Friday, November 14, 2014

Hitcher (a 500-word freaky flash fiction story) by Oren Shafir

Anyone else would have sped right by the big man, but not him. Everyone is God, Charlie thought: me, the children, even this hitchhiker.


"Thanks for pulling over, man." the hitcher said. "I'm going all the way to L.A, but anywhere you can take me out of this rain is fine with me."

"I'll take you all the way, brother."

"Oh, far out man."

Charlie laughed. "Climb on board, man."

Now Charlie could see that the big man was not much more than a teenager really. He had some light blonde peach fuzz on his upper lip, smooth shiny skin and disarming blue eyes. But despite the baby face, his arms were muscular and his hands big and coarse. And when he stretched to get the cigarettes from his bag, you could see cigarette burns on the inside of his wrists. Charlie wasn't scared though. He didn't believe in good and evil the way the establishment wanted you to.

"So, what are you going to do in L.A. man?"

"Huh? Oh, I'm going to visit my aunt." 

"I didn't ask who you're going to visit. I asked what you're going to do."

"Oh right. Well, I write songs, man, so I'm going to try to be a musician."

"Cool. Only you set your sights too low, brother. You're not going to try to be a musician. You're going to be a rock star. Like the Beatles, man."

The kid laughed.

"You will. I can tell," Charlie said.

"What makes you say that?"

"I'm  a good judge of character. I can tell you have the soul of a poet."

"No, I don't."

"Yes, you do. Whoever you are, what you know is what you are.  Righteous.  You're a good person."

"No, really," the kid said looking at Charlie out of the corner of his eyes.

Charlie figured he must have had a hard life. "What's your name?" he asked. 

"Why?" the kid snapped a little too loudly, but Charlie didn't seem to notice.

"Cause I wanna know the name of the future rock star, so I can say I knew him way back when."

"Jessie James."

"Like the outlaw? Far out. That aint your real name though, is it?"

"Well, no, it's my stage name."

"You don't need a stage name, man. You should use your real name. Be proud of who are."

"But my real name's Jessie Gross."

"Oh, well, I guess Jessie James is pretty cool, after all."

They both laughed at that. Then the kid got quiet.

"What's the matter?" Charlie asked.

"It's just that I haven't told anyone my real name since I left home. I've been  using Brown as my last name."

The raindrops came faster and bigger now hitting the windshield like bullets. The highway turned into a dark one-lane road, and Charlie had to squint to see through the rain. 

"Did you run away from home?" he asked.

"Yeah." the kid whispered.

"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. You can trust me."

"I do. I don't know why, but I do. I really trust you, man,  you're cool."

"Thanks."

"So what's your name, and what do you do?" the kid asked.

"It's Charlie," he said, taking one hand off the wheel to shake hands, "Charlie Manson, and I'm a god."


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