I wrote today for Finish That Thought. I had a little trouble with this prompt, but in the end this is what I came up with.
When we hit the state line I cheered. Ricky glared at me, out of the corner of his eyes. We hadn’t spoken since Texas.
“Are you sure you want to go on this trip with him?” Mom had asked. “Who names their kid Richard when their last name is Head? Is there any truth to it?”
“Mom, we’re in love.”
Famous last words. First, we’d had a flat tire. When I complained about standing in the hot sun, Ricky had called me a sour grape. I mean, who compares a person to a rotten fruit? I was ticked at him, but we were following the Dead around the country—what could be better than that? Plus, Ricky had great eyes. The kind of eyes that make you pull out the dictionary and look up unique ways to describe the word “blue.”
Now the only way I could describe Ricky’s eyes were as cold and uncaring. I didn’t care if I ever saw him again. I folded my arms over my chest, tapping my feet against the dashboard as I counted down the minutes until I arrived safely back at my parents’ house.
Ricky pushed a cassette into the player, and “Truckin’” blared from the speakers. I thought about the blown out tire on the first day. The sunburn on my face so bad that people at the first concert asked me if I was a leper. One state after another, and there were some good sets. Even selling grilled cheese sandwiches in the parking lot wasn’t bad. Ricky and I had a good laugh over some people who thought we were Smurfs—high on Lord knows what.
It was the last week, when Ricky had picked up the hitchhiker after I had told not to. And we drove fifty miles in the wrong direction before the guy pulled a knife on us and told us to empty our pockets. We had. We’d rather have our skins than the money in our pockets. In some po-dunk Texas town, my Mom had to Western Union money to us, and I told Ricky I never wanted to see him again. In hindsight, I should have waited to speak those words when I arrived home.
I decided Ricky Head might have been right about me on the first day of the trip. Maybe I was sour grapes. And maybe he really did live up to his name. All I cared about was getting home into my Momma’s arms.
“I gotta take a leak,” Ricky said, pulling into the rest area. “You gotta go?”
I shook my head without looking at him, and picked at my fingernails. I followed his back with my eyes, and when he was in the rest area, I hopped into the driver’s seat.
He’d left the keys in the ignition. I threw the car into reverse as fast as I could. From the rearview, Ricky’s arm flailed trying to get someone to stop me. So long Dick Head!