Excerpt 3

Chapter 14: Jules Takes a Like-to-Have-That Ride, Page 121

Connie Prouty always grinned when he hitchhiked. Whenever a car passed, his chapped lips spread out like stretching night crawlers, and his bony thumb jerked up and down as though he were tempting a trout. Booger would tell him that his hitchhiking technique was poor. “Connie you runt, you’ll scare the piss out’n the motorists when you grin like that and show them your tooth.”

“Fuck you Booger,” Connie countered. “I got ‘bout three teeth.”

“An’ Connie, since you ain’t never gonna have your license, you best learn how to hitchhike like a man. What in the hell is that chicken-choking motion with your hand? You spastic bastard.”

“Aww, Christ sakes, Booger, once you get started with slammin’ your ham it’s hard to stop.”

“I know it. But Connie, you ain’t in the privacy of your mother’s trailer park, and this ain’t St. Johnsbury. How the hell do you ever expect to get where you’re goin’?”

“I really don’t give much of a fuck, if I do.”

Connie stood beside Route 302B at the bottom of Walker’s hayfield watching the kicker on the back of the bailer throw hay bales into the wagon towing behind. He waved to Wayne Walker, and Wayne nodded in return, as he made the corner, looking back at the following bailer and wagon. As the noise of the tractor receded, Connie watched the crickets jump into the dusty margin of the road. He dug his toe, which protruded through the hole in the side of his Converse All Stars, into the hot dust. He threw down his cigarette butt just in time to bob his thumb up and down at the approaching ’63 Chevy Impala wagon, Butchy Guyette driving, Jules in the front seat.