Dosin’ on Doug
Another lugubrious day squished my spirits right from the moment I awakened. I slept by the side of the road the night prior, bivy in the desert sand, between brittle bushes free of leaves, with dead tumbleweeds bouncing around through the gusts of her fury. That slight chill, cooling my sunburn, erasing the touch of fire against my skin quickly vanished with the clear blue sky. That good old Texas sun snarled down at me and with each mile I tired to a plodding pace seeking refuge under any lone tree or viaduct by the I-10.
I squinted; my eyes witnessed a pull-off a few hundred feet ahead, with pavilions, a bathroom, and limited traffic. I stopped. My feet cramped from constant walking on the rough endless pavement as I cooled off in the shade, massaging my calloused feet, one toe at a time.
“Hey buddy…thought ya be further down the road by now. Doug’s still back there hustlin’ his moose story,” snickered Todd.
I guffawed, exposing my yellow teeth, as I took a drag of a cigarette I found from a nearby ashtray, offering the last few drags to Todd.
“Where’d ya come from anyway?”
“Got some miles in last night and crashed by the side of the road…figured I’d get some in while it was cool…no way was I gonna listen to fuckin’ Doug and his moose story at the Love’s for another day,” I said in a disgruntled voice.
“Yeah he’s still back there…he didn’t wanna walk this far.”
“I think we’re like 15 miles away from the next truck stop…not sure which side of the road it’s on, but anything is better than where we we’re at…there’s too many people there anyway tryin’ to all hitch the same direction.”
“Yeah I agree…you wanna get to walkin’…got a long fuckin’ day ahead of us with this sun…least we got smokes with all these butts on the side of the road. Won’t get no rides though in this fuckin’ state.”
And just when I thought it could not get any worse I heard a dilapidated Honda pull up emitting plumes of smoke. A chain jingled and a four-legged canine jumped out, her tongue drooped out of her mouth flopping side-to-side. My eyes widened as I stared at her ridiculous sunglasses and behind her frame stood the old hobo from the Love’s. Doug stood there with his bottom lip pronounced as if in deep thought. He looked like Bubba from Forrest Gump, waddling back-and-forth closer to us, fiddling into his pocket pulling out a wad of 20’s.
“Didn’t get a ride outta there, but crossed the street…held my sign that said, “East” and people kept handin’ me 20’s…even the cops gave me money before they tore up my sign…easily made 200 bucks…think it was my Veteran’s cap that did it or Pam layin’ down in the heat…Pam and I started walkin’ down the road and got picked up from a guy who got a speedin’ ticket…said he was goin’ further, but he’d give me a ride to the next truck stop…”
Todd and I looked at each other befuddled and perplexed. I sat there exasperated tilting my head towards the man whom woke up against the wall. He rubbed his bloodshot eyes and sat up from his slumber, initiating conversation while twirling tendrils of his beard between his index finger. This allowed me to break free of Doug’s ersatz behavior as he continued to babble on with his far-fetched stories. Todd and I looked blankly off into space as the fourth hitchhiker introduced himself.
“The name’s Brian…I been stuck here for a day already…walked from the Love’s the other day after Border Patrol stopped me back on the 10, at the checkpoint.”
“So you drove to Van Horn? Why’d they stop you,” I said confusedly?
“Hahaha…well…funny story…I was bangin’ this broad back in Vegas…and well shit was goin’ south…so I kinda “borrowed” her car without tellin’ her and started drivin’ it across the country…but ya see…I kinda forgot about Border Patrol. They nabbed me back at the checkpoint for drivin’ a stolen vehicle, but they couldn’ hold me cuz I knew the bitch, her numba, and all her information…so I just started walkin’…ended up here.”