Back when I was about 20, my friend Barry and I decided to drive across the country. Barry's biggest claim to fame was getting blown by a midget in a truck stop just outside of Yuma, which he reminded us of every time he got a little too drunk.
Sarah sat in the back seat because she was the smallest, and Barry's 1973 AMC Javelin wasn't exactly a luxury car to begin with. Sarah could at least fold herself in and sleep if she wanted to.
I don't know why Sarah hung out with us. We were really a couple of assholes, Barry and I, and we teased her mercilessly. She was pretty damn cute too, in that big blue-eyed innocent kind of way that seems to be unique to the midwest. And she had a thing for big clunky boots that she always promised would kick our asses but she never did. I think she had a crush on Barry, but he was too oblivious to notice, and she just tolerated me.
Barry was pretty much a fuckup. He had been fired from every job that he had ever had including this last one as a bagger at the Piggly-Wiggly; evidently he had smooshed Mrs. Johnson's eggs one too many times. But see, it wasn't that he was incompetent. Barry was a dreamer. He would easily get bored with the menial labor tasks that we all had to do when we worked those minimum-wage-plus jobs, and his mind would wander into some scheme to make us all rich and famous, or at least get us all out of this podunk little town.
And that's how Sarah and Barry and I found ourselves propelled across country in a ratshit car with a case of Rolling Rock, a bag of cheap mexican weed, and a box full of cassette tapes that Sarah had scored in some backwoods Salvation Army store.
Barry drove because even though the car eas a self-proclaimed piece of shit, it was his piece of shit and he had a fondness for it that bordered on obsession. He had spen most of the money that he earned from his string of ill-fated jobs customizing it: new stereo system, mag wheels, pinstriping, and the biggest splurge of all: Recaro bucket seats. I thought it looked like some sort of third-world pimpmobile, but Barry dug it. Something about "substance over style".
My job was to navigate, since Barry was something of an airhead and I was riding shotgun. Sarah made sure we were fully beered up when we asked, and would roll a fattie and spark it up whenever we decided it was a good idea, which ended up being pretty often. She had also managed to score some white cross to help keep us awake on the drive-- Barry didn't believe in sleeping, and none of us had a whole lot of cash to pay for a motel anyway.
By the time we got to Des Moines, we were pretty skunked. Sarah was threatening to drop trou and pee right in the backseat if Barry didn't stop at a bathroom soon, and I was encouraging him not to stop so we could watch her pee. Evidently the thought of his precious upholstery being soiled was too much for him, so we ended up at some gas station laughing our asses off at a truck full of farm boys with a Have you Hugged your Hog Today bumper sticker.