Every once in awhile there’s a story that just needs to escape from the gray matter squished between my ears. This is one of those stories. No pictures. Just a few words. I’ll let you form your own pictures.
The jeep was thirsty. I was giving it a long drink at the Flying J when I was approached by The Hussy. Hey, I didn’t give her the name. She gave it to herself. She needed a ride and I had an empty seat.
It was a Tuesday morning and I was on my way to the 420 Hemp Fest in Seattle. It had been suggested by my editor that I attend this annual event so that I could experience what I was attempting to write about. The protagonist in my current novel needed some help in understanding the budding cannabis industry. I was going to help him, no matter what. But first there was this matter with The Hussy.
Picture this: a 27 year old female with a mocha complexion, 5’7”, 130 pounds, maybe 135, dark brown wavy hair, cut three inches below shoulder length, and a figure with all the right curves in all the right places. She was dressed appropriately for the weather, not showing off a lot of skin that might cause someone to label her a lot lizard. And if she had applied any makeup, it didn’t show. Hanging from her left shoulder, and gripped tightly in her hand, was a medium sized duffel, o.d. green and about three quarters full. Her right hand held a large coffee cup steaming with hot liquid.
This young lady who so captivated my attention was on her way to Fresno. The problem was, we were standing in Lodi. If I recall my geography correctly, I’m pretty damned sure that the road from Lodi to Seattle does not run through Fresno. I had three and a half weeks to get to Seattle, and I figured a Tuesday at the end of March would be the best time to test my memory on west coast geography. The three of us, me, The Hussy, and Old Grey, my jeep, were on our way to Fresno. Yes, what came to mind was that this Tuesday could possibly shape up to be one of the better Tuesdays in my life.
I’ve been living in Danville for the past nine years. I moved there when my third novel made the best sellers list. That seems like an eternity ago. Like most authors, I had been struggling at the time. Then I hit it big. Now I’m trying to duplicate that feeling of success. I’ve drank from the waters, and I want more. But, on this particular Tuesday I was willing to put success on the back burner. Just for awhile.
The drive ahead of us was about two half to three hours in length. I had that much time to convince this madonna settling in to my right that, more than anything else, she wanted to spend the evening with me. I didn’t get the opportunity to address the topic.
Before the click from The Hussy’s seat belt stopped echoing through the halls of my one track mind the young lady began to speak. For two hours and 45 minutes she didn’t shut up. I remember every torturous one of those 60 second blocks of time. I wish I didn’t, but pain like that takes a long time to forget. It leaves scar tissue.
I never got the chance to ask the talkative young lady her name. I learned all about how she acquired the moniker of Hussy, tough. Let me take correct that. I learned all about how she became THE Hussy. It was her mother’s doing.
Mom called her a hussy after coming home from shopping early and catching The Hussy in bed with The Step-Father. Wait. They were not in bed. The Hussy said they were all over the living room floor. She attempted to show me the rug burns, but Old Grey just doesn’t have the room for anyone other than a child to maneuver around in. I offered to pull over. However at that particular moment there was not a convenient exit on that southbound freeway. I thought if I played my cards right I might get the chance later to inspect her injuries. Poker is not my game, especially Texas Hold ‘Em. That talkative young lady ran all over me on the turn, before drowning me in the river. Now we were on our way to her cousin’s house in Fresno.
By the time I began hearing about her vaginitis I wanted nothing more than to dump her at the side of the road, point Old Grey north, and not slow down until I got to Oregon, or ran out of gas, whichever came first. The radio in Old Grey does not work, so I could not drown her out nor shut her up. I was seriously contemplating shoving pencils into my ears, but I didn’t have any pencils on me at the time. We hadn’t even made it to Turlock.
Turlock to Fresno is a very, very long ways. I’ve never come so close to running head-on into a bridge abutment at 65 miles per hour just to give my ears a rest. By the time we got to Delhi she had turned sideways in her seat so that she could speak directly into my tortured right ear without having to turn her head. She could save her neck muscles that way, she said. For what, I did not know. At the time I did not know. I do now. She told me. And I think she was willing to show me. Right then and there. If it would have shut her up, I would have immediately agreed. I was afraid, though, that it would only add to the time we were forced to spend together, and I’m not sure my sensibilities could handle it. And that’s not even giving any consideration to my poor hearing.
Oh, I’m not saying she couldn’t do what she said she could. I was afraid she would. In a jeep that has very little room, especially behind the steering wheel. Southbound on the interstate at 65 miles per hour. And, my guess is she wouldn’t even miss a word in her continuous mutterings.
She talked about more things than I think I could ever hope to remember. There was the weekend she spent in Tahoe with Billy, and the time she spent in Cancun for spring break. I think she told me how she starred in one of the Girls Gone Wild videos. Or, maybe she was watching it when the cops busted her in the motel in Elk Grove.
There’s her boyfriend serving in Afghanistan, and the convict she’s so in love with. They’re going to get married if he ever gets out of San Quentin. I was ready to pull my ears off the side of my head.
She had to tell me about her broken arm when she was 10, and her root canal just last year. She’s got an ingrown toenail, and she was insistent that she is in need of a waxing. What did I think? I sat tightly gripping the steering wheel, and staring straight ahead. At 65 miles per hour in an aging jeep a guy can’t afford to lose concentration. One of two things was going to happen before the sun set on this particular Tuesday—I was going to kill her, or I was going to kill myself.
I’m happy to say neither happened. Fortunately The Hussy’s cousin lives on the north end of town, about six blocks off the freeway. I was never so happy to see someone go. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I sat there watching the young lady walk away, wishing things could have turned out differently. But, what a beautiful sight, anyway.
I am now a very happy man. I’m sure I would have been equally pleased, if not more, had spent more time with her—about 10-15 minutes, if that long—but, the peaceful solitude of quiet brought me back to my senses. I needed a break. A very long break. The kind of break that will take me all the way to Seattle. There’s a character that needs to be saved, and I’m just the person to save him.
Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.