JUSTYN WITHERS - HITCHHIKER
Justyn Withers is a full-time student learning the art of writing stories while drawing in his spare time. While he does not have a website yet, you can follow him on Twitter @SebbieMayCry where he posts his artwork. You can also find him on Linkedin.
“Where ya headed, young man?” the old man asks with a gentle smile on his face, although somewhat hidden by his large grey beard, as he leans out the window to talk. He wears a red plaid shirt with blue overalls on, covered in dried dirt the same color as his boots. He has his old pickups window rolled down as he talks to a young man. The younger gentleman is wearing a dirty black suit, with his long black hair in a mess and a duffle bag slung over his shoulder.
“I need to get to L.A.,” the young man speaks with no hesitation. He sets the duffle bag in the back of the pickup truck, before moving to the passenger door.
The old man moves what looks to be log books and notebooks to the middle seat as the young man gets in. The inside of the pickup is surprisingly clean for being so old, with its seats looking almost brand new.
“You keep good care of your truck, don’t you,” the young man says as he buckles his seat.
“Why of course. I might be a farmer but that doesn’t mean I can’t be presentable to folks,” the old man says, ending with a hearty chuckle. “So, what’s waitin for you in L.A., mister?” the old man asks as he pulls back onto the road and begins driving south.
“You can call me Jack. I’m heading to a funeral,” Jack says as he stares straight ahead “My sister passed away.”
“Well now. I’m sorry to hear that, Jack. I shoulda guessed from the all black suit,” the old man says before adding something that surprises Jack. “So, what’s with the guns in the bag?”
Jack looks back at the old man surprised. He stares for a second before letting out a sigh. “That easy to tell?”
“If you really wanted to hide em, ya shoulda wrapped them in a blanket,” the old man says.
“Now why don’t ya tell me why you’re really going to L.A., Jack,” the old man says, keeping his eyes on the road.
“Why? So, you can report me to the police?” Jack says, his body tensing up in defense.
“Now when did I ever say that?”
Jack stares at the old man again before loosening up.
“Revenge,” Jack says, his eyes looking to the moon as it shines brightly upon the pickup. “My sister was murdered by a gang.”
“Ah now that is quite the reason,” the old man says, his eyes still fixed on the road. “And what will you do after you kill this gang?”
“Huh?” Jack says, surprised at the old man’s lack of reaction.
“Get arrested? What good will that do ya? What if you die?” the old man rattles off reason after reason, each one drilling into Jack.
Jack sits there, stunned for a minute. After moment, he collects himself and asks “What are you trying to say? Not to get revenge for my sister?”
“Of course not. What I’m saying is do ya really wanna throw away your life so easily? Wouldn’t your sister want you to live? What about the rest of your family? You’re just gonna die and there will be another funeral for your family and friends to attend,” The old man says as the car starts slowing down.
Jack sits there, contemplating his plans.
“Now, I won’t tell ya what to do, but I would be happy if you took my words to heart and thought about all this,” the old man says as the car comes to a complete stop. “This is your stop.”
The lights of L.A. shines brightly as the pickup sits there.
Jack opens the passenger door and steps out of the truck. He grabs his bag out of the back and circles around to the driver side door. The old man hands Jack a business card.
“Give me a call when you’ve made your decision, alright? Now have a goodnight Jack. Stay safe,” the old man says, with that same smile from when he first picked up Jack on his face. The old man rolls up his window and drives off, leaving Jack under a streetlight. Jack stands there, his back straightens up as he comes to a new resolve and walks off into the light of L.A.