The Sweet Hitch-Hiker

Probably 1978-’79 I was going north on the Interstate somewhere between Waco and Waxahachie preparing to exit when I saw a woman past the ramp trying to thumb a ride.  Henry Lee Lucas and Otis Toole had been at work leaving a string of female corpses up and down the Interstate at the time.  When I saw her I split-second decided to take a route further north so’s to give her a ride and get her off the Interstate.

I saw you swerve back onto the highway to pick me up.”  She settled the bag with her belongings onto the floorboard.  Attractive, dark skinned lady in her mid-20s with a coy smirk.  “You must like my looks.”

Hi.  Where you headed?  I just decided to pick you up to tell you about something you might not know.  I’ll get off further north than I was going to.”  I was wearing a pair of cutoff jeans and she was making herself obvious staring at my lower legs.

“I’ve been on the road for a month.  I usually don’t take rides from four-wheelers, but I like your looks.”

I wasn’t in the market for having my looks liked by some female who’d been on the road a month hitching rides with truckers.  The whole concept gave me a shrinking sensation in my groin.  I explained to her about why I’d picked her up, about how someone was killing women on the Interstate and leaving their bodies cluttering up the landscape from hell to breakfast.

Where are you from before you started hitching?  Can you go back there?”

She settled back and gave my legs a rest, frowning.  “I’m from the Kickapoo Reservation.”  She named a mid-western state. “My husband was drunk and mowing the grass.  Slipped and cut the front half of his foot off.”

That last sentence had a lot of visual impact for me.  It drew a cringe and a moment of silent recovery.  But after I’d digested it the next question was obvious.  “So what are you doing here, thumbing rides?”

“I left before he got out of the hospital.”  Her face twisted into a mask of indignation.  “I wasn’t going to hang around there carrying that SOB like a turd between two sticks for the rest of his life!  I’ve been on the road ever since.”

My exit wasn’t far up the road so I just left it at that.  Made a mental note to turn loose of the handle if I ever slipped and fell backward mowing the grass.

Old Jules


10 responses to “The Sweet Hitch-Hiker

  1. “My husband was drunk and mowing the grass.
    Slipped and cut the front half of his foot off.”
    “I wasn’t going to hang around there
    carrying that SOB like a turd
    between two sticks for the rest of his life!
    I’ve been on the road ever since.”
    true love ?

  2. “Made a mental note to turn loose of the handle if I ever slipped and fell backward mowing the grass.”

    Better off thinking about that than the other. Both can be big trouble. These things can bite you so fast. Have a good day Jules.

  3. Maybe, from his perspective, losing half a foot was worth it…. Sounds like a distinct possibility.

    • Teresa Evangeline: Probably he could have found a way that didn’t leave him footloose and her quite so fancy-free, though. I’m obliged for the visit. gracias, Jules

  4. Jules,

    About 15 years I used to read true-crime stories a lot, almost obsessively, and those infamous low-lives (if that’s the plural) H.L.L. and O.T. featured prominently. Some guy I knew had acquired (I don’t know how – this was pre-Internet) a few pieces of real “art” created by a couple of death-rowers: drawings, small paintings, even a pop-up greeting card (!). I guess they had a lot of time on their hands…

    Anyway, he gave some to me. One was by Otis Toole. It was a crude sketch of (as I recall) a rabbit or some animal being hit by a hammer. Signed. I had no doubt it was real. I kept these items in a cardboard box for a couple of years and then, when I was at a particularly low point, I realised I needed to get rid of this garbage – didn’t even like having it around me. I made a bonfire of a lot of mementoes of a past I no longer cared to be reminded of, and those masterpieces of serial-killer art, which no doubt would fetch great prices form collectors online, went up in smoke – as, I trust, their creators also did.

    I’ve never regretted doing that.

    Thanks for a fascinating anecdote.

    • Hi Goat. A friend back after Otis Toole and Henry Lucas were captured and waiting in jails in Georgetown, Texas and Florida while lawmen tried to wrap up all the unsolved homicides was doing a biography on Sheriff Jim Boutwell, the Williamson Co. Sheriff where Lucas was being held. Mark, my friend doing the biography got a loan of the videotapes of police interviews with the two killers and made copies for me. I was never able to get through them. My reaction was much as yours. Eventually I decided I didn’t need to have them occupying space in my life, though they were seductive in some sense, wanting to be watched. Thanks for the visit. Gracias, Jules

  5. Jesus, Jules, what were the odds on you running into my third wife?!

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