Short Story: Hitchin’

( I wrote this in 1987. I wanted to see if I could write mood and relatively cinematically in a comic book type of format. I tried submitting it as well, but comic anthologies at the time were a bit on the outs. Just stumbled across it when I was digging through my storage unit for an old manuscript for something else.)

hitchin

Page 1

Panel 1: Top third of page. Shot of desert highway with large Reebok running shoe in foreground and part of a jean clad leg. Freeway sign in background further down the road states that we are on I-15. The sky is very blue, the clouds are of the wispy non-threatening sort. No caption.

Panel 2: A young, clean-shaven man, early 20s – this is Hitchhiker Larry. The desert opens up behind him. There are a couple of yellow hills, not much else. His right thumb is out in order to hitch a ride. He is wearing a colorful, yuppy type of button down collar shirt and very expensive looking brown leather jacket. A red carry-all bag is slung over his shoulder. He has light blonde hair and blue and green eyes. His face is comfortably set in a very pleasant expression of self satisfaction. No caption.

Panel 3: Hitchhiker Larry from behind – he is running towards a car that is pulling over farther up ahead of him. He is also waving. The car is a very clean, new dark blue BMW. It is stopping near the I-15 sign. No caption.

Panel 4: Interior of the car through the driver’s window. Driver Jane, a young woman, is leaning over to open the passenger door. Hitchhiker Larry is just outside the door, his hand reached out to pull open the door. Driver Jane has red hair, blue eyes, and is dressed in a dark pin-striped dress slacks, and colorful matching blouse. The ensemble is very flattering.

Driver Jane:
“Hop in.”

Panel 5: The two characters are now seated in the front seat. through the front window can be seen the great expanse of the Mojave desert (it’s just a bunch of emptiness in yellow). They are smiling at each other as they talk.

Hitchhiker Larry:
“Thanks for picking me up. I haven’t seen a car all day.”

Driver Jane:
“No problem. Where are you headed?”

Page 2

Panel 1: The girl is driving while the guy is looking at her with an appreciative sort of look that is almost bordering on a leer, but not quite.

Hitchhiker Larry:
“I’m going to Anaheim. I have to get back to work. Vacation is over.”

Driver Jane:
“I know what you mean. Me, too.” (Laughing)

Panel 2: Exterior overhead – the desert is racing by below. if visible, the sun is in the far east which is on the horizon.

Driver Jane:
“What do you do?”

Hitchhiker Larry:
“Who me?” (Laughing now)

Panel 3: Close up of Hitchhiker Larry. His head is slightly turned to the left so he can see Driver Jane. He is smiling.

Hitchhiker Larry:
“I’m an Employment Services Counselor, I guess you could say. I help people decide what kind of work they should go into.”

Panel 4: Driver Jane’s head is tilted back slightly in a half-laugh/half-smile.

Driver Jane:
“Glad to meet you Employment Services Counselor. I am Jane. I’m the Creative Director at the O’Malley Ad Agency.”

Panel 5: Close up of the car stereo in the dash. It is an expensive looking system. It is off.

Hitchhiker Larry:
“My name’s Larry. Nice to meet you, too. It was getting kinda lonely out there on the road.”

Panel 6: On Hitchhiker Larry – his head is still turned to Driver Jane, his eyebrows slightly arched in a questioning sort of way.

Hitchhiker Larry:
“Mind if I turn on the stereo? Maybe the Credence Clearwater Revival blowout is still going on.”

 

Page Three

Panel 1: The car is zipping by in the background. In the foreground, half buried by sand is the dead, almost decomposed body of a small rodent. The skies are still blue in the distance, with what looks like a small storm building very far away.

Radio:
“…body was found, mutilated and dismembered on the outskirts of Las Vegas. the name of the victim is being withheld until next of kin is notified.”

Panel 2: On the ground lies a body bag: it is currently occupied. There are two men standing over it, their faces are out of frame, but judging by their uniforms, they are from the Sheriff’s Department. In the background there are other law enforcement figures milling about.

Officer One:
“…the ME isn’t completely sure the victim was dead before the dismemberment.”

Officer Two:
“Second one this week.”

Panel 3: Interior of back seat of Sherriff’s car. The two Officers are visible in the front seat, but they are covered in shadows, so no features are visible. Their heads frame the view ahead which is an ambulance and the desert and the overcast sky.

Police Radio:
“Uh, Sheriff, I think we’ve found another body. Best you come and check it out. It’s not a pretty site.”

Panel 4: Interior of a small, dark, enclosed space. A machete is seen at a slightly upside down tilt. The blade is dark and crusty.

Radio:
“ I see a baaaaad moon risin’, I see trouble….”

Driver Jane:
“Looks like a big storm is coming in.”

Panel 5: Hitchhiker Larry is looking out of the window from the passenger side. His right hand is inside his jacket as if reaching for something.

Radio:
“Another body was found on the west end of Las Vegas minutes ago…”

Hitchhiker Larry:
“And how.”

Panel 6: Same image as Panel 5, but now his head is turned to Driver Jane. His face is all innocence, there is lightning in the background outside.

Radio:
“Now back to the C.C.R. blow out.”

Hitchhiker Larry:
“Do you think we could pull over at the next rest stop?

 

Page Four

Panel 1: On the Desert Highway. There is an exit, and just before the exit is a sign that reads “Rest Area”. The sky is completely overcast. The BMW is exiting and there is a bit of rain in the air.

Driver Jane:
“Will this be okay?”

Hitchhiker Larry:
“Perfect.”

Panel 2: There is an ambulance, and various police cars – about four. Police officers are all over the place dotting the landscape. Two paramedics are lifting a covered stretcher in the ambulance. A little bit closer in the foreground are the two Officers, they are wearing raincoats now, and their Smokey the Bear hats cover their faces. It is raining and the desert is wet.

Officer One:
“This one is same as the last. Carved up almost beyond recognition.”

Officer Two:
“Great. This is going to be a long day.”

Panel 3: Officer One, his hat is tilted down so you can’t see his face, talking to Officer Two offscreen. It is raining and water is dripping off of the brim.

Officer One:
“Get on the horn to HW and have them put an all points from Salt Lake to L. A.”

Panel 4: The BMW is parked in the Rest Stop lot. There are puddles of water in the all over due to the rain. In the background are the restrooms, a squat octagonal building. A few trees surround it to make it pretty. Hitchhiker Larry is halfway up the sidewalk, his hands thrust deep in his jacket pockets, his collar turned up. Driver Jane is just closing her door, a large book bag type purse slung over her shoulder.

Panel 5: . Hitchhiker Larry is leaning back against the doorway to the Men’s Restroom, his shoulders hunched over, a conflicted smile on his face. He is holding a switchblade in his right hand. No caption.

Panel 6: The Ladies’ Restroom door is almost completely open. Driver Jane is entering. She looks very upset, almost on the verge of tears. She is drenched and disheveled. The book bag is still slung over her shoulder. Outside the door it is dark, except a bolt of lightning off in the distance.

 

Page 5

Panel 1: Driver Jane, slightly from the side, her book bag/purse is open in front of her on the sink counter, one hand is reached inside, the other is brushing hair out of her eyes.

Driver Jane:
“Dammit.”

Panel 2: The blocked open door to the Ladies’ Restroom. From out of the dark a gloved hand is reaching in to the light switch on the wall.

Panel 3: Darkness, but with barely visible silhouettes of two bodies. One is crouching down in front of the other, its arms thrown up in self-defense. The other is standing overhead hacking downward with a large machete. Splashing blood is also silhouetted. The figures are otherwise indistinguishable from one another.

Voice:
“Auggghhh!!”

Panel 4: Out of the front of a windshield – the driver is unseen. The sky is clearing up. It is still the desert and the sun is setting in the distance. A person is way up ahead on the side of the road, thumb stuck out to get a ride.

Radio:
“Another body was just found at a small rest area near the California/Nevada border…”

Panel 5: The driver is not visible looking at the car from the side, just a blurry outline. The Hitchhiker’s leather jacket and an arm reaching for the handle to pull the door open is all that is visible of him. Both characters could be anybody.

Radio:
“Now back to our weekend long CCR blowout…”

Panel 6: Driver Jane is seated at the wheel, looking at the “camera”, a sweet smile on her face. She is dressed differently.

Driver Jane:
“Hop in.”

Radio:
“Oh, Suize-Q, I love you…”

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