“OK if I grab a smoke?”
“I like to smoke, not with cigarettes, but with chicks, hot chicks.”
I inch as close to the door on the right and as far from the driver as I can, have to get outta here, but how? I’m hitching into Salt Lake City for the night, and on this desolate run from Pocatello, there are no excuses.
An empty boat trailer rattles unexplained behind the monster Olds.
The smoke trails up over my head and out the crack in the window; if only it could carry me with it, out of this nightmare.
“You can close the window if you are cold. I like to be in a smoky room. With hot chicks.”
“Yes. Even if I die trying.”
Did this specter add “and take you with me”? I heard it, even if unspoken.
The deliberately slow words are ominous, spoken the way a wraith might call me to death. I get lost in the smoky haze of the shadow of gray memories protecting me, but the voice comes again.
The stranger pulls into a gas station in the center of town.
“Need to get gas, can’t stop on the way back.”
I lam off down an alley, go around back to have another Marlboro, making sure I cant be seen from the road, trying to not think about why he won’t be able to stop on the way back.