AFTER A HEARTY NIGHT’S SLEEP, I should be rainbows and kitten paws, instead I’m a pack of snarling rabid dogs ready to bite the hand off anyone who tries to pet me. Or beat me. There will be no more hick-ups during this road trip, and no more ten hour siestas. I’m a disappointment to myself.
Without Eddie, the ghost of Daddy is riding shotgun.
“Ease up on the gas,” he says, as he always did whenever we went driving. One ill-timed curve in the road and this entire event will be over. I ease up as instructed. He’s still looking out for me, and Candy.
Heading right into the sun, I’m practically blinded, and I pull the visor down to save me a headache in an hour. A thin film of sweat covers my entire body. I’ve traded my old dirty duds for one of Eddie’s white t-shirts and the tiniest pair of jean shorts ever made. They must be Susannah’s. I usually don’t wear things that separate my vagina in such a fashion.
I’m picking the mother of all cunt wedgies when I see the white Jetta parked at the side of the road. And I’m left to ponder whether three times really is the charm.
Truthfully, I don’t have any intention of stopping. Not only because I’m in the worst mood I’ve ever been in, but also because I’m on a mission. I guess my womanly compassion has kicked in because Candy’s speed is dropping.
Well, she did buy me breakfast. It’s only fair to return the kind gesture.
Easing to the side of the road, I park about twenty feet in front of her car and wait. In the rearview, I watch. She slides off the trunk. And here she comes. Hips swaying like a pendulum on a grandfather clock. Tick-Tock. Tick-tock. She’s 100% legs and attitude.
The passenger side window is open and she leans down, bracing a hand on the roof of the Barracuda. She pushes her aviator glasses up onto her head. Cool, calm blue oceans hold me down.
“I wondered if I’d be seeing you again.”
“It’s not exactly safe out here for pretty girls.”
“You think I’m pretty?” She says the word ‘pretty’ in this cute way that annoys me a little, then again, I am highly irritable at any given moment.
Shrugging it off, I jerk my head back to the Volkswager Jetta. “Car troubles?”
“Seems I’ve drove her into the ground.” There’s the wicked smirk from the Cadillac Ranch.
Eddie’s taught me the way around an engine, so I offer my assistance. “Do you want me to take a look?”
“No, she’s good and dead. Unless you have some kind of spare accelerator cable thingamajig”
I don’t. “Where ya headin’?”
“Anywhere and nowhere.”
Not big on riddles, I ply her with a bored glare. “I’m heading to Vegas, do you want a ride?”
“Smoking indoors and legalized prostitution. Sounds lovely.”
After she tosses her swanky brown leather duffle into the backseat, she climbs in. Her nails are impeccably manicured—her feet and hands. She doesn’t belong in Candy. She’s too rich to be riding with trash like me. Southern trash meets aristocratic Park Avenue, or whatever the English equivalent would be. I contemplate kicking her out. Do I really want to spend time with a woman whose luggage cost more than my whole wardrobe, shoes included? Actually, these cowboy boots cost Eddie a pretty penny.
Then I notice the way my passenger’s gaze flicks to the side mirrors before settling back on me.
Starting the engine, I ask, “Are you being followed?”
She shakes her head. “Impossible.”
Someone’s got a secret.
I shoulder check and pull off the side of the road. When the needle hits 75 MPH, I say, “My name is Loretta.”
“Nice to meet you, Loretta. You can call me Sally.”
I laugh. “Sure, I can.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I feel her watching me. “What?”
“I can call you Sally, but that’s not your name.”
She cocks her head to the side. “Why do you say that?”
“Because I know of only three Sallys. Sally Field, Sally Struthers and my old sixth grade teacher Mrs Sally-Anne Jones. None of them are younger than sixty-three.”
“How old are you?”
“Name one Sally born after 1985.”
She doesn’t. She just sits there staring out the windshield. After several minutes, I say, “How about I call you Blondie.”
Turning towards me, she says, in the most earnest way, “I’d like that.”
We both check the mirrors at the same time.