The Hitcher

It's fun to drive with a gun in your abdomen. It feels good. It’s welcome, and I like it. It feels like the answer to a prayer. It improves my driving: every turn I make is geometrically perfect, every surge of the brake is easy and metered. I’ve never driven so good in all my days. It’s a natural now, what with the bullet waiting at the gate. The gun is fused to my body & my body is fused to the car. It's an extension of my hands and my feet: my extremities are wide awake but I don’t have to think or decide anymore. The barrel of the gun is in the soft of my belly, and the sensation is amazing. It's a good thing. I like this now. It’s nutritious. It's better than coffee.

I like driving for JD, this strange man with the fish breath in the front seat. I like my job: I like being told what to do.

I’m a salesman, I work out of Rio Rancho, and I picked up this guy on Thursday night. He was standing by the side of the road in his dark hat and crack leather jacket, smoke hanging from his thin lips. I asked him where he was going and he just said “Drive.” I tried to talk about baseball but this JD, he was having none of it: he made some small talk, got to know about my wife and boys back East. I think that made it easier for him to bash my temple with the butt of his gun, take my wallet and force me to take him where he wanted to go. It’s okay. I never minded the taste of blood.

We’ve stopped at liquor stores and general stores and filling stations and saloons and greasy spoons. All the places I’ve wanted to go but never had time to. I made eyes at a pretty young waitress while JD was emptying the cash register and pulverizing the cook. He’s not going back there. Now he pushes the gun into the side of my stomach and tells me to drive, so I do. It's a good time now. I like him. I think it’s Saturday. I like this guy.

And now we're at the Arizona border, getting closer to JD’s destination and the end of my ride. I know what's coming. I don't mind it. I think I deserve it. If you see my wife tell her I'm alright. I’m ready for it. I'm happy.

Just between you and me, I wish there had been a gun in my abdomen the whole time.

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