Chapter 1

By Anj (A.k.a. Azurenon)

Introduction: At the age of seventeen, Darby Jennings is once again running away from a very abusive home life. This time, however, she's dressed as a boy. Along her rather short journey she meets up with a "call girl" or "lady of the evening". This story follows the early trials and tribulations of their rather unique relationship, as well as, their struggles with the malevolent human forces attempting to tear them apart. It is part romance, part drama, with an attempt at suspense and/or mystery. This is NOT an Uber story. Although I love the daring duo (and written fan fiction with a partner, under the pseudonyms "Azurenon and Savanna Mac" posted on this very site) you won't find them here.

DISCLAIMERS: No copyright infringement is intended by the use of titles, artist's names and/or lyrics of the songs contained herein. These have merely been used for entertainment value and possible storyline continuity. All the characters are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or deceased is purely coincidental.


Violence: This story contains scenes and/or references to physical, emotional and sexual violence.

Sex: It centers on an explicit sexual relationship between two women. It is intended for MATURE AUDIENCES. So if you're under age 18, this is illegal where you are or this just isn't your cup of tea, then you have been forewarned, please exit stage left. If you are mature enough and I've captured your attention, then moving right along here...

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Be it known the author has no firsthand knowledge concerning physical or sexual violence. Nor does she even pretend to know anything about "call girls" or "ladies of the evening". Therefore, I ask that the reader please forgive any mistakes and/or oversights. Especially so in the area of giving the healing process of such aforementioned experiences the in-depth attention they so richly deserve. This story is complete fiction, written merely for entertainment. In its entirety, it contains 23 chapters: at around 10 pgs per chapter.

Thanks go to all my friends for their support and encouragement over the years.

(Written 1993. Revised 2001)

        The wind was cool. A pre-winter chill was in the early October air. The dampness of a fall rain still dripped from the leaves of the trees. A few times I had mistaken it for quiet footfalls behind me. I had stopped dead still, my heart beating ninety to nothing, and turned, expecting to find him behind me. But, there was no one; only the darkness and the slow, soft patter of raindrops.

        That had been nearly two hours ago, when I'd initially left the dimly lit, broken down old trailer that I'd called home for the past thirteen years. He had been out cold on the floor.

        It hadn't been so bad this time, but I knew the intent was there. I had seen it in his eyes, as he dealt the first slap. I had promised myself that I would take no more of his abuse. But like always I hadn't fought back. The backhand came a few seconds later, sending me sprawling backwards, where I cleared the coffee table with my arm on the way down, grasping for some purchase. I hit the floor hard and bumped my head. My ears rang, the pain reverberated through my skull and the world went gray and hazy.

        Through the haze, I saw him draw the hunting knife from the scabbard on his belt. "C-ut your fuckin' hair be-hin' my back, will ya?" he slurred. "I'll give ya a fuck-in' hair cut ya won't for-get."

        He stumbled towards me, drunk as always, then tripped over a glass ashtray from the coffee table, which sent him sprawling forwards. I saw the knife coming at me and rolled to my right in order to avoid it. I heard a sharp smack and a simultaneous loud groan behind me. I scrambled to my feet, my head still reeling and looked around. He was on the floor by the coffee table. He wasn't moving. I noticed a small amount of blood on the corner of the table. He had obviously hit his head on it. How bad it was, I didn't want to wait around and find out. For, surely when he got up, he'd blame me for it and I'd pay dearly.

        I had intended to leave after he went to sleep, but this had presented an earlier open opportunity. I eagerly took it. I would leave this time and never return.

        Throughout his abuse, I had always fantasized that someone would come along and save me: some fearless hero, who would spirit me away from this so-called life. But, no one like that had ever shown up. And, I'd come to realize, no one ever would. Which was why I had been rehearsing this flight to freedom, over and over again, in my head for the past two years. I had made my preparations, well. Or so I hoped.

        I'd already run away twice, heading towards California, and a sister of his, whom I believed, lived there. All I had was a name and an address, which was over ten years old. I'd happened upon this one day while rambling around in his closet. According to him, we had no living relatives. I assumed that was just as he preferred it.

        Needless to say, I hadn't made it, either time. I'd been found the first time on the side of the road, bruised and bleeding, compliments of a friendly truck driver, who had raped me. The other time I'd been turned into the authorities by a well-meaning little old lady who ran a greasy spoon, where I had dined. The law had been on the look out for me that time and quickly caught up with me. Both times I had been returned to his care. The latter being more like a living nightmare, than anything else.

        This time, however, I would not make the same mistake, as before. I was going east. There would be no one to run to there, but then it would not be where he'd expect me to go. And that was my best hope for true freedom.

        I knew it was dangerous business -hitchhiking that is- but I felt I had prepared myself for that contingency, as well. His .22 was tucked in a pocket that I had sewn into the inside of the blue jean jacket, now on my back. Another hidden pocket on the opposing side held what little money I had been able to save up over the past two years. Skimming a little here and there, each time he gave me money for groceries or the like.

        Of course, I'd paid dearly for that piddling amount. He had taken that out of my hide. Small round scars on my back, most of them closer to the sides of my body, told the tale of punishment meted out by his lit cigarettes. Slashes across the same area and including my buttocks, told of a man with a pension for bloodletting.

        "You know they used to do this to people who were sick, don't ya, gal?" he had asked, after he had beat me down, ripped my clothes off, then climbed on my back, and for the first time, threatened me with a knife. "Yeah, they said the sickness would drain out with the blood. And you got a lot of sickness in you, gal."

        I felt the sharp hunting knife piercing my flesh. Cold hard steel like ice set my backside on fire. My screams had hurt even my own ears.

        "That's right, scream goddamn ya!" He had shouted over them. "Get them demons outta your system. Can't nobody hear ya no way." He cut me again. "You're just full of demons, gal, just like your mama was! Sinful... just plain sinful to have a body like that! Your own fault, goddammit... all your own fault I have to do this! Enough of that fuckin' yowlin'! You're hurtin' my goddamn ears!" He had punched me in the ribs. "Just lay still and take your medicine!" An intense fire had sprang from my left buttocks. "Hmm, that sliced just like a well cooked ham. Must have plenty of demons down there. Yes plenty of 'em."

        Suddenly, he got off me. "You... you're a bleedin' all over the fuckin' rug like... a goddamn stuck pig, gal. Get up!" He had grabbed me by my hair. "Get the hell up and... clean up the mess you made!"

        The mess I made, I had thought, seeing the blood trickling down my hips.

        "I said get up, gal!" he yelled, kicking my leg. "You're messin' up the goddamn rug! Women and their bleedin'," he had mumbled, as I struggled to my feet. "And put some goddamn clothes on! Layin' 'round here, naked and bleedin'. What the hell you think this is, a whore house? Huh? Just like your goddamn good for nothin' mama... a whore to the core. Whore to the core. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. Whore to the core, that's a good 'un." I had heard the whiskey in the bottle slosh around, as I hobbled towards the bathroom. "Oh-h-h... she weren't nothin' but a whore to the core... first time I fucked her she bled like a boar. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha." His sick laughter had followed me down the hall to the bathroom.

        It followed me even now, in the deep darkness of the woods. A chill ran up my spine, stopping me cold.

        "Never again," I whispered to the wind. "Never again will you have Darby Jennings to slice up for your amusement."

        I adjusted the Braves cap on my head. I'd worn it around the house for several years, along with my floppy flannel shirts, T-shirts and cowboy boots. My tomboyish ways and dress presented no problem for him, since he had always treated me more like a boy, anyway. Yet, he'd never let me get my hair cut. He'd merely make me stuff it underneath the cap, whenever his friends were around. He seemed to want me to be androgynous, especially after the onslaught of puberty, which is when his true onslaught began.

        The cap felt a little big now. The reason for this was most probably lying in a dumpster behind the beauty parlor. Long, dark curls that had once been mine were now intermingled with the hair of others who had frequented the same shop. It had not been easy to go through with having it cut, for I knew that there would be hell to pay for it. But, I was determined. Thankfully, the worst of the intended punishment had never materialized.

        I had taken a quick look at myself just before leaving and found a stranger staring back at me from the cracked bathroom mirror. What had once been a seventeen-year-old girl, with long, dark, naturally curly hair, now looked more like a fifteen-year-old boy, his immature sideburns cut into a sharp V-shape. Of course, the features were the same: the slightly angular shaped face, which had finally lost its baby fat; the deep set, heavy lidded, watery blue eyes; long, dark lashes, equally dark brows and a slightly turned up nose. Yet, there was very little left of the feminine form of that seventeen year old girl's upper torso. An old ace bandage, held together by a safety pin, served to hold down what might have been obvious. A T-shirt and flannel shirt, both a size too big, and a blue jean jacket only added to the illusion. The addition of the Braves cap was merely icing on the cake, at that point.

        No one would know I was girl. And hopefully, no man, that I might catch a ride with, would be so eager to hop my bones. I'd already been through that scenario before, on the road, as well as, at home. Somehow though, it had been easier to take from the truck driver, because I didn't have to call him "Daddy".

        After skirting the dirt road leading to the highway, I had started making my way north along Hwy 25, being careful to stay out of sight of passing motorists. For one of those, might well be the sheriff of Taludga County, Mississippi and then I'd quickly end up back where I started. I knew he would dutifully return me to my father, because he could do nothing more.

        I couldn't admit to what was going on inside our house, because Ray, my daddy, had threatened to kill anyone who tried to take me away from him, if I let on. He had nearly done so the last time I ran away. And I knew he might well finish the job, this time. But it was a chance I was willing to take to have this taste of freedom, for however long I could. And, I didn't want anyone else involved. If I was found and he did indeed kill me, at least then I would free of him.

        By dawn, I had nearly reached US 78 that cut through the upper portion of my home state. The westbound four-lane went to Memphis, the east to Birmingham, Alabama, or so my map indicated. I knew nothing about Birmingham and had only a precursory knowledge of Memphis, having only road through it via Interstate 40. And I had never, during either dash for freedom, gotten further than Oklahoma City. This time, however, I hoped things would turn out differently. I knew my daddy had only seen me for a few brief minutes, while in a drunken stupor at that, and had hopes that he would not remember about the hair cut. Surely the authorities would be looking for a longhaired girl headed west and not a boy headed east.

        I picked up US 78 around ten that morning. For several miles, I skirted it, just in case the old man had already called them and they were hot on my trail.

        Around eleven, I made my move towards the four-lane. A drab green army pack of his strapped to my back, held several changes of clothes, as well as a Ziploc bag containing a toothbrush, toothpaste and a bar of soap. To add to the illusion of being a boy, I had splashed on, then packed the bottle of British Sterling. The same one I had given him for his birthday last year, but he'd never worn. He preferred Brut or nothing. Usually, it was nothing. Yet, he never failed to reek of some kind of alcohol. Sometimes, he smelled like he had poured the bottle of whiskey over his head. This was especially true on the weekends.

        If I had stayed, I would have watched him guzzle beer and whiskey all Saturday and Sunday and would have suffered the verbal and physical abuse that walked hand in hand with the alcohol. But, this was one Saturday I would not oblige either.

        A van containing four small children, a mother and father zoomed past me, never even slowing down. As it did, the mother had turned away, probably thanking Heaven all her brood was intact, and praying that none of her children would end up out on the highway with their thumb stuck up in the air, begging for someone to take pity on them, and more than likely, heading for disaster somewhere along the way.

        About an hour later, a truck driver braked to a stop a few hundred feet down the road in front of me. I ran to catch up. The door opened and a heavyset bearded man in a red flannel shirt peered down at me.

        "Where ya headed, son?" he asked.

        Good, my disguise is working, I thought. Just remember to keep the voice deep.

        "Atlanta," I replied, in the deepest tone I could muster.

        "Little young to be hitchhikin', aren't ya?"

        I turned to walk away. "Hey, wait, where you goin'?" I kept walking. "Alright... ain't none of my business no how. Come on... get in. I'd hate to see ya end up with some of the trash on the highway these days. Can't take ya to Atlanta, but I can get you as far as Birmingham."

        I climbed in. He looked me over. I wondered if my disguise was holding up under his scrutiny, but I tried not to show my nervousness.

        "Um-um-um," he said, and I just knew he had seen right through me. "So young," he added. "Bet you ain't even had your first shave yet." He put the semi in gear and I breathed a sigh of relief. "Got a boy at home not much older than you." He shook his head sadly and gave the semi gas, as I pulled off my pack.

        "Don't say too much do ya?" he asked, after about ten minutes of riding in silence.

        I merely kept looking straight ahead. I felt the less I talked the better.

        He sighed heavily. "Suit yourself young fellow." He then turned on the radio and turned up the volume. Country music filled the cab. I was bone tired and drifted off to sleep, with my right hand resting on my stomach, my fingers on the inside pocket where the gun lay.

        We reached Birmingham around 1:30. Just before the I-65 exit south to Montgomery, he got off the interstate.

        "Guess this is where we part company," he said, stopping at a stop sign. He reached into his pocket, as I scooped up my pack. "Here, take this." He held out a ten-dollar bill. "Go get ya somethin' to eat over there." He motioned towards a Burger King across the street.

        "No thanks," I replied, opening the door.

        "Take it, son. You might need it. Looks like you could use a good meal."

        "Thanks, but..." He grabbed my arm and shoved the money into my jacket pocket.

        "Take it for me, hmm? Don't want your goin' hungry on my conscience. Now, go on."

        I climbed down from the truck. "Thank you," I said, forgetting myself for the moment, after being touched by his generosity.

        "Well hell's bells," he said, looking me over. "I thought they was somethin' mighty girlish 'bout you." I closed the door. "Best you don't forget about that voice again, or you may find yo'self in a heap of trouble, girl!" he called after me.

        I didn't stop at the Burger King, as I would have liked. I was afraid his conscience might bother him enough to call the authorities. Instead, I went to a truck stop. If there was a ride to be had, I figured this was the place to find it. And I needed one bad, to get me out of the city limits, so I wouldn't get picked up by the law.

        I went inside the truck stop and used the bathroom. There was a man on the telephone between the two separate restrooms when I came out. He looked me up and down then quickly checked the sign on the door, of the one I'd just come out of. I could see the questions in his eyes. I knew that once again I had blown my cover. I would have to be more careful, in the future.

        I purchased a pack of peanut butter crackers and a Dr. Pepper, then went outside and around to where the trucks were parked. At this time of day, there were only four on the lot. And one was in the process of leaving. I walked over.

        "Sorry, no riders," the skinny man behind the wheel said, before I could even open my mouth. I recognized him immediately as the one on the phone. He pulled forward a little ways, then leaned out the window. "Where ya headed?"

        "Atlanta," I replied.

        "Wrong direction," he said, then started forward again. "Hey!" he called back out the window. "Grey truck over there. Owner's name is Winslow. You can probably catch a ride with him, as far as Alviston."

        "Thanks," I said, yet unsure at the moment as to where Alviston was. Was that Georgia or Alabama?

        I walked over behind the gray truck and brought out my map from the backpack. Alviston was in Alabama, about halfway to Atlanta. I sat on the fender of the trailer and finished off my crackers and the Dr. Pepper waiting on the owner to show up. It was 2:28 as I stepped from behind his truck.

        The tall, muscular, rather attractive man with a blonde moustache and blondish gray hair, which was thinning on top, looked me over, as he approached, while placing a Braves baseball cap on top of his head. Good, at least we'll have something in common, I thought.

        "Where ya headed?" he asked, in a jolly tone of voice, as he stopped a few feet from me.

        I wondered if he and the other driver were friends and he knew all about my facade. "Atlanta," I said, in my best deep voice.

        "Hot 'Lanta," he said, in a pronounced Southern drawl, as he removed a pair of aviator sunglasses from the right hand pocket of his denim shirt. He placed them on his face. "Not goin' that far today. Can drop you in Alviston, though." He reached in his other pocket and produced a pack of Salem Light 100's and a lighter in a silver case, with what appeared to be the shape of woman on the side. "What'cha say?" he asked.

        I looked him over again. He looked like a lady's man in his tight jeans and gray cowboy boots. The silver lighter case only confirmed this assumption. If he knew I was a girl, or found out, I could be in serious trouble, I reasoned. But, then I had the .22. I glanced around the parking lot. I had not realized that he was the last one to leave. It might be a long while before I could catch another ride.

        "Alright," I replied, keeping my voice deep.

        "You got a cold or sump'um?" he inquired. "Don't want to catch no cold, now."

        I shook my head and glanced down at my own scuffed up black cowboy boots, trying to think of a good lie to smooth things over, in case he wasn't on to me yet. Because, he had obviously realized that my tone of voice sounded fake.

        He took a few steps forward and my heart began a slow drumbeat.

        "You ain't got enough peach fuzz to shave yet. How old are ya, boy?"

        Boy? He thinks I'm a boy! There seemed little to worry about now, although I did back away a couple of steps.

        "Ah hell, don't matter. Come on... get in. Can't be more'n fourteen... fifteen at most. Voice still changin' is it?" he inquired. "Hell of a thing. I used to squeak like a mouse for about a year 'fore mine got straightened out. Ain't nothin' be ashamed of. I understand. Come on, boy... keep me comp'ny. Been so long since I was a teenager, might be nice talkin' to a young buck like yuh'self. Had ya a girl yet?"

        The question took me completely by surprise.

        "Thought not," he added, with a chuckle. "Better close your chops 'fore you get some unwanted occupants. Climb on in the truck now, if you want that ride."

        I climbed in the truck and we were on our way, but I did not keep him company with a lot of chatter, though he kept trying to get me to talk.

        "Got relatives in Atlanta, do ya?" he inquired.

        I debated my answer. "Um-hum," I finally replied.

        "I see," he commented, as if he didn't believe me.

        He asked a few more questions about my destination and me, but I didn't offer any more information. I figured what was the use in answering his questions if he was going to make his own assumptions anyway.

        Finally, he gave up and started rattling on about himself. I was looking out the window, barely listening. All I could think about was how many miles were being put between me and my "daddy". And how with each one that rolled past, I felt a little bit more relaxed and a little bit closer to that freedom I yearned for.

        "... Old man used to beat the livin' tar out of me," he was saying, catching my attention. I looked over at him, rather quickly. "Know sump'um 'bout that, do ya? Yeah, well, I kinda figured you for a runaway." I fidgeted in my seat and turned back to the window. "Oh hell, boy I ain't saying nothin' to nobody. Shit fire, I's in your shoes, once upon a time myself. 'Course I's a bit older than you 'fore I got out. Drunkard is he?"

        I nodded, tears threatening. But, I knew I couldn't let him see me cry. I held it in, as I had learned to do, when it only precipitated more abuse.

        "Yeah, so's my old man," he continued, "I hated that sonofabitch. Still do. Sometimes.... I'd like to look the sonofabitch up and... beat the livin' shit outta him." He hit the steering wheel hard, and then fell silent.

        I knew the feeling well.

        I continued to gaze out the window, a series of memories playing out before my eyes like the rerun of a movie of the week.

        "Hey," he pronounced suddenly. "I know what you and me need." I remained quiet, thinking the worst. "Ain't ya curious?" he asked, when I didn't respond.

        "A rest area?" I offered, feeling the pains of a nearly full bladder. Then quickly realized that I would have to use the men's restroom this time. And I'd never even been in one.

        "Why didn't you say so, boy? I can stop right over there and let you take a whiz if..."

        "No. I... I... it's..."

        "Oh... oh sure. Next gas station I see," he said, staring straight ahead. "Ain't ya hot in that jacket?" he added.

        "Uh, no... I'm fine," I lied.

        He fell silent again and lit another cigarette. Apparently he had forgotten all about whatever it was he thought we needed. And I wasn't about to remind him, because I wasn't sure I wanted to know.

        He pulled into a gas station about fifteen minutes later and watched me go into the men's restroom. I closed the door and locked it, then glanced around. I stared at the urinal, thinking how much easier life might be if I was a boy, as I made my way towards the toilet. I pulled down my jeans and turned around. Facing me was a long rectangular machine hanging on the wall. "Rib backs," it read, "Ribbed for her pleasure". I realized it was a condom dispenser.

        Pleasure? I mused. Women actually get pleasure from sex? I stared at the bumpy protrusions in the picture, illustrating what was inside. A shapely blonde in a string bikini was smiling at me, her hand on the enlarged version of the ribbed condom. I shook my head. I'd been pounced on since I was little more than eleven and I'd never derived any type of pleasure from it. All I had ever felt was pain. Sex and pain walked hand in hand in my mind. So, I could not understand why a woman would want rough, bumpy things on a condom. Didn't it hurt enough as it was?

        After I finished, I removed my jacket, because I was indeed hot. I checked my illusion in the mirror. Could he tell if I left the jacket off? I wondered. I turned this way and that. The tail of the shirt covered my butt, so that was no problem. I pressed the shirt down tight across my bosom. Nah, he won't be able to tell.

        I walked out with the jacket slung over my shoulder like a boy. Once in the truck, I placed it carefully over my pack in the seat between us, being sure that I would have quick access to the gun. I wasn't taking anything for granted.

        Twenty minutes later, we were nearing Alviston. The sign read, Alviston next 7 exits. Sounded like a good size city to me. One sign said something about an Army base, but I didn't catch the name. My mind was on all the fast food joints, whose billboard advertisements promised cheap, quick food.

        "You in a big hurry to get to hot 'Lanta?" he asked.

        I shrugged, not wanting to commit myself one way or the other.

        "Well, I'll be goin' that way in the mornin'. Gotta stop off here and unload this 'un I picked up in Birmingham. I'll be stayin' the night and ... well, if you ain't in no big hurry you could... share a room with me tonight."

        "Umm... thanks," I said, not wanting to be rude. "But, I am in a bit of a hurry at that."

        "Uh-huh," he said, as if he didn't believe me. "Too much of a hurry to have a bite to eat? I saw what you ate back there. Saw you when you bought that pack of crackers. Tell ya what... I'll drop ya off at a place I know of that's got good food... I'll go unload this here buggy, then take you back to the interstate, so you can find another ride. How's that sound?"

        Too good to be true, I thought, what's the catch?

        He must have seen the reluctance in my eyes for he added. "Look, I know how it is kid, I was in your shoes, remember and... well, this truck driver he... he helped me out, too. So... I guess this is just my way of tryin' to... pay back that favor. It's long overdue."

        I looked over at him. He seemed sincere.

        "Hell, boy, I'm old enough to be yo' daddy and... well, I feel... kinda responsible for ya. I mean, we've both seen hard times... been treated like shit and... well, I 'spect it's 'bout damn time somebody did sump'um nice for ya."

        "Good food?" I inquired. He was getting a bit mushy for my tastes. I knew if I didn't shut him up, he'd have me in tears.

        "Oh, hell yeah," he replied, without hesitation. "Real good food. I know the owner. She runs a clean motel and a damn fine restaurant. You may even be able to catch a ride from someone around there. Lot of truckers stop there. I might could steer you to a... good ride. You know, instead of you takin' your chances out here. Lot more dangerous than when I came along."

        "Alright," I said finally, hoping to shut him up. "I appreciate this."

        "Sure thing."

        He dropped me off at a cheap looking motel that had a restaurant tacked onto one end. "You tell the waitress that Rick Winslow sent ya, here and... she'll do ya right," he said.

        As I shut the door to his truck, I couldn't help but wonder how she'd treat me if I didn't mention his name.

        I walked into the restaurant and glanced around. It was fairly clean and reeked of fried foods. There were several occupied booths along the front window. Three pairs of male eyes, each at a separate booth, briefly perused me, then returned to the meal before them. There were several other booths available, as well as ten unoccupied stools near a long counter. But, I didn't chose one right away my eyes and ears were drawn to an open doorway off to the left and towards the rear of the restaurant. Country music was playing somewhere inside a dimly lit room there. A woman's laughter rang out, along with a man's chuckle and the clack of pool balls. I realized right away that this was more than just a restaurant.

        "Have a seat, hon, I'll be with ya directly," said a voice from behind the counter. The owner of this voice was a middle-aged woman with flaming red hair and bright red lipstick. She was busy wiping off the counter in front of her.

        I took a seat in a booth, two down from the men, put my pack on the seat beside me, near the window, then reached for the small menu.

        "What can I get ya to drink?" the redhead now beside me asked. Her nametag read DORA.

        "Do..." I cleared my throat, for I had started out in my normal voice. "Do you have sweetened tea?"

        "Sure do, hon. Not much call for unsweetened 'round here." Her bright red lips formed a smile and her heavily mascara laden and blue shadowed gray eyes twinkled.

        "Umm..." I debated telling her about the truck driver. "Umm... I... this man I rode with said... to tell you... Rick Winslow sent me." I glanced up at her, watching for her reaction.

        "Rick was it?" She smiled broadly. "Hitched a ride with him, did ya?"

        I lowered my eyes to the menu and nodded.

        "I see. Well, Rick's a good ol' boy. You just take a gander at that there menu and... I'll have your tea in a jiffy, hon."

        I watched her walk away, her rather round hips swaying wildly beneath the brown, knee length polyester skirt. She turned at the counter and looked over at me, then winked. I wasn't quite sure what to make of this.

        People had not been so friendly during my trip west. Was it that people in the east took more pity on hitchhikers? Or was it because this time I was a young boy? Were the rules different for boy hitchhikers? But, then why shouldn't they be? Everything else was different for boys. Perhaps they couldn't show their emotions, but they seemed to have everything else going for them. You seldom heard of men getting raped. They could pee in the woods easier. They had no monthly cycle that made them hurt and bleed all over themselves. And they seemed to derive great pleasure from sex. And they never even had to give a thought to whether a baby was the result of that. They wouldn't have to carry it. Frankly, they damn well had it made.

        I found I liked being a boy. I only wondered how long I could keep up the facade.

        "Here's ya tea, hon," Dora said, sitting it down in front of me. "Do ya want to order somethin' to eat?"

        I realized I had been staring at the menu, but had not read a word of it. "Umm..."

        "It's okay if ya don't," she said, with a wink.

        I looked away, a bit perplexed by this. I glanced down at the menu and noticed a hamburger and fries. I ordered this, because I felt it was all I could afford. Not that the prices were high, I just felt I should conserve my money. For, I had no idea how long I'd be on the road. I'd told Rick and the guy before him that Atlanta was my destination. How long I would actually stay there was another matter. It had just sounded like a good to place to get lost.

Continued in Chapter 2

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