"GOING MY WAY?"
The road snapped back,
winding hill country,
North Carolina, Georgia.
I don’t remember no more.
Scruffy low-slung hills,
not green like where I’s from.
It don’t matter, it’s all the same in the end.
A long road, either straight or curving,
people passing by or stopping,
it’s all a smooth ride or a rough time,
variations on one slice'a pie.
I was sixteen or seventeen at the time,
so I didn’t know any better.
When the old Buick stopped
I couldn’t believe my luck.
I was sure enough tired.
It'd been a long day a'searing heat,
and nasty looks.
I threw my pack in behind the driver,
then slid in behind the passenger.
We rode on for a while, no one talkin.
Hills snugged up tight around us.
I remember it as some kinda canyon country,
but it wasn’t desert country we was in.
It was just a bunch of hills squeezed up close,
stranglin and controllin.
They was two long haired guy’s (this being
the early seventy’s).
They looked cool to me.
The passenger passed me a joint.
Not what I’d expected out here
in "hilly-billy" country.
The driver sported sunglasses and a beard.
Was’nt much to see or describe.
The passenger though, turned round
in the long bench seat.
He slipped a tight jeaned,
cowboy-booted leg up on the seat,
his back against the passenger door.
Now he could eye-ball me straight on.
It was kinda like scene in the movies.
That's what hitch hikin is like,
throw out your thumb and the film begins.
He had a long, gaunt, unshaven face,
with dark eye sockets framin two
maniacally charged eyeballs,
sorta messianic and stabbin.
“Where you from?”, he asked.
“Up north.”, I said
I’d told them where I was heading
when I’d stepped in the car,
so now they knew the whole story.
We rode on for a bit,
not saying much but we eye-balled one another.
His glance bit deeper.
“Where you guy’s from?”, I asked.
I can’t remember the answer they gave,
but it got the ball rolling
and the conversation slid along.
After a while, the partner asks me if
I believe in Jesus?
I answered something irreverent,
but good humoured.
Well, they hadn’t struck me as howlin Christians.
Passenger shoots me a look though,
put t'hairs on the back a'my neck
to standin, goosing me with warning signals.
I back tracked on what I’d said,
My new, and sufficiently respectfull tone,
calmed him down somewhat.
We stayed on a "Jesus and God" track though.
He was deadly serious,
there was no good old boy chuckle
and he didn’t once crack a smile.
I don’t usually like this type, just like
I don’t jitter-bug with rattle snakes,
if given the choice.
These two boy’s was stone-cold freaks,
I'd cast my choices out t'window.
when I'd accepted the ride,
so it was time to go with the flow
and hope I get out in one piece.
Sometimes life slows down
in crystal clear moments,
like when you fear your life is threatened.
You’re aware of everything, all at once.
Your life slips by in flashes,
devoid of clarity,
but strong in impressions.
Your friends and family,
flow in perceptions,
suddenly compressed by the
preassure of ticking seconds.
I don’t know about yu'all,
but I'm struck with a mix'a shockin calm
in thoses situations.
I’m tensed up, ready to react.
I'm like an over-wound watch,
while at the same time a fatalistic calm
It’s an odd mixture,
sets the teeth on edge.
The driver takes it all in,
his buddy play's the drill bit,
borin in with his nasty little beady eye’s.
I had no idea what their game was
and tried not to set them off.
We seemed to be on the brink of something,
an'I wanted no part of it.
His hands was all busy twistin,
and playing with somethin.
I’d not noticed til now,
so I passed a glance over the seat.
I caught a glimpse'a somethin long and shiny,
and felt a chill roll up my spine.
He was rotatin a long,
and right unfriendly looking Bowie knife
a'tween his long and dangerous fingers.
Reflections off the blade
broke up in the sunlight,
like'a pulsin metronome.
He's dissectin me with his psycho-stare,
probin fer'a weakness that could light the fuse.
The air was thick and mean all'a sudden.
A slow-drawn evil bustin out his eyes.
This boy was no stand up comic,
and I wanted out'a this.
Where to go?.
What to do?
Hmmm, nothing and nowhere.
I was stuck.
I paid for the ride and he was my prize.
Lucky me, shit!
I made'a quick inventory of weapons.
I had a Swiss army knife,
but it was buried in my pack.
Wouldn't help me no-how,
iffin our boy decided it was time
to take out a non-believer
in'a slash and stab ritual.
My only weapon was'a hopein and prayin,
and it takes a lot to bring me to prayin.
Sometimes though if we is pure a'heart,
our prayers will be answered.
We broke out'a them spooky hills,
rolling up t'the outskirts of a small town.
There was suddenly other people about,
what a welcome sight!
We stopped at a red light and a real
American, middle class dream family,
in a big old station wagon,
rolls up next to us.
Sure enough, a big old station wagon
with mom and dad up front,
couple'a little rascals peering out
from the back seat.
I’d never been a fan'a family movies,
like those from the "fifty’s", but right now
I never saw anything quite so beautiful.
I was expectin to see that old friendly
local sheriff from the TV shows
of my childhood.
American flags soon popped up on the horizon
with post offices and gas stations.
We was coming up to a road crossing
with a diner and a bar on the corner.
I took the moment in hand
an said I was hungry,
and they could let me out
at the stop sign up ahead.
The Buick veered off the road
and lurched to a stop.
I grabbed my pack and opened the door.
In one fluid motion,
I was standin outside the car,
and thankin my lord.
Thank you Lord!!!
Some things is too strange
t'try an get your head round.
It’s best t'move on,
while'ya still can.
I thanked the boy’s for the lift,
and quickly shoved off for the diner,
puttin as much distance a'tween us
as I could, as fast I'could.
I veered over t'the bar (with it’s
collection'a old, dusty pick-up
trucks out front), as soon as
the Buick was out'a site.
When I entered the bar,
I was quick to notice that my hair
wasn’t in style round these here parts.
Shit, compared'ta what I’d left a'hind me,
well, I took a seat along the bar
(I looked older than I was).
I felt all warm and cozy,
I ordered a beer,
and iffan I’d the money,
I’da bought all them red-necks
a'round a drinks as well.