Start writing here…This event happened a long time ago when a pack of smokes and a gallon of gas were both less than a dollar. It only cost a dime to use a payphone, it was a time when hitchhiking across town was okay, with the occasional warnings from the older folks that Ted Bundy may be our next ride.
I was seventeen at the time. I worked at a fast-food joint in the Valley, along with two of my friends Dottie and Jolene.
We all dreamed of taking a trip together and how much fun we would have hitchhiking up the coast of California to see where we ended up. We were so naive.
One day the place we worked at got robbed, the detective said most likely it was an inside job, so we all had to take a lie detector test, of course, we passed, but the owner fired everybody and started over, years later we found out it was his own son.
Anyway, we all got paid our two checks and thought we were rich. This was our opportunity. We didn’t know Jolene was serious because her parents were wealthy, and she had everything- why would she want to leave all that while we were both staying in a friend’s garage with nothing to lose, but Jolene surprised us and said she was all in.
We started out early the next morning and boy were we excited, we didn’t know what we were doing or how to get anywhere- nevertheless we were having fun.
All-day long we were singing songs and getting rides, pretty much It was a dream come true.
The first night we sat in a diner until morning, and we were at it again, we would take turns standing with our thumbs out while the others napped under a tree but we stayed close to the towns because it felt safer.
Thinking back, none of this was safe.
It started to get dark, and we hadn’t had a ride in a while, Jolene began to miss her mom and her clean bed, but we didn’t miss anything except for an umbrella because it started to rain. We didn’t count on rain.
We were so tired, but we just kept walking, hoping to get a ride, but it was looking pretty bleak until we saw this guy in an old truck, I had a bad vibe from the guy, but Jolene begged us to take this ride because her feet hurt, so we did. He was just supposed to take us to the next town, so what harm could it be?
It was a bench seat, so we all piled in- Jolene jumped in first then Dottie then me by the door, Dottie and I were so tired because we did most of the standing that day, so we both dozed off, we must have been out for a while when I heard Jolene make a strange sound, I cracked open my eyes. I saw no street lights, and we were going very slow.
I nudged Dottie, and we both looked over at Jolene- she sitting straight up and stiff with tears streaming down her face, and this guy’s arm was around her holding a small knife to her neck.
He was steering with his knee, and his other hand was down her pants. Just then, Dottie yelled out Oh My God!! It startled the man, so he straightened his arm pinning Dottie’s throat to the seat, while all this is happening I started feeling in my backpack for my knife not taking my eyes off that guy.
I reached over and grabbed the stick shift slamming it in reverse- it made a loud crunching sound, and we all flew into the dash, and the truck hit a guard-rail, so we jumped out.
The guy hit his head pretty bad, but he started yelling at us like it was our fault. I noticed that he had on a wedding ring. At that point, the girls were both screaming to go, but I just had to.
I jumped back up in his truck and took his little knife I found laying on the seat and stabbed him right in the junk.
Of course, he tried to hit me while calling me names, but I showed him my big knife and said while I was crawling out backward, “Explain that to your wife!”
He drove off, chugging and grinding down the road.
We found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, we could hear the sound of his truck get quieter as it got further away and Jolene fell to her knees and cried, we tried to comfort her, but we were all in shock.
There was nothing but rolling hills and winding roads for miles, and it was still raining, the streets were only lit by a full moon occasionally peeking through the clouds. I felt responsible for these two girls, and at that time, but I felt helpless.
We walked for a long time at one point, even taking turns carrying Jolene. After a while a car passed us, I was so tired I forgot to put out my thumb, Dottie got mad at me for letting it pass, but it then stopped not too far ahead of us and sat there for a minute while we were still walking. Dottie asked what I thought he was doing? I didn’t have a clue, so we approached it slowly.
Jolene saw it was a man and started to walk backward saying no no no no and I didn’t blame her, plus we were all pretty freaked out by the last guy.
He was a nicely dressed man in a Cadillac. He asked what the heck we were doing out there in the rain, so we told him what had just happened, and he promised us that he wasn’t a creep.
He told us that we could all sit together in the back and that he wouldn’t mind taking us to the next town to get us something warm to eat, it was our only choice, so we went with him.
He ended up taking us to a coffee shop, and the waitress gave us some towels to dry off with, he seemed kind enough.
He said that he was a successful music artist and who wrote music for big movies, he then told me some of his work and I knew it well seeing that my sister was a theater art major and practically raised me watching musicals.
The phone was broken so he told us he only lived about forty-five minutes away and he’d be glad to let us use his phone and crash there for the night, then after breakfast, he would give us a ride wherever we needed to go, well I was more concerned about getting Jolene somewhere she felt safe.
Remember, we were only sixteen and seventeen in the world for the first time.
We finished up our food and got in the back of his car, Jolene slept in my lap as I stroked her hair and Dottie sat wide-eyed the whole way there.
We arrived at his house and were pleasantly surprised that he was telling us the truth.
It was a big beautiful two-story mansion with a big piano and studio equipment, a film screen that played the movies he was working on.
He gave us some dry clothes of his, seeing that he was short they almost fit us.
Jolene fell asleep on the couch, and we talked for a while, it was starting to get really late, so I asked him where we were going to sleep? He told me the top of the stairs on the left, he said we could leave our bags on the counter, and I was kind of reluctant but too tired to care.
It was a medium-sized room with one big king size bed that was calling our names. We shut the door, and he flew up the stairs and opened it saying, “this door must stay cracked” weird but whatever, Dottie got up and went to the bathroom, when she came back she shut the door.
He instantly opened the door and said: “It NEEDS to stay cracked!” He stepped away, and Dottie got real close to me in the bed and whispered in my ear, “he’s standing in the hall” I asked her what she meant, and she said he is just standing in one spot twirling his mustache staring at our door.
Just then Jolene sat straight up then jumped out of bed saying she was going to be sick and ran out of the room to the bathroom then the door slammed shut, waiting for her to come back we started to worry, I got up and went to the door, but it was locked.
We banged on the door, but we didn’t hear anything, we started to look around the room for something to open it, but the room was bare- we tried to listen to see if we heard our friend but nothing, now Dottie is starting to cry and believe me I wanted to cry too!
An hour or so passes, and we hear a car pull up, we can’t see the vehicle from that room, but just as soon as it came, it left.
Then we heard him come up the stairs, he opened the door and said “I said leave it open” We both bombarded him with questions as to where our friend was and what did he do with her?
He just looked at us and laughed. He told us that Jolene called her mother, so she picked her up and that she was pretty mad at us. He said it was funny. That didn’t explain why we were locked in there, but he said we were mistaken, the door was probably jammed and to just try to get some sleep, and he left the room- cracking the door.
We were scared.
Dottie and I just laid there waiting for morning. I told her the first thing we do is get our bags and run, and she agreed, but then.. he came in. He stood there looking at us, we didn’t know what he was going to do, and my knife was downstairs in my bag.
He stood up on the bed and told us to move over so he could lay down, we both reluctantly moved. He took off his pants, leaving only his underwear on and threw them across the room and plopped down between us.
He told us to get closer to him- Dottie started to shake. All these things were going through my head on how to get out of this, then it hit me.
An old movie I watched with my sister where there was a similar situation, and the girl started to laugh at this gangster who was coming at her, she began to make fun of his size, so he stopped, he punched her, but he stopped!
So that’s what I did.
I started to laugh and make fun of him, Dottie looked at me like I was insane, but it was seeming to work, so she joined in, he started to cry and say weird things like he was a bad boy “OH MY GOSH were we scared!”
While his eyes were covered by his hands, I nodded to Dottie, and we both jumped up and ran out. I slammed his door, and we ran downstairs, grabbing our bags while running to the door, but it was locked, so we ran to the back of the house and out the sliding door by the pool.
We saw that he was coming down the stairs, and Dottie screamed: “where do we go?” We both threw our bags over the back wall and jumped.
We didn’t know he lived on a steep hill, so we both rolled down almost to the street below, both of us were cut and scraped, but we made it to a payphone.
Still having doubts, Jolene made it out alive we called her mother, Thankfully Jolene was home safe and sound, but she never knew when she left to tell anyone we were in trouble.
We called a friend, and he came all the way out there and picked us up, we never called the police because we figured he was a big-shot, we didn’t think anyone would believe us at the time besides we couldn’t find his house again if you paid us.
But I will tell you one thing... We never hitchhiked again.
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