“All I need is the open road man, the open road,” yelled Scottie.
He flicked his cigarette butt out the window. The cigarette hit the asphalt and exploded in a shower of red embers against the night. He pounded his fist against the steering wheel and turned the radio up. Radar Love, a classic from Golden Earing, blasted from the worn out speakers of Scottie’s 1985 Dodge.
“I love this song man! Nothing makes the road spin under your tires like this song man!”
Scottie thumped the steering wheel in time to the beat of the song as he sang along. He bounced his head and his unkempt brown hair flailed over his shoulders.
“You like this song man,” yelled Scottie over the crackled roar of the speakers.“What,” shouted Keith.
“The song man, you like this song!?”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s a good one. A great one,” cringed Keith.
Keith smiled weakly and bounced his head in time to the song to show how enthusiastic he was about it. He threw a quick thumbs up on the back end just in case Scottie couldn’t hear him. Keith stared out the front window at the rolling night in front of them. Scottie lit up another cigarette and the car filled with blue smoke.
“Yeah man, the road man. The Road,” shouted Scottie again and he hit the accelerator. The old Dodge lurched forward over the New Mexico Highway. The car cut through the nighttime desert, blasting Golden Earing. Keith hugged his backpack to his chest a little tighter as the road curved slightly to the right.
“No worries man, no worries. This rust bucket and me, man, we’re like experts in this desert man, like experts, experts man, ex-perts,” said Scottie, using his finger to illustrate how expert he was.
“I can see that. Yeah,” said Keith.
Scottie howled as the song changed and Little Red Riding Hood by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs came on the radio. He pressed down on the gas and the dark desert whizzed by faster than Keith could see.
“Oh man, man, this one man, this song. Man, this one, wow man. Wow!”
Scottie threw his cigarette butt out the window and put both hands on the steering wheel. He lowered his chin into his chest a bit. The car was shaking on the bumpy desert road. Keith held onto the door handle.
“Little red riding hood, you sure are looking good…” sang Scottie.The road started to twist back and forth, dip and climb. It was like the road builders got bored and started making the road crazy. Just for the hell of it. There was no reason Keith could see for the twisting and turning and meandering curves.
“Some road,” said Keith.
Scottie took his eyes off the road and looked at Keith. The car continued to turn and bump.
“I told you man, the road. I love the road. And this road, she loves me, she loves this car, she loves the music I bring her, she loves it all man. All of it. All of it man. All. Of. It, man,” said Scottie.“Yeah. I’m sure she does. I’m sure she’s not scared out of her mind,” said Keith.
“What man, are you scared man?”
Keith realized that the car was still going at full speed, making hairpin turns all while Scottie just stared at him in the passenger seat.
“Oh my God! Watch the road,” shouted Keith.
Scottie laughed and turned his head forward.
“There ain’t nothing to be scared of man, this road, she won’t let me die man, she won’t. As long as I keep the rubber down and the music up, she’ll let me go on man,” said Keith.
“Yeah, yeah, great. That’s awesome. I just want to get to where we’re going alive. That’s all I want. So if the road helps with that then I’m all for it. But my God man there’s no reason to drive like some ape-shit crazy person the whole way. I mean all I want is a safe ride, you said it would be safe and yet here I am feeling like I’m going to crap myself,” said Keith.
Keith wiped the sweat from his forehead and looked out the passenger window at the distant dark desert. The car started to slow down. Scottie reached over and turned the radio down. The road slowed down and the old Dodge pulled over to the shoulder. The car squeaked to a stop.
“Get. Out. Of. My. Car. Man,” said Scottie.
“Get out of my car man. You’re bad vibes man, you’re bad vibes. Bad Vibes,” said Scottie.
Keith pulled the knife from his backpack and lunged at Scottie. The knife drove deep into Scottie’s neck and blood spurted out over the dashboard. Scottie pulled at Keith’s face and shirt as the life drained out of him.
“Shouldn’t have stopped, man. Shouldn’t have stopped,” said Keith.
The desert stayed quiet and everything was stillness.