I don’t usually stop for hitch hikers, but as I was driving home (alone) late the other night, there was a female teen on the side of the road. It was raining quite hard and the wind was whipping her flimsy skirt and thin jacket around her skin n’ bones body. As I drove past her, I caught a glimpse of her downtrodden face and felt a tug at my heart strings – if this were my daughter I would hope some kind stranger would take pity on her and stop to give her a lift.
I know that picking up hitchhikers is a bad idea, no matter how innocent they look and in fact was the first promise I made my parents not to do (aside from speeding) when I got my license. But sometimes, your sympathetic inner voice guilt you into over-ruling your better judgement. So I drove around the block and thought, if she’s still there on my way back around, I will pick her up… Of course, I was secretly hoping the fates would be on my side and she would have magically disappeared, but sure enough, there she was wet and as desperate looking as ever.
I pulled over to the curb and hit my automatic window. As the glass dripped and slid its way into the door, I leaned over to ask her to join me in the warm front seat. Suddenly, the back door opened and before I knew it, this forlorn looking girl was in my back seat. I was just about to ask her where she was heading when, the other backseat door opened and in flopped a greasy looking guy dressed in tattered jeans and a thread-bare, black leather jacket.
Where the hell did he come from?! My mind raced to a dozen different scenarios (that all left me dead in a ditch and my little Prius on its way, to who knows where) when the girl spoke, “thank you so much,” she said, while pushing her long dark, soaking wet hair out of her eyes. “I thought we’d be out there for, like, ever.”
I muttered something intelligible, which was meant to ask, “where are you going?” but was really just frightened speak for, I’m-a-middle-aged-women-making-a-huge-mistake-please-don’t-kill-me…
I guess despite my mouth full of marble-garble the creepy guy understood and answered me, “just drop us at the nearest motel.” I was immediately repulsed thinking the worst of my passengers and how dare he take advantage of this young (albeit, stupid) teenage girl.
I edged my way back into traffic, berating myself for my stupidity when the girl squealed; “OH MAN!” My heart thumped in my chest and I just knew my life was over, until I realized she was looking at herself in my back seat mirror.
“My hair looks so brutal. Look, baby it’s all knotted and so, like yucky. I can’t believe it!”
Well at least she’s concentrating on her looks and not which knife to plunge into my back. However, her shriek of self-repulsion did remind me that I had my own personal “eyes in the back of my head” gadget – thank goodness I installed it after my puppy chewed up my back seat last year – at least now I could see the exact moment my life was about to come to an end.
As I drove along, breaking all speed limits (and the second rule my parents laid out for me way back when) I practically had my eyes glued on my rear-view mirror and only glanced at the road in front me when I had to. I watched the couple as they whispered and held hands like they were newly weds out for a romantic ride – of course when you are plotting someone’s demise, you don’t want to go around broadcasting the details to said victim.
I speeded along and finally found a cheesy, rundown looking building that stated it rented the rooms by the hour – not exactly where I would want a kind stranger to drop my daughter off, but I know my kid and her kind stranger wouldn’t have to worry about the cold steel blade of a knife.
I pulled over in front of the door marked “office” and was happy when my would-be-killers got out of the back of my car. The guy grunted something that sounded like ‘you’re lucky” but I didn’t wait around for him to clarify, I sped off as fast as my little eco-friendly car would take me. I’m just glad my back seat mirror was there to help me keep an eye on my “killer” passengers.