The Traveler has somewhere to be, and only his feet to get him there. Footsteps will suffice, however, he walks on the highway, keeping his thumb out in hope of hitching a ride. A cloud white pick-up truck pulls to the side of the road – tinted window rolls down, revealing the well dressed Driver and Passenger within.
“I ain’t never run from the sun but it’s hot out here today.” Driver says in a thick as barbecue southern accent, “You’ll be drier than a Sunday if, and that’s if, you ever get to where you’re headed.”
Passenger leans as far toward the Traveler as her seatbelt will allow. “Not from ‘round these parts, huh?”
“No,” The Traveler admits, “Just passing through.”
Traveler points in the direction he’d been walking. “That way.”
“Well if you don’t mind a little clankin’, hop in the back. Not the eye-deal situation but it’s gotta be better than walkin’.”
“I’m looking forward to the breeze.” Traveler says and climbs into the back of the truck.
“Let me know when you’re settled.”
Traveler wedges a crowbar between a weed whacker and folded wheelchair, then dislodges a weather stained yoga mat to use as a pillow. “You got a whole Wal-Mart back here, huh?”
Driver laughs. “We keep a buncha’ stuff on hand to help whoever we can.”
“That’s seriously why you’re driving around?”
“We stopped to pick you up, didn’t we?”
“Fair point,” Traveler says through the half-open rear window, “And I’m not complaining by the way, moreso just curious. Like, why?”
“Well,” Driver shifts the car into gear, “We like to think of ourselves as good people, so we do what good people do.:
“We care.” Passenger adds on.
“Lucky me.” Traveler says, now on his back; as the truck picks up speed he watches the clouds run into each other, into the highway line he’d been using as a guide. He starts to doze, eyes close…
A sharp turn – tires screech – Traveler slides across the bed of the truck, slams into its side – now awake he sits up and recognizes the surrounding area from having walked it the day before. “What’re we doing back here?”
“Radio said somethin’ ‘bout a fire back this way.”
“But you said you’d take me that way.” The moment this is said, Driver whips the car into a U-turn across the multi-lane highway, once again sliding the Traveller around like cargo.
“I gotcha’ partner. No problem.”
Passenger’s phone dings – she shows it to Driver – another vicious U-turn – they-’re headed the wrong way, and Traveller’s stomach flips. “Mind pulling over? Think I’d rather walk.”
Though, as the truck rolls to a stop, they plead with him to stay, the Traveler gets out, is back on his way – as he walks, a glance over his shoulder shows the truck leaving skid marks as it doughnuts around the highway.