You can’t believe it. You. Hitchhiking. In the freezing cold. On an unfamiliar road at two in the morning. It’s been 66 minutes since your car ran out of gas. Forty-five minutes since you got through to the local police. “We’re trying to get a car out to you,” said the desk sergeant, “might be an unmarked off-duty or retired officer.” But, after your cell phone died and another 20 minutes, it was too cold to keep waiting in a dark, dead car on the narrow shoulder. So you figured you’d try thumbing a ride to a gas station that might still be open. Someone slows down in front of you, flashing their headlights, then slides quietly and stops at your side. A silent siren on the dash pulses red. Passenger window glides halfway down to give you a glimpse through the shadows: a three-day bearded face (grungy or stylish?). Toothpick jostling in the corner of the mouth (nervous?). Perfectly pressed, buttoned-to-the-top plaid shirt (to the top?). Red light bouncing off the hammer of a real-ass handgun strapped to an unseen belt (No badge?). Magazine on the seat with a woman with painted breasts on the cover (bathing suit issue or porn?).  Wool hat neatly laid under something oozing inside a zipped-tight plastic bag (PB&J?). The car was a Ford, dark blue, maybe black, matching the description given on the phone by the sergeant. And there was that red siren, there, on the dashboard, flashing. Convincing.  “Cold as all hell, climb in, front’s ok.”

Convincing.  But, …persuaded?
Part 2, Part 3

Latest Update: Jun 05, 2016