“Lola.” She smiled and pushed her blonde hair out of her eye. “L-O-L-A. Like the song.”
“You like the Kinks?” He smiled too, but it was lecherous and dark in converse to her sweeter one.
“They’re alright,” Lola said. “Got a cigarette?”
The dirty looking man aggressively popped open the glove box and reached for a pack of Marlboros, handing one to the thin girl.
Lola jammed the cigarette between her lips.
“Thanks.” She leaned into the window of his battered pickup and almost instinctively he held up a lighter. She turned her head and blew smoke into the night.
“Must be cold out there.” His voice was deep and rough.
“A little.” Lola stood up and twirled around.
“You need anything?” He reached an arm out the window of his worn pickup truck.
“I could go for a coke.” Lola leaned back into the window, licking her lips. Again he opened the glove box, this time removing a ten dollar bill from a tattered leather wallet.
She grabbed the bill, smiling at him.
“Thanks, ‘daddy-o.’” She giggled. He began to speak, but Lola was already dancing off under the flickering light of the gas station.
Lola sat, curled up on the vinyl seat cover. The stale air inside the 18-wheeler’s cabin hung around her head like a thick fog. She slowly picked the plastic off the inside of the door with her nail, humming along as the radio played Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California.”
“Would you stop picking at that?” The man sitting beside her spoke, “I need this thing to last a while.”
Lola didn’t stop.
“How long until we get there?” Her voice was soft and her words were slow. She didn’t bother to look up as she spoke.
“Florida’s a long ways away, Lo.”
Lola rolled over in the seat, looking up at his face now. Sometimes she liked the way the sun had worn down his skin. She thought it was handsome. Other times it made her stomach churn and served as a reminder of the dark things she knew he was capable of.
She thought about the man at the gas station, the way his hands reached out like he needed her. That made her stomach churn too. The bill he’d given her burned a hole in her pocket, seering her thigh. She thought about tossing it out the window.
“I don’t know how much longer I’ll make it. You might have to dump me off on the side of the road and go on without me.”
“You know I couldn’t do that, Lo.” He smiled a crooked, gaptoothed smile, “Where else am I ‘sposed to find someone as loyal as you?”
Lola frowned and sank down further in her seat.