Detours Pt. 01

Babes

It was Bonnie’s dad who had instilled in her the love of a good, long road-trip. Her appreciation of the finer things such as a car loaded with snack-food and CDs, rest stops, and the nuances of “roadkill bingo” were all because of him. He enjoyed planning his routes as much as he did just tossing the bags in the trunk on a whim and picking a direction and driving.

And Bonnie always went with him.

“North American roads have more total distance than the rest of the world combined,” he told her. She wasn’t sure if he was right, but she rarely doubted her dad.

“Why fly when you can drive? Stop when you want, where you want, and do whatever you want,” he continued, “Make it an adventure, right?”

Bonnie would roll her eyes each time her dad inevitably recited that particular credo sometime about the midway point of every journey. In truth though, she took comfort in hearing him say it.

“The devil is in the detours,” he would conclude then smile, pleased with his own turn of the phrase. As she got older, she began to wonder to herself if he had thought it through what that actually meant. Despite that though, Bonnie recited it along with him.

“The devil is in the detours.”

By the time she was eleven, she was tall enough to sit in the passenger seat beside him -shotgun- taking the spot where her mother would have been if she were alive. She could tell her dad liked having her up front with him, too.

When she turned sixteen and she began to get that itch to take the wheel herself, her dad decided to reveal to her his “rules of the road-trip” while on their way to a spring vacation in Florida. Some were pretty obvious like pulling over when you feel tired or not to hold a cup of hot coffee between your legs on the car seat.

“Roadside motels are fine to stay in,” he said, “But just check for bed-bugs before lying down.”

Connie cringed. “Ew.”

“And maybe bring a black-light,” he added, grinning like a cat. “You know, wave it over the sheets and carpet…”

“Eww!”

“… blood stains and all that.”

” Eww – uh! Dad! That’s disgusting!”

“No GPS’s.” The little gadgets were just beginning to gain popularity. Bonnie’s dad shunned them, consider them as cheating. “They’re too A to B, like using a calculator to answer a math equation. They make it too easy to miss all the little bits in between.”

He had her open up the map. It unfolded to the size of a small tablecloth blocking her view of the road. He waved his hand over it. “See all those roads, all that terrain and little lakes and things? That’s the good stuff.”

The coloured lines of roads criss-crossing all over the place reminded her of veins on a body. It was almost organic.

“And no hitchhikers,” he added, “No matter their appearance, or age, or if they’re a woman, a Hobbit, or whatnot…no hitchhikers. Okay, Bonnie?”

He didn’t explain any further. His look and his tone of voice told her all she needed to understand.

“Sure dad,” she replied and turned her blue eyes back toward the oncoming road.

*

Bonnie Sinclair, age twenty-seven and tens of thousands of miles of highway notched on the wheels of her old Malibu, was on the road again on the second day of a three day solo drive to the coast. The drive itself was going to be the highlight of her trip, she was sure of it; the destination was less appealing. Her cousin was getting married and her entire extended family would be there. Both she and her dad weren’t so big on these family events, but he always insisted that they attend.

“They can drive you crazy, but so can the rest of the world,” he would say, “If anyone drives you crazy, it may as well be family… you’ll always end up forgiving them, eventually.”

So she had to go. When she was ready to send her RSVP, she knew she would have to face at least two inevitable questions.

The first question was why she just didn’t fly to the wedding so that she could spend more time with the family. Her first reason – shared with everyone – was that she loved to drive of course, just like her dad. As long as the destination was within reach over land or bridge, she was going to drive there.

The second reason – not shared with everyone- was that she couldn’t stand being with her extended and extensive family. Well, perhaps that was a bit harsh, but she could probably think of a hundred things she’d rather be doing than tooting around town for several days with dozens of relatives whose names have escaped her, chattering non-stop at her and gossiping aloud about whomever wasn’t there. It made her appreciate the serenity of being on the road that much more.

Speaking of gossiping, the second question: “Will you be bringing Stefan?”

“No. Stefan isn’t coming with me.”

“Why? You’re still seeing him, aren’t you? Weren’t you serious about each other?”

“Stefan is not coming with me.”

“Oh no, Bonnie. Did you two break up?”

“Stefan…is not… coming …with me.”

So on this particular trip, she Escort bayan was alone on the road – almost alone. Every once in awhile, she rubbed the soft fur of a little green rabbit’s foot dangling by a chain from her car key. It had belonged to her dad. Why green? Who knew. Didn’t matter either. As long as it was with her, so was her dad.

Boomer was with her as well – again, sort of. Boomer was her Cocker-Spaniel and, unfortunately, unlike most other dogs, he wasn’t so much into car rides. She loved him dearly but she was fed up having to stop her car to clean dog chow vomit off of her seats before Boomer ate it. So, while a friend babysat her motion-sick dog back home, as a reminder of her beloved companion, one of his favourite chew toys sat shotgun in his stead: a ragged, tooth-scarred Vin Diesel “Fast and the Furious” doll. Vinny D was good chewin’.

As she motored along the highway, Bonnie leaned back in her car seat – way back. The back of the chair was reclined at a lower than typical angle, like she was in a dentist’s chair waiting for her mouth to be scoped. In this position, she basically viewed the road ahead through her steering-wheel, her fingers controlling it at the base. It also allowed her to raise her leg and prop her bare foot out the open driver’s window, her heel on the side mirror.

This wasn’t a driving position her dad ever taught her, that was for certain. She had passed some hippie guy in a beat up, duct-taped Toyota Echo sitting like that while she was driving through New York State a few years ago, and she’d been curious about trying it herself ever since then.

Her dad would not have approved.

“Sorry dad,” she mused aloud, the warm wind blowing through her toes and the short, blonde strands of her page-boy haircut, “This is pretty darn comfortable.”

Chalk one up for the hippies.

She had been driving for several hours now, passing through an area where winding roads through hills and valleys had long given way to flatter, browner, rockier desert, drier air, and the towns came fewer and far in between. Less rolling terrain also meant less need for curves and turns on the road. She could see straight up the highway for miles. The problem with a straight, flat, endless highway was that there was very little stimulus to help maintain her attention. She wasn’t passing many cars either; traffic was beyond sparse. She gave her head little shakes and cursed at herself every once in awhile, snapping her back into focus to ensure she didn’t end up mindlessly careening off the road.

Still, she remained in an almost hypnotic trance, eyes fixed and peering through dark sunglasses at the unbroken stretch of black asphalt. Her thoughts drifted like feathers up, up, up to the puffs of cloud hanging in the blue sky splayed out before her as she flew down the road at eighty miles per hour.

Suddenly, an unholy blare of one mean-sonofabitch horn erupted in the air around Bonnie, rattling her teeth and shaking her heart up into her throat.

“Holy Jeez-us!” Bonnie gasped, sat up, and gripped the wheel as the horn continued to thrum. She swerved a little to the side but managed to right her car quickly.

She glared out of her driver’s side window and looked up the side of a big cherry-red rig as it rode along beside her. Looking back down at her from the truck’s cab were two grizzled men, waving and smiling. They were shouting at her and, judging by their leers, it probably had less to do about what she thought about the current crisis in the Middle East and more about what they would like to do with her on the hood of her car. Then again, she couldn’t hear a damn word they were saying with the whooshing rush of the road and the bleating of their own stupid horn between them.

Bonnie eased her foot off the accelerator. Thankfully, the two guys in the eighteen-wheeler decided to just pass her and continue on ahead. The one on the passenger side kissed his lips at her like a fish as they went by and then gave her a thumbs up as they took the lead and pulled away.

“Yes, yes. Nice to meet you, too,” she muttered. She stuck her hand outside the window, fluttered her fingers, waving to the truck before bundling them into a tidy middle-finger salute. “Assholes.”

The truck bellowed its horn.

It was one of the perils of a woman driving alone in the middle of nowhere, she knew that. An only child raised by her dad, she grew up a bit of a tomboy and felt that she could probably take care of herself in most situations, but still, she had to be aware and leery of jerks and weirdos on the road.

She continued for another hour, going through several revolutions on the dial of her radio before giving up. She sang to herself and played the geography game in her head. Then she was silent again with nothing but the road and sun above to keep her company.

She yawned. This was a damn long drive.

Bonnie sighed and caught herself thinking that maybe it would have been nice if Stefan had come along with her.

“Woah!” she exclaimed, catching Bayan escort herself. She tilted her head and shrugged. “No, this is ten times better than bringing along that…than being with him ,” she thought.

Stefan was kind of like this stretch of road: straight, open, bright, warm…but he could also be tedious, dry, and predictable. And like those big rocks scattered off to the side of the road, it turned out there were snakes hidden behind some of them.

Yeah. Being alone was better than being with him .

Then again, being with someone is better than being alone , she thought. It reminded her of a few unfulfilled road fantasies she had envisioned from time-to-time on these solo drives.

As her thoughts drifted, so did her hand as it slipped down between her legs, scratching her thigh just under the cuff of her shorts, then gently stroking the soft skin there. She tucked her fingers in a little deeper, stroking the line of her panties. The touch of warmth and dampness on her fingertips drew an unexpected silent sigh in her throat.

She blinked her eyes wide, snapping herself out of her stupor. She knocked her knuckles against the side of her head and berated herself, “Okay, see? This is what happens when you don’t focus on the road! You stop making sense!”

The conversation went on inside of Bonnie’s head as she continued to drive along the straight stretch of highway. She then noticed, way off in the distance, someone walking along the side of the road. She leaned forward in her seat and squinted through her sunglasses. The figure was still tiny but she was pretty certain it was a man. He was walking on the other side of the road, towards her.

“Not going my way, then,” she guessed.

The man crossed to her side of the road.

“Oh…’kay, then.”

Of all of her dad’s rules of the road, she always knew which one was like the Pandora’s Box of commandments. There was no way she would ever think of breaking it. No way. Not a chance.

Her foot eased up slightly on the pedal. She could hear the hum of her engine soften.

“You’re not stopping, Bonnie,” she said to herself.

The distance between her and the man evaporated quickly and she continued to slow down as she came within a couple hundred yards of him.

“No way. Don’t even think of it.”

Practically coasting now, her foot shifted to the brake pedal.

“What…the hell …do you think you’re doing?”

The man stood at the side of the road, facing her. Clad in a dusty, hunter green jacket, jeans and boots, he had a small pack slung over his shoulder. She was expecting him to stick out his thumb to ask for a ride, but he didn’t.

As Bonnie’s car approached him, she managed a closer look. He was tall with raven wavy hair that fell to his collar, dark-tanned complexion, and thick brows that shadowed his eyes. He pivoted casually in his boots as she drifted by him in her car, a placid expression on his face as if it didn’t matter to him if she actually stopped or not.

Bonnie did come to a stop eventually, about fifty yards ahead of him. She didn’t put the car into “Park”; just kept her foot on the brake.

She lifted her sunglasses onto her head and checked her rearview mirror. She could already feel the anxiety curling up the back of her neck as she watched the guy still standing in the same spot looking towards her.

“Can’t leave another human being walking on miles of road in the middle of the desert by themselves, can you? It wouldn’t be right. You should help,” she said, trying to convince herself that this was okay.

“Uh,” she uttered and flinched when she saw him finally start to move towards her.

So this is it, she thought, you’re going to take on a hitchhiker. Why not? It’ll be fine. The company will be good.

Bonnie craned her head around and looked back through the rear window. He was almost there. She drummed her fingers on the wheel and chewed her lower lip.

“No, no, no…what are you doing?” she muttered aloud, the voice of her dad intertwining in her head. “What are you doing?”

She jumped in her seat when she heard the hitchhiker pull at the handle of the passenger door. It was still locked.

Her mouth hanging open, Bonnie thought for a fleeting second then leaned across the passenger seat and looked up him. “I’m sorry,” she said as she waved her hand.

He looked back at her, his glass-like eyes set within his dark complexion. There was nothing but ease and calmness in his expression but it didn’t register with Bonnie.

“Sorry!” she called to him again. Then she took her foot off the brake and applied the accelerator.

As her car pulled away down the road and away from the man, she muttered, “Damn. Damn. Sorry.”

Glancing back through her rearview mirror, she could see that he hadn’t moved. He just stood there watching her passively as she drove away.

*

Thirty minutes later Bonnie pulled up at a roadside gas and diner located at a highway junction. She slipped on Escort her ankle boots before getting out of the car. As soon as her feet touched the ground she stretched towards the deep blue canopy above. A soft breeze pushed warm, dry air through her open fingers and bare legs; it felt refreshing. It was one of her strange, little pleasures during a road-trip: stretching out after a long drive.

There was only one other car parked outside the diner… and a big cherry-red rig parked on the other side of the gas pumps.

Bonnie winced when she noticed it. “Great,” she grumbled.

As she paused for a moment, a pickup truck pulled up a few yards behind her. She watched as an elderly man and woman climbed out of the front cab.

The old man limped his way around to the side of the truck and spoke to someone sitting in the back cargo bed. “We’ll be a short while. If you want to wait around, you’re welcome to come with us after.”

The old man waved and nodded and joined the woman as they ambled toward the diner.

“Beautiful day,” the woman said to Bonnie with a smile as she opened the door for them.

“Oh yeah. Perfect,” she replied, smiling in return.

“Heard it was gonna rain later in the hills,” the man offered as he entered the diner, “Real storm.”

Bonnie nodded then turned toward the pickup truck as a man jumped out from the back. She blinked and froze when she recognized who it was.

The hitchhiker pulled his backpack from the truck and slung it over his shoulder. He looked around, scanning the area until his eyes came across Bonnie still standing at the door only a few yards away.

She hesitated, unsure of what to do. Her lips motioned as if she felt like she should say something to him, but she came up empty, her mind parched for words. For some reason, all she could think of was how -due to his hair and long sideburns, his placid expression, and stature- he somehow resembled a big coyote if it were standing perfectly upright on its hind legs.

He regarded her for a moment then walked off and around to the back of the diner without a word or second glance.

Bonnie sighed, a long stream of air escaping her chest. She realized then that she had been holding her breath the entire time.

*

Bonnie used the last of her soft, buttery biscuit to polish off the remaining gravy from her plate before she popped it into her mouth. The country sausages and mash were amazing. She would have licked the plate clean if she were in the privacy of her home, it was that good.

“Mmm-mm!” she hummed, smiling as she chewed.

The big, gruff cook peeked at her from his kitchen through the service window. He laughed and gave her a little salute with his spatula.

“Hey, you made Sweet-pea smile,” the old man with the woman said as he pointed over to the cook. “He never smiles!”

The cook pointed his spatula at the couple and joked, “Hey Conner, how about you ordering something more than ten cups of coffee and a donut sometime and I’ll show you a smile that’ll blind your one good eye!”

“Ah! It’s only because she’s so young and pretty! You’re trying to be all genteel! ” the old man said dropping some cash on the counter as he and the woman stood up. “There you go, you old goat!”

” You’re calling who old?” the cook laughed.

The woman touched Bonnie on her forearm. “You have a nice day, dear. Drive carefully,” she said. She waved to the cook. “See you, Sweet-pea!”

Bonnie waved to the couple as they left and chuckled to herself, “Sweet-pea?” She settled into her stool at the dining-counter. It was well-past lunch time and she hadn’t realized how hungry she was while she was driving. It felt good to get something hearty into her belly other than chips and cookies. She felt content and relaxed.

When she had first entered the diner, she was wary of the two men who were from the truck that had buzzed her earlier on. They were sitting in a booth by the window. Though they did give her a silent, lingering look as she walked past them to the counter, they didn’t say anything to her and just continued their huddled, low-hush conversation. They were still sitting there after she finished her meal but they were so quiet, she barely paid them any notice.

A few minutes later, after returning from the washroom, Bonnie paid her bill. She was last customer in the diner, it seemed, the two truckers having left in the meantime.

“Thanks very much. That was great,” she said to the cook.

“Sweet-pea,” he replied with a nod, still smiling.

Bonnie chuckled, “Thanks very much… ‘Sweet-pea’!” She finished off her coffee and paid her bill.

“Take care, now,” Sweet-pea said.

She stepped outside and slipped on her sunglasses. Standing by the diner entrance for a moment, she took a quick look around. There wasn’t any sign of the hitchhiker; looked as if he continued on with the elderly couple.

Bonnie made her way over to her car. As she approached it, she frowned. Something seemed off.

“Crap! Crap! Crap! ” she fumed as she glared at the flat, driver’s side front tire. She bent down to inspect it -yeah, it was dead- then stood back up and thumped her butt against her car. She rubbed her forehead, grimacing with frustration.