Well, at least he didn’t try to make it all perfect. More interesting with her all sweaty and all.
Just listen. That's when she tells me, "Yeah, it was fate. He actually found an arrowhead and gave it to me and said that it was symbolic and that’s why he’d decided to do it right there on the spot."
I know, right? My bullshit detector is in overdrive now. I go, "Wait, hold on, so he wouldn’t have proposed if he hadn’t found that arrowhead?" She thinks a second and says, "I guess not. So what?" So I ask, "What did it look like?" and she's all confused. I repeat, "What did it look like? Was it big? Small?" "That big," she says holding her fingers about three inches apart like I’m doing right now. "What color?" "I don't know. Rock color." "Did you see him find it?" "Yeah." "Did you see him pick it up?" "I think so. Why?" she asks. "Nothing. Keep going," I say, and she goes on with her story, "So, it was great because the last time we went hiking out there, I found an arrowhead. And he said he almost proposed to me back then." "Whoa, back up!" I cough, "You found one years before?" "Yeah, so what?" "Okay, remember when you said you were lost? Who was lost?" She thinks hard, "He was. He’s the one who goes there to fish, not me." "Yeah, no shit he goes fishing." I mutter. Then I almost grab her head so she’ll pay attention to what I’m saying, "Just think about this for a second though. Don’t you think that he may have just been pretending to be lost so he could find this arrowhead he’d stashed, or better yet actually got lost looking for the arrowhead he’d stashed just so he could find it in front of you and then act like it inspired him to propose?"
What did she say?
She got mad. But that was nothing compared to how mad he was when I asked him about it.
No shit. Arrowhead, my ass! I’d take that thing to the fucking lab. Try to find the bar code on the back of it. Maybe the ring, too. Hey, you should mail her a big-ass bag of arrowheads in the mail with a note saying "Thanks for your bulk order! Here's some more for anniversaries!"
He was right though.
That it was symbolic.
Because I stuck it in his fucking eye. Well, tried to. More like stuck it in his ear. No, I'm just kidding, man. Keep that door shut.
* * *
How far did you say you were going?
I can take you about 20 more miles.
Hey, you keep me awake, and I'll keep you moving. And if you’re trying to scare me with that talk about jail, keep it up. I need to drive about ten more hours anyway, and that shit's better than coffee.
I wasn’t trying to scare anyone. Just talkin’. I figured you didn't scare easy. Anyone that picks up someone under that sign.
"Prison Area: Don't Pick Up Hitchhikers?"
Okay, you know what I overheard outside the gate? This mom and dad were talking to their daughter - she was real little - about some wedding, and they said, "You don’t want to be the flower girl?" And this little girl, about half the size of a cricket, says, "No. I want to be the dragon!"
Ha! I want to see that wedding.
Loved it. What does that even mean?
What’s up with this theme, man? I don’t pick up an ex-con to hear about weddings. What else you got?
Hey, you're the one dressed like you just got back from a wedding.
What are you trying to say?
Whoa, man. Sorry. Just trying to entertain your ass, pay for my ride.
Do you smoke?
Here, take one of mine. You should, you know. Hitchhikers are supposed to smoke. Makes you look more normal. Kind of like walking and eating a sandwich. Makes your odds go up. Getting a ride I mean.
Am I reading these signs right?
Did I really just leave "Moon" and am now entering "Mars?"
Yep. Just outside Pittsburgh.
What time’s that job interview again?
We’re in the middle of it.
When you worked as a captioner, how many captions did you type a day?
I don't know. Thousands?
That's not that much.
Nothing ever sounds like that much. When an astronomer says, "There’s hundreds of thousands of stars up there right now," it never sounds like enough, does it?
Not even close.
Who are you talking to?
Did you know that in closed captioning, you desperately wait for a man to be by himself so he won’t fucking speak.
I can believe that. Wait, was that a hint?
Hey, you see that sign?
The one that says "Stay Off Shoulders?"
Exactly. I'm gonna have to ask you to cease that back rub immediately.
I want to work on a train. That would be like being paid to be in a car without having to worry about the driving.
All the momentum. None of the responsibility.
Job interview, huh?
Yeah, it’s the third one. I nailed the first two. Closest I’ve ever got.
Third interview? If you don’t have the job after two, you should hang it up. What is there left to ask you about?
Well, the first one was the asking. The second one was typing. The third is apparently urine. Can't drive a limo forever, you know? Got to get back to my training.
Damn. Drug tests, eh? Well, you shouldn’t have to worry about that. Now, if they showed you ink blots, then you might have a problem.
You should talk. All you’d see are a bunch of weddings.
No. I’m used to those tests. I already have a harmless list memorized no matter what they show me. “Dog, cat, duck, spider, lizard, crab, praying mantis.” And if I’m up against the wall, “Half a duck.” Why do you keep talking about weddings when you’re the one wearing a tux?
So, how did you take a typing test with your hand like...
It doesn’t change anything. Actually, it makes me faster.
I took a urine test for a new job once and found it to be a very nerve-wracking experience. Not because there were any drugs in my system but because I normally drink a shitload of water every day and it turns out that too much water in the sample can be considered “diluted.” Add my pot-tokin’ friend who said I should drink all the water I could because of the contact high from shaking his hands or taking his phone calls. So I chug about nine glasses, then grab a phone book to find the lab closest to me that did this testing. They were closed. And the next closest one was also the furthest. I call them anyway and I’m told they’re closing soon but I might make it if I hurry. The girl on the phone says, “Fine. Hurry up. But please make sure you can urinate when you get here because we hate when people come in at the last minute and can’t perform!” So I run back to the faucet and slam three more glasses of water and crash out of my house, bladder visibly swelling like a conjoined twin as I painfully stub my stomach on my car door. I drive slightly slower than the speed of sound and jump a curb as I come flying in hot with about ten seconds to spare. The angry girl from the phone meets me in the lobby with a cup and yells as I’m running to the bathroom. “Don’t flush! Please do not flush the toilet or your test is disqualified!” “Why not?” I ask over my shoulder, zipper halfway down. “Because people use fake bladders and flush them all the time.” I want to ask her more about this bizarre image, but I have no time. In the bathroom, ready to burst, I hose the cup with the weight and velocity of ballistic missile exhaust. But I can’t stop. And the waves are quickly approaching the brim. “Do you have any more cups?!” I shout through the door as the surface tension bubbles and strains around the edges. I hold my breath to try to lower the pressure. “What?” she asks indifferently. So I turn broken hydrant toward the toilet in desperation and, I’m totally serious here, begin to fill that to the top, too. The water is just getting ready to pour over the rim and onto my feet when I reflexively reach out and flush. “What are you doing?!” she screams from outside, suddenly interested. “Saving your life!” I scream back. When I’m finally out and the tsunami has calmed down, she holds my cup up to the light, squinting. Proudly, I tug on my belt and say, “Got fifty more cups you need filled? Is there an orphanage on fire nearby?” But she just squints harder then mutters, “Hmm, they might send this back because it’s too clear.” I’m like, “What?! You just told me to drink a bunch of water, Doc!” And she shrugs and says “Maybe they won’t. But we’ll see.” So I go home all paranoid and hit the internet. Big mistake. I read about people failing drug tests just for watching stoner movies three hours before their tests or even singing along to popular ‘60s songs on the way to the lab. It also says that people usually shave their heads so they can’t do a follicle test on them, too. I start thinking, “Oh, no. I just shaved my head yesterday and I drink water. I am the most suspicious drug addict on the planet. I will never be hired again with such a cranium and twelve gallons of crystal-clear piss that pours forth from my body like a pure Arctic stream!”
Did you pass?
I don’t know. I started cutting the neighbor's grass instead. Less stress, lots of water to drink from a hose, and I could listen to music all day.
So, are you going to fuck up someone’s wedding or what?
Wait, am I reading none of these signs right?
* * *
I thought you didn’t need gas?
Now I do.
But your gas cap's on the driver's side. Plus your car's about 20 feet away.
Yeah, but you're over here.
Don't point that nozzle at me.
* * *
So, how far are you going?
Next town's fine. Thanks for the ride, man. Never got picked up in a limo. Anybody back there?
Don't open that. You'll let out the air. Hey, I see you looking at my hand. Don't worry about it. It's the first thing a hitchhiker notices, since their thumbs been erect all day.
I wasn't really looking at…
Hey, you ever actually piss on someone's wedding cake?
You ever burn one down? A wedding, I mean.
Why do you keep asking me about weddings? You're the one in the tuxedo, man.
You didn't see that cake in the road back there? That's the only reason I can think of for somebody throwing the whole thing away like that.
No. Just drop me at the next gas station.
Well, see that smoke? That's was the closest one. But you’re not gonna want to go near it.
Some dumb bastard was smoking next to the pump. You don't smoke do you?
Here, take one of mine. You should. Makes your odds go up.