Story Time

Stranger Than Fiction

Like Driving In a Fog

Deborah Venable



We had the promise of a nice day.  The sun was out, just a few puffy clouds high in the otherwise blue sky, nice little breeze – nothing to rip the sails or foul the lines – just all ahead normal.  So, we loaded up the very fuel efficient little vehicle, (complete with the latest GPS locator gadget), and proceeded to take a long drive. 


Feeling quite charitable, we even picked up a hitchhiker along the way.  He had been dumped off alongside the road by a group representing his former teachers and employers, and he seemed harmless enough.  Skinny little feller with big ears and an even bigger smile, oh, and he had a “funny” sounding name.  But he had stories to tell and kept us entertained for miles talking about all the far away places he’d seen and lived, all the interesting characters he’d known, and all the “dreams from his father” that he’d had.  He had a quirky old grandma, “typical white person” but he loved her anyway.  His preacher had said some pretty weird stuff, but he didn’t hear most of it during the twenty years he’d sat in the pews.  His wife thought most of us were “mean” but that was okay too.  We just didn’t ever want him to think WE were mean.


All of a sudden, it wasn’t quite so sunny any more.  Dark clouds appeared, but it really didn’t smell like rain was coming.  No.  It was more like a fog.  We were still driving down the road pretty fast, but we couldn’t really see where we were going.  We tried to slow down a little, but the accelerator had stuck down.  We couldn’t think too clearly because the funny little man kept talking and talking.  We tried to concentrate on the GPS device, but the voice coming out of it sounded eerily like the hitchhiker’s.  He was telling us where he wanted to go – places we didn’t want to go, but he wouldn’t listen.  He said we had been driving in a fog for a long time and he could take us out of it, but we knew it had been a nice day before we picked him up. 


We got a little suspicious and asked to see some identification, but he said he had already shown us that and he had told us all about himself, so what was the big deal? 


The fog was getting thicker, and we still could not slow down.  We groped around in the glove box for a road map – just to check the GPS – but it, too, had disappeared, along with our flashlight, emergency supplies, first aid kit, water, food, extra fuel – we HAD packed all that stuff before we set out.  We knew we had our manual and rules of the road, but they were missing now too. 


The hitchhiker was telling us that our ancestors were not who we thought they were – that his were much better – his friends were what America was really all about he said.  Our history was flawed, our rules and morality outmoded, no wonder we couldn’t find our way in fog!


He insisted that we should let HIM drive – just move over and let him take the wheel.  We asked to see his driver’s license, and he said, “How dare you!  I can drive much better than you can.”  (But we remembered he’d said that he had never driven anything before in his life – he’d only been a passenger!) 


He slid in behind the wheel before we even knew what was happening.   


Almost immediately the road got bumpier and we went even faster than before!  Our vehicle had turned into a bus, and people we didn’t know had somehow started to materialize within.  We were sent to the back of the bus while the hitchhiker and his cronies took over and passed around a mysterious drink that made everyone who drank it see even more fog!  We were careening down the road, in a pea soup fog, with a mean bunch of drunks, (drunk on power), telling us what we could and could not do or think or say! 


It had been our individual vehicle, but it was now a dangerous, collective, fuel eating behemoth of a bus that was belching out the blackest of polluting smoke as it took us along for the most miserable ride of our lives!  We didn’t know who we were any more.  We couldn’t recognize where we’d come from, and we were terribly fearful of where we’d end up. 


Now we happen to notice the fuel gage is on empty.  The vehicle should start to slow down any minute, and the extra fuel we’d packed doesn’t exist any more, so perhaps we will stop until the fog lifts.  When that happens, we could ask this stranger to leave! 


We wonder what we will have left when the fog lifts. 



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