Hitching Again

This excerpt from David Otter’s story “Hitching Again” appears in full in the Chinatown Bus Stories Chapbook: “Stories and illustrations of adventure, tragedy and lives in transit”

“Oh!” I said. The words syrup in my fat mouth. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know that’s what this was. I need to catch my bus. I’m sorry. Thank you.”

“C’mon, I like you. 50 bucks. I’ll smoke you up again too.”

I stood on legs that only moments before were rooted to the cosmic depths of Earth, and now quivered and betrayed me. I stumbled.

“How you feelin’?” She asked. “You look off.” And she followed me, pacing in measured strides. It hit me like a brick. She hadn’t smoked nearly as much as me.

I crashed through the brambles, losing the path, struggling to keep my weight over my legs. She took my arm and steadied me—walked with me. “I’m really sorry to do this to you, but I’m a cop.” She said. Her words were terse but heavy with some unfathomable regret. “I’m gonna hafta take you in.”