Road Trip

It’s 1995, and my best friend Jaime and I were fresh out of high school. We were also fresh out of things to do and bored of the small town Texas life, as is the beginning of so many other horror stories of our generation. I was the ‘responsible’ one, the one who attempted to hold a job, attempted not to go to work innebriated, the one who didn’t pick up strange men. So it was decided that we would go on a road trip, from Amarillo to Austin, leaving at night, the wind whipping through our somewhat unwhippable hair.

You must first understand Jaime. She was the Roadrunner to my Coyote. I chased her and she schemed. She was Amazonian in size and personality, and somehow always turned everything into a poorly lit Spanish soap opera set. One can only imagine how difficult it was to resist her bright ideas. So it was on a hot July night that we set off, unknowingly, into the most ridiculously terrifying situation we would ever encounter.

We set off from Amarillo in my desperately untrustworthy Chevy Beretta onto the lonely roads of the Texas Plains. For a few hours, the ride was blessedly uneventful, apart from this annoying habit my car had of wanting to die everytime I increased the speed. We were a picture of blissfully ignorant youth, with our repetitive listening of Guns ‘N Roses ‘Patience’ (where we gave grave injustice to the whistling part), and our constant harassment of truckers. Soon, I knew the novelty had worn off, and I saw the all too familiar yet unnervingly evil glint come into Jaime’s eyes. We were coming through a small town just outside of Lubbock, called Plainview. I will never forget the words that killed my hopes for a nice calm night: “Pull over, I wanna coke.” Ohhhhhh crap. Here it comes, I thought.

We refluffed our bulletproof hair, as the parking lot of the convenience store was packed, and strolled in to get our sodas. We obtained our caffeine and made our way to the checkout with no undue stress, and while paying for our drinks, I overheard someone ask if they could have a ride home. In my mind I was thinking hellno hellno hellno! Out of Jaime’s mouth came “Sure!!!” Ever the passive one, I found myself getting behind the wheel of my car with two rather large young gangsta rappers in training. I’m sure at that moment I broke the world record for put upon sighs in the space of five minutes. They chitchatted with Jaime and laughed while I white- knuckled it through a very dark neighborhood, when they finally pointed out their house to me. Thank God, I thought. That’s over.

As they got out of the backseat of my car, one of them took off running like nobody’s business for the house. That’s odd, I thought. Yet there Jaime is, still chatting away to the other guy. They finally wrap it up and he starts to walk away and says, “Hey, how much money you got?” To which she says, “I got 500 bucks, why? You think you’re gonna get it?” To which I reply, “I’ve got two dollars, here, t t t take it!” To which he replies, “Give it up or I’ll blow your head off” and pulls out a gun and aims it at her head.

A struggle ensues, and I’m not fully aware of what happened except that Jaime beat the guy within an inch of his life, without ever leaving her carseat, only her foot was outside the door as they fought. I couldn’t believe it. She not only beat him, she kept her money, and took his gun away from him and hit him with it. Then she said, “Floor it!!!!”

And, please believe me, I tried to. But the damned car had one of its episodes so we pulled out of the guy’s driveway going at a steady coast while screaming. The fuel injection finally kicked in after several aching seconds, and we drove about a mile before I pulled over, looked at her, and said, “OH MY GOD, you are THE toughest bitch I have ever met!!!!” She gave me a nervous giggle and said, “I know, thank God it wasn’t a real gun, huh?”

Now, I was naive and ditzy, but I knew a real gun when I saw it. Not only was it real, it was loaded, with one in the chamber, and the serial number scratched off. Let this be a lesson to you. Never pick up strangers, and never travel with idiots.

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