|Good luck getting "Two Princes" or "Pocket Full of Kryptonite" out of your head!|
Next door was a donut shop that closed at noon. I generally worked after school until closing at 9 p.m. At around 7, I walked to my car which was parked at the donut shop. Sitting at the donut shop on one of their benches was a man in a hospital gown. He calmly lifted his head and said, "hey, pardon me." I ignored him and continued to retrieve my Skankin Pickle tape (CD's had been invented but I owned a crappy car that only had a tape deck) out of my 1990 powder blue (in most spots) Ford Tempo. "Excuse me, I'm sorry, but can I ask a favor," the voice was much closer, leaning on my door, in fact.
|This is what it looked like except someone rear-ended me and I kept the money rather than have it repaired, thus, the trunk was smashed in and didn't work. I had to take the back seat off to get to the trunk. I miss that car.|
He had long, stringy hair, a few days of facial scruff and his breath didn't smell. That was the weird part. Not good or bad, devoid of smell, and he was close to my face.
"I really need a ride, can you help me out," he asked. Before I could answer, he pulled out cash, "I can pay you ten dollars."
As a capitalist (re: greedy bastard) I told him I would give him a ride as long as it was in town and he could wait for when I closed shop. Which he did...sitting on the same bench, in the same position for two hours in the dark.
|Add a tube sticking out of his arm and more facial scruff. Image Source|
"Okay, let's get going," I told him as I unlocked the doors, sat in the driver's seat, and started the car, thus not noticing the backpack the man in the hospital gown put between his legs as he sat down.
The journey started out normally, his directions taking us down one of the three major roads in the small suburb we called home. Suddenly we started going further, past the lights of the series of mini-malls that flecked the landscape, into the dark single-lane roads that traversed the miles of strawberry and cabbage fields. The stench of fertilizer distracting me from the man's tale of how he "escaped" the oppressive hospital. It was then that I noticed the tube sticking out of his arm. He wasn't lying, he obviously escaped the hospital. I noticed the tube as he reached down into his backpack.
|This image matches the creepy feel of our drive. Source|
Finally, as I assumed an ice pick would emerge and I would become aerated like whiffle ball, that I realized that this was an incredibly stupid thing to do. Teenagers shouldn't give rides to men in their 30's who recently escaped from hospitals. Seems logical.
The panic set in.
People only talk about "fight or flight" in response to threats, but they forget the third option, "terrified monkey clap" where your body goes into a state of shock and the only physical response you have is to clap like one of those wind up monkeys. I continued to drive, deeper into the darkness. I didn't see what he pulled out of his backpack.
Where did he get a backpack? He had a freaking tube sticking out of his arm! How did he get back his possessions and/or who sells a guy in a hospital gown with a tube sticking out of his arm? Well, who gives that same guy a ride? me.
He starts talking, uncontrollably vomiting words. I don't hear a single one as I assume I'm going to either die or have to break out Buffy-like kung-fu moves I subconsciously learned .
|Yup, I could do that.|
Well, I died that night and this entire blog has been written by a ghost. Ghost written. No, but that would have been an awesome twist, right?
He ended up directing us to a truck stop in the middle of nowhere. He got out, muttered something about Satan, and bid me adieu. I survived, nothing weird happened...well, other than the entire journey.
|In my head, I was the teen on the left, running scared whilst the insane adult wearing his underwear on the outside, doesn't understand I'm trying to get away from him. Run, young Robin, run.|
I like to think that he chose not to kill me because I either appeal to schizophrenics (likely) or I'm so damn charming even looney-birds are into me (less likely). Regardless, I think we can all agree that giving a ride to a hospital runaway with mental issues for less than the cost of the gas it took me to drive the mental patient to a truck stop secluded in the middle of fields is by far the dumbest thing I've ever done.