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"I canít wait." I say.
"My nameís Carla and this is Fred." the girl says.
"Nice to meet ya. Iím Peace."
"Of what?" says Fred, and chuckles.
"Depends who you ask, I guess." I say, having heard it a hundred times.
"Well, where are you gonna stay while in town?" says Fred.
"I have my sleeping bag and it doesnít look like itís gonna rain, so I donít really care."
"Thatís crazy. Arenít you worried?"
"Not really. The way I see it there are only 3 things that could happen and 2 of them are pretty much the same. I can get sick or be attacked and hurt or I could be killed. If I get sick or hurt, I go to the hospital, get better and go away. If I get killed, at least I was having fun on the way."
"Still crazy though. Weíre going to meet some friends in the back of a supermarket and get drunk, if you want to come."
"I should get outta dodge while itís still daylight, but sure, why not?" I say
We finish eating and go out to Fredís car. We drive for a few blocks and then park in front of a Piggly Wiggly supermarket. We get out and walk around to the back, where there are three kids hanging out with a case of beer and a keg. Fred and Carla introduce me to the other 3 people, Jeff, John and another Fred. They tell them I hitchhiked here from New York City and they tell me Iím crazy too. I have a few beers and then Fred 2 pulls out a big joint.
"I found this in my Dadís room, so I hope his old ass knows where to get good shit." He says. He passes it around except for Carla, who doesnít smoke apparently. We just hang out for two hours and get drunk. John tells me that it would be cool if I stayed at his place for a few days if I would help him paint it. I do and for about a week I stay there and we paint the place and just party for a week and a half since his brother is one of the few pot and shroom dealers in Augusta. Finally I tell him I want to hit the road so I can make it to the Mardi Gras. He calls Fred and Carla and they come over and then Fred asks me where Iím going to next. I tell him I may go check out Atlanta on the way.
He asks me if I would like to get a ride out of town and of course I accept. I say bye to everyone. Then Carla, Fred and I get in the car and drive west on I-20 for about 30 miles and they drop me off at a gas station on the west end of Thomson, Georgia and give me $10.
I get a soda in the gas station and ask everyone coming in if they are going west. I finally get a ride from a Navy guy named Jeff. We get in his van and start heading west on I-20. After about 10 miles we see a black guy in military fatigues hitchhiking on the road. Jeff stops for him and he runs up to the van. I move to the back so that he can sit in the front with Jeff. Jeff tells me that I can have some of the vodka behind his seat. I decline.
"My nameís Joe. Thanks for picking me up. Iíve been out there a few hours." says the hitchhiker
"That sucks man. I met him at a gas station." I say.
"What, youíre hitchhiking too?" he says.
"Yeah, Iím from NYC and going to the Mardi Gras."
"Holy shit! Iím only coming from Columbia and going to Atlanta. How long did it take ya?"
"Actually traveling? This is only my second day. I hung with my sister for a day. My first ride got me all the way to South Carolina."
"You were lucky man. Iíve had 3 short rides already."
"I grew up in a small town near Atlanta and if you guys would want to we can go to a park in my town and get drunk later." says Jeff.
"Fine with me. What about you, Peace?" says Joe.
"Well I donít drink much and I already had some today but Iíll definitely hang with you guys. I smoke bud rather than drink bud, usually."
"Sorry I donít have any pot. Do you Joe?"
"Hell no. Iím a black man hitchhiking in Georgia. You think Iím gonna carry anything at all on me?"
"Good point."
We stop at a bar/restaurant and Jeff gets us all a burger and fries each. I have a soda and they have beers. We eat and put some songs on the jukebox. We play a game of pinball and talk with people at the bar for a while. Then I use the bathroom and we get back in the van. We get out on the highway at the time the sun is going down. We drive to > Acworth, Georgia, where Jeff grew up.


Hitchin USA / Poetry ©  P.L.A.H. Enterprises