By Colin Kurtz


She had her thumb out just past the junction of Highways 395 and 190. I was hauling ass – making good time – barreling down out of the cool Sierra Nevada’s and roaring across the harsh, hot flats below. I shot her a quick glance as I motored by, did a double-take; she was a looker. I pumped the brakes, hesitating, then stomped down on the pedal, slewing over to the shoulder of the shimmering asphalt.

            I was hell-bent for LA., things to do and people to see, miles to go before I slept with anyone. I didn’t have time to stop and smell the hitchhikers. But I thought, “what the hell”? It’d been a long, hard, lonely drive from Chi and a little innocent conversation wouldn’t slow me down any.

            I drummed the steering wheel of the rumbling car, watching in the rear view mirror as she ran towards me – twin, golden-brown ponytails flopping, breasts bouncing free and easy beneath a green tank top, legs flashing brown and smooth in a pair of khaki shorts and black boots. She had a big, Army-style pack strapped to her back, and a beaded choker around her neck. And as she pulled even with the rear bumper, I noticed that she wasn’t any flighty teen queen thumbing a summer away; she was a woman, a woman in her mid-to-late-forties.

            She yanked the door open, shrugged off the backpack and stowed it in the back seat, then slid inside. The dust and dry, oven-hot air of the road came with her. She slammed the door shut and said, “Hi. Thanks.”

            I stared into the brightest, bluest eyes I’d ever seen. They were shining pools in a sun-browned, pretty face. I pulled away from her eyes, gave the rest of her the once-over, taking in her freckled chest, the warm, inviting depth of her cleavage, the twin points indenting the thin material of her top, her slim, supple arms and legs. There were crow’s feet spreading out from the corners of her eyes and laugh lines around her mouth, and her chest hung a little low, but somehow all that only enhanced her seasoned good looks. She smelled surprisingly fresh, clean.

            “No problem,” I said, glancing at my watch. Time was a-wasting. It stopped for no man, or woman. I punched the accelerator, fishtailed back onto the highway in a spray of gravel. “Where’re you headed?”

            I shot her another look. She was staring straight ahead, hands in her lap, smile tugging on the edges of her lips.

            The car ate up the road, like there was no stopping it.

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