The hitch

In the four months before setting out Will had lost everything he valued. Colleen had left after an argument. For a while she’d call—tell him the door was still open, she just needed sort-out time. But the factory closed while she was sorting out and the Will she thought she wanted was hard to find in the haze of self pity he dived headlong into. Speed and booze. Street fights he was bound to loose. Every macho indulgence that stopped him having to work his way out. Until he missed his rent and his landlord changed the locks.

Now he was high above a lonely road in a talkative stranger’s truck. ‘I had this chick in ‘ere last week got out at Mallory. No one ever stops at Mallory so I says, “What’re you runnin’ from,” an’ she says, “The usual.”

‘”What’s that?” I says

‘”Love gone wrong.”

‘”You gonna be alright?” I says.

‘She’s got a job in a roadhouse, she says. “Right as summer rain.” I ain’t ever heard anyone say it that way. Summer rain, she says. Ha. Strange.’

But Will had heard it. She’d got it from her grandmother. Said it all the time. ‘How far to Mallory,’ he said.

‘Blimey, not you too. Ah well. No accountin’g for taste I s’pose.’

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