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"Ants can carry twenty times their own body weight, which is useful information if you're moving out and you need help getting a potato chip across town." -- Ron Darian
|121--Turks and Caicos: The Hitch-hiker|
Mar 02 2003 - 16:16 PST
cherie writes: The Hitch-Hiker
Who is that in the truck behind me? I hope it is not a scary man!
It seems like I am going to die waiting here for a ride. (Or die once I get a ride?)
John, Wendy and Graham from "The Computer Guy" are happy to see that I arrived in one piece.
People who pick up hitch-hikers always get a bad rap. The helpful drivers are depicted as murderers and rapists instead of the good Samaritans they usually are. But what if you get into the wrong car at the wrong time and your worst nightmares materialize?
Scirocco anchored in this little bay called Sapodilla in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Seven miles of dirt road led to main town with a whole lot of nothing in between the bay and civilization. Whenever Greg and I needed to get somewhere, we’d let our feet do the talking and walk down the road. Some nice family or couple would always stop and give us a ride.
But one day Greg had a lot of boat work to do, and I wanted to check the internet. It didn’t dawn on me until I was ambling up this deserted road, with the mid-days heat beating on the back of my neck, that if I got a ride from someone, I’d be hitch-hiking alone.
It was hot. The kind of heat that weighs you down like two toddlers clamped around your calves. After a few minutes I was jeweled in my own perspiration. If I listened hard enough, I’d be able to actually hear the sun’s hydrogen atoms fusing into helium atoms eight light minutes away.
At first I was hoping that a couple would come by in my air-conditioned savior. Or maybe a woman would stop to pick me up on her way to work? But the road was as empty as my stomach. The only thing that blew by was dust. It was just me, the summer heat, and a lingering taste of salt in the air.
Finally I saw a truck in the distance. A nice truck. (This was important because murderers don’t drive nice trucks—they drive shabby ones.) I held out my thumb and the truck swerved in front of me and stopped. (If he was a murderer, he would have run me over and saved himself the trouble and mess of strangulation.)
‘Please don’t be a male driver’ I wished. Then I leaned my head in the truck and saw a big man surely capable of snapping my neck in two. He asked me where I was going. I told him “The Computer Guy.” The stranger flashed a huge grin of brace-altered teeth, and then said he’d be glad to take me there.
In the nanosecond before I opened the door, accepted the ride, and prayed not to become a missing person, I glanced at his pile of mail loaded on the dash. The top letter was a bill from American Express. If he had an American Express card, he had to be responsible.
It wasn’t until the driver hit the gas that I saw that the American Express bill must be his girlfriend’s. Could a big scary man possibly be named “Kim?” Maybe, you never know these days. I’ve met men named Shannon and Tracy, why not Kim?
“Is your name Kim?” I broke the silence.
He paused. I didn’t realize it then, but I know it now. There was a definite pause.
“How’d you know?” he asked.
I admitted to being a snoop. “I noticed it on your bill.”
“You’re very perceptive.” Kim declared. Then he tried to make conversation with me to put me at ease. I was being silly. Provo is a safe island. I didn’t have anything to worry about.
Suddenly Kim made a wrong turn. I noticed because (as Kim pointed out) I am very perceptive. I inhaled and exhaled like I was in Yoga training class. I wondered which picture of me they were going to put on the back of the milk carton.
“I think we are going the wrong way.” I offered meekly.
“Yeah,” he affirmed the obvious. “I need to make a quick stop at the Police Station. Do you mind?”
What luck, I thought. I got a ride with a police officer! “Why do you need to go to the Police Station?” Maybe to pick up his paycheck? I was sure he must be a Captain with a truck as nice as his.
“I have some things to clear up about my Police Report.” Kim words were “Police Report,” but I heard “Criminal Report.”
“Criminal Report?” I asked. I must have heard him wrong. He bellowed a hearty chuckle. I wasn’t laughing; I was making sure his truck door wasn’t locked.
“It’s not that bad,” he claimed. I was amusing him; he was terrifying me.
Kim pulled up in front of the Police Station and my fear abated for a moment. What criminal would take their victim to the Police Station right before he perpetrated his crime? It sounded like a bad movie. Wait…that’s what he was doing! He was trying to put me at ease before he got the axe out and chopped off my head. These horrifying thoughts were swirling in my head so that when Kim merely opened the door to get back into his own truck I let out a blood curdling scream.
It is safe to say that I scared the crap out of Kim. He jumped back and hollered: “What’s wrong?”
“You scared me.” I mumbled.
“You scared me!” He retorted as he held onto his side to keep his laughter in check. I was entertaining him. Wait until he got to work; the story he would tell the guys.
The truck roared to life and Scary Kim and Scared Cherie drove in the direction of the computer store I needed to go to. Then we passed it.
“There it is.” I pointed as my favorite internet cafe streamed by in a blur. “You just passed it.” I informed Kim.
He kept on driving.
“You can just stop here, and I’ll get out.”
“I’m not going to stop here!” It was the craziest idea he ever heard of.
“Really, I can walk back there, just please stop here.”
“I don’t want your blood on my hands.” Kim said.
“I don’t want my blood on your hands either.”
“If I drop you here, you’ll get hit walking across the street and then I’ll have your blood on my hands after I drove you all this way. I’ll drop you at the front door like a proper gentleman.” He pulled off the road, turned around and then dropped me at the door-step to “The Computer Guy.”
“Thanks Kim.” I said relieved. I waved good-bye and made a pact with myself to never hitch-hike again.
Kim leaned out and motioned for me to come a little closer. “My name’s not Kim.” He admitted. At this point, if it was a movie, the director would have panned to a shot where the audience could see the ice-pick hidden under “Kim’s” seat.
Then Kim held up the American Express bill so I could see it in full. Indeed his name wasn’t Kim. It was Kimmith.
I may have got taken for a ride, but Kim certainly got the last laugh.
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