Episode 11 – Pick Up

Just before dark, a car slows and stops. A nondescript fifty-something guy rolls down the window. “You in trouble?”

“Yeah, sort of,” I tell him. “Some fucking assholes stole our clothes!”

He looks around. “Is somebody with you?”

I point to trees. “Yeah, my girlfriend. Can you give us a ride?”

He looks me over curiously. “How old are you?”

“Fourteen. We were swimming…when we got out, our clothes were gone.”

“That’s shitty. Okay, get in. How far you going?”

“Prescott Corners.”

“Call your friend.”

I yell to Azalea who works her way to the ditch. Pauses at the edge. “Gus, help me. It’s steep.”

I leap the rail, slide down the bank…reach out to her. She grabs my hand and slithers down. From the bottom, we scramble up with me pushing. Finally, make it to the car. Thankfully, the guy’s still there.

Azalea peers in…says to him: “Can I talk to my friend a minute?”

“Sure,” he says impatiently, “but make it snappy. I’ve got errands to do.”

She pulls me aside. “He looks creepy.”

“He does?” I glance at the car. It’s all beat up and a hubcap’s missing, plus the guy’s staring at us…sort of weirdly. “Yeah, you’re right. but it’ll be dark soon, and we don’t wanna get stranded out here.”

“I guess…let’s both sit in the back.”

We open the back door and jump in. He studies us in the mirror. “So, where you kids going exactly?”

Azalea and I look at each other. It’s a good question. Wonder if Dad’ll go ballistic if I show up with Azalea, but I can’t abandon her. No way! I lean over the front seat. “Can you take us to my house….on Tanner Road…maybe eight miles?”

He mumbles “I guess so, but we have to stop at my place. I’m going to the supermarket and forgot my wallet.” He glances at my shoulders…and chest. “So, somebody really stole your clothes? No bullshit?”

What does he think? We love wandering around naked? Azalea and I glance at each other. “That’s exactly what happened.” I reply.

“You were swimming bare ass?”

Azalea grabs my dick…yanks me onto the back seat. “The guy’s too fucking interested,” she whispers, “don’t answer his weird questions.”

I look up to see the guy staring in the mirror….he’s so fucking curious.

“I whisper in Azalea’s ear. “Should we get out?”

“You decide.”

The guy won’t let up. “That water must of felt good. You guys like to party?”

Azalea scrunches her face, like, are you kidding me?

“We’re not big partyers,” I reply.

“Got lots of cold brew in the fridge.”

“No thanks.” the guy’s starting to freak me out…driving really slow with the window down…arm hanging out.

“You mind if I smoke?” He asks. “It’s funny smoke. You know what I’m saying?”

“Uh huh,” Azalea replies.

He pulls a zip-lock bag off the passenger seat…fishes out a joint. Fires it up. “Man,” he exclaims. “Nothing like weed at the end of the day! Wanna hit?”

“No thanks,” I tell him. I don’t like talking to the guy, but feel guilty because he’s doing us a favor. “What do you do?” I ask.

“Handyman….a little of everything. Usually drive my van, but it’s in the shop. What’s your name, son?”

Azalea elbows me. Shakes her head…don’t answer.

“Bobby Smith,” I tell him.

We turn into a brick house in the middle of nowhere. No garage…propane tank by the back door…bare and basic…square of scruffy lawn…no shrubs or anything.

He parks, pushes open the door…swings his legs out…stares at us. “Join me. Have a beer.”

“No thanks,” Azalea says.

“Suit yourselves.” He ambles into the house…slams the door. We sit waiting. An hour goes by and he doesn’t show. The lights are on and we can see him walking around, but he doesn’t come out.

“What the fuck’s he doing?” Azalea exclaims. “He’s so strange!”

“Should we take off? It’s so dark, nobody’ll notice us.”

“The asshole knows we’re sitting here naked….could at least lend us blankets or something.”

“Yeah,” I agree. “It’s fucked up, right?”

As time passes, I’m more and more worried…not sure where we are…wonder if Dad’s home. I’m freaked about school…homework. Let out a sigh. “Jeez, I’ve never had a day like this before! You doing okay?”

“Sure, baby. I’d rather be somewhere cozy, but I’m with you, and that’s what really matters.”

I’m getting hyper. We could end up waiting all night. “What the fuck should we do?”

“Go see what he’s doing. Maybe he’s asleep.”

“You think it’s okay to go in?”

“Definitely! We can’t stay here forever.”

“You wanna come.”

“No way. I’m not going in any strange man’s house. That’s a man’s work. I’m more likely to get attacked than you.”

“He stopped for me.”

She frowns, studies me. “What are you saying, baby?”

“I’m just saying this guy could be into guys or girls. I’ll go in, no problem, but I’m a little freaked either way. I’ve never had to, like, deal with a perv before. I’ll fight if I have to.”

“No need for drama, Gussy. Just see if you can get us clothes, so we can get going.”

To be continued…..Read next episode!