So, here we are, hurtling down a two-lane highway through a deserted section of New Mexican desert on our way home. Outside there is no moon, rendering the desert blacker than crude, a darkness only people who have been to New Mexico or outer space know. 1:45. We crest a hill and lights twinkle from Cold Beer, a random roadside bar, the only thing on 64 between Cimarron and Raton.
I see something out of the corner of my eye. Wary because of the obsession deer have with headlights, I tap the brakes. Suddenly, I stomp on the brakes as what looks like a zombie is hobbling along the side of the road 100 meters in front of us. “What is that?” Ashley asks, fear in her voice. As we slowly drive by a, ghoulish head turns and looks at us, cracking a smile that reveals less teeth than are on my left hand. Ashley screams. I can’t think straight and my mind plays tricks on me. By the time it registered that this man obviously needed a ride, we were a good 50 meters down the road. I stop and put the car in reverse and begin to back up down the road. I squint, trying to catch sight of him in the passenger side mirror. Ashley screams again as we almost run over the guy now standing in the middle of the road directly behind us. I slam on the brakes and we screech to a halt, barely missing him. He walks around to the passenger side of the car. I roll down the window as Ashley gives me a look filled with such trepidation I don’t know what to think. The man is a sight to behold. Grimy overalls, red and black plaid shirt, wisps of dirty blond hair, and a plastic Target bag dangling over his shoulder brings me back to a time I’ve only read about. Or perhaps he is a zombie.
“What on earth are you doing!?” is all I could exclaim, I don’t know if I even mean it as a question. Continue reading