I’m hitchhiking out of some city; it’s distant and seems very Wizard of Oz/Emerald City-ish (in as much as it’s on the horizon and the highway races off into the distance Yellow Brick Road-ish; the poppy field scene in reverse). I’m fleeing, escaping, on the run with my thumb out and my head held high. I want no one to know I have anything to hide.
I get picked up by three Indians in a Lexus; two men and a woman. They’re dressed very fashionably, lots of brand names with accented letters and the smell of colognes and perfume. The men are seated up front and a sit in the rear with the woman (the driver’s girlfriend). They smile a lot and seem to be having a good time, racing along at 90+ mph on this seemingly deserted highway. There is something not quite right to me about their good humor though. It seems to be at someone else’s expense – – not mine but I get the sense they will turn on me at any time.
The man in the passenger seat is going through a pile of mail. He’ll hold one up and the two of them will make a remark about it before tearing it up and throwing the pieces confetti-like from the sunroof. It bothers me that they’re littering like this but I don’t feel like I’m in much of a position to say anything. The did just pick me up off the site of the road, after all. After a while though they reach this bill from U-Haul that had been buried in the stack. Again, they start to make jokes about it and start to tear it up.
I don’t know why I chose to take a stand about that one but I mention to them that they need to pay the bill. That it’s not like U-Haul is this charity organization. They’re not a neighbor that just let you use his truck. They’re a business and you need to pay that rental fee.
They give me disapproving looks. Even the girlfriend just rolls her eyes at me. The driver goes so far as to turn around and start scolding me – – like it’s their prerogative and they can do whatever they want and who the fuck do I think I am to criticize them?
Right about then, the girlfriend shrieks and the Lexus slams in to the back of a truck.
Everything goes all slow motion, 80s-action-flick for a few seconds, the damage done from multiple angles. I manage to survive despite the fact that I’m not wearing a seatbelt. We all get out of the car. The driver is pissed because he’s just fucked up the front end of his Lexus. I’m trying to ascertain a way out of there as discreetly as possible. (I’m in enough trouble as it is.)
Apparently, the truck that he hit was the tail end of an existing multi-car pile-up. The problem is that no one was killed until the driver added to the tangled mess. Consequently, police are already on the scene and there’s no escape for him. This of course means there’s no easy route out for myself either. The police of course spring right onto him and begin their arrest/interrogation procedures on the spot. When asked, I share that they’d been littering and describe the U-Haul bill episode that immediately preceded our untimely arrival. The driver accuses me of turning on him. Like I had some kind of loyalty to them to begin with. I pay it no mind because all I can really do is hope that the police don’t recognize me.