"Wrong Road to Nashville," by Joseph S. Walker, in Weren't Another Other Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Waylon Jennings, edited by Alex Cizak, Gutter Books, 2023.
Walker hasn't appeared on this page since, um, last month. This is his ninth story to make my best-of-the-week list. Very different from the last.
Our hero is Caleb, a school custodian, built like a pro wrestler. His goal is to be a Nashville singer-songwriter and it looks like he may have the talent for it.
But first he has a little problem to solve. His new girlfriend has been kidnapped by bad guys who want him to drive a load of contraband to... Nashville. This wasn't the way he planned to get there, but you do what you have to do.
A nice story of steadily building suspense.