans Am roll down the ramp with Snowman behind the wheel.

Grinning, Snowman climbed out of the car and gestured to the car, "Beauty ain't she?"

Xander nodded in reply.

"Well she's the thing I need you for."


The lanky man smiled, "See I got this all figured out. I can drive the rig and you can drive the blocker."

"The blocker? Oh you mean the car. Umm... why?"

"Well you see my, the Smokies, they'll like flies to honey when see someone out there with the hammer down."


"Now what I figure is that with this car racing around, raising all sorts of hell, me and the rig will slip on by with nary a peep."

"Uh huh. You know this sounds like some friend for you to be going to all this trouble."

"Well, it's more then that my boy. I'm doing this for the spirit, the money and for the fun. Mostly for the money though."

"Wait, money? You didn't say anything about money."

"Well Xander it's like this. Out of respect and admiration for my sacrifice and risk taking. My 'friend' is willing to pay me $500,000 dollars. Now boy, I'm willing to cut you in for a share if you're willing to climb behind the wheel."

Xander almost swallowed his own tongue at hearing the amount of money Cletus was being paid. And the idea of him getting some was REALLY appealing. It would go a long ways towards repairing his car. Or even buying a new one now that he thought about it.

"All right I accept."

"I knew I could count on you Xander."

"For 50% of the total."

"What? Boy have you lost your mind?"

"Now I haven't. I look at this way, I'm the one taking the risks, and driving this thing to a place I don't know where with a guy I just met. 50% seems pretty damn fair in my opinion."

Cletus stared at him for a second, "Oh what the hell. I can't waste time or we might not get the money at all. You got yourself a deal kid. Now do you know how to work a CB?"

Xander nodded, mentally thanking Uncle Rory for showing him that one weekend.

"Good, the car's got one and so does the rig. And now when we talk, we need to figure out some sort of code or something so the Smokies don't catch on."

"Um... Why don't we stick to the odd number channels and switch after every time we use them?"

The trucker looked at him for second, then nodded. "Yeah that'll work. Now my call-sign is Snowman, what's yours?"

"Well I really don't know... Umm... My friends called me the Zeppo."

"The Zippo, you smoke?"

"No. I don't smoke and Zeppo not Zippo. Oh forget it. I need to think of something else. Maybe since we're gonna be breaking some laws, how about Thief?"

Cletus stared at the young man for a second, "Bandit. You'll be Bandit."

Xander blinked as he considered the name. "Sure, Bandit, I like it."

"I figured you would kid."

The two men grinned at each other for a second before Cletus frowned. "Come on, kid we got no time to lose."

Xander nodded and quickly got in the car and started the engine. He revved it once before putting the car into gear and turning it around. As he pulled aside he gave Cletus the thumbs up as the other man started up the big rig's diesel engine. Quickly the two vehicles pulled left with Xander in the lead with Cletus right behind him.

Back in the alley, an older looking man stuck his head out and looked around.


There was no sign of his erstwhile dishwasher.

"Damn that kid, I knew I shouldn't have hired that kid to wash dishes. Now what the hell am I gonna do. Rob called in sick and..."

An evil grin spread across the man's face, "Hey Meers, I got a business proposition for ya" and he pulled the back door shut behind him.

The End.