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by Fred Zackel

Monica was hitchhiking to LA, and this was outside Amarillo near the K-Mart and the mall across the highway.

Monica was on the run, too, running from a man nicknamed Ducky.

At first she lied: “We were drinking. We got into a fight. He hit me and I hit him back maybe with a bottle, and he died. So I had to leave.”

When Ducky Dolan started to pistol-whip her, the gun broke. Monica escaped and when the guy went back into his car, returning with a knife, she bashed him with a cinder block she could barely lift above her head.

Monica with the pouffy hair in a beehive, bright-eyed and chubby-cheeked, layered gold necklace and dark oversize sunglasses … Looking twice her years … at her best.

She was a full-breasted earth-mother figure, a fiftyish broad with dyed blonde hair and bright yellow thong underwear peeking out from her skintight pants, and there was blood running down her terrified face.

“When I tried to scream, nothing came out of my mouth.”

She wore her tight pants like a lethal weapon was inside. It was. Hair as fine as silk thread.

But she had nasty scar tissue, pink and hard, on her breast bone, like where a tattoo had been poorly burned off.

Later in this sit-down chicken shack in Nashville, I asked her what she had been busted for.

Prostitution and shoplifting.

What else is new?

She was cute, and I was horny, and we started “dating,” as she liked calling what we did.

Did I say the lady liked to bicker?

When I met Monica, she said, “I’ll blow you for a ride out of town.”

Hello, lady. Where we headed?

Fred Zackel is the author of the novels Cocaine and Blue Eyes, Murder in Waikiki, Turn Left at Paradise, and Tough Town Cold City, as well as many short stories and essays. He is a lecturer in detective literature and fantasy literature at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. His writings are available on Amazon.