Jerry was still a young man, although it felt like it had been decades since he started work on the Indian reservation. It was almost midnight, and he was on his way to one of the remote villages where there was a small clinic he worked at twice a month. He saw a dark figure standing in the shoulder of the two-lane highway. As he got closer the man squinted into Jerry’s headlights, and he could see his long, dark beard and saggy back pack. He pulled over, and the man jogged up to the passenger side. Jerry leaned over the seat and opened the door.
“Need a ride?” Jerry said.
“Yeah, just headin’ up the road.”
“Hop in, let me just put some of this crap in the back.”
Jerry put the car in drive and got back up to speed. They hadn’t gone a half a mile when he felt the warm steel hit his throat. “You’re the doctor, right? You got drugs in this car. I know you do.” He could smell stale cigarettes and whiskey on his breath. The man couldn’t keep still, but the knife he kept steady on Jerry’s neck.
The cop hadn’t seen anyone pass by all night, and he had set to counting stars through his windshield. He was in his usual spot, behind the only tree on the highway for ten miles in either direction. All of a sudden a car passed in front of him going just over the speed limit and swerving over the double yellow. He flipped on his lights and began pursuit. Jerry saw the strobes in his rearview, and so did the man. Panicked, the man took the knife from Jerry’s throat and sat back in the passenger seat. He shoved the knife in the front pocket of the back pack, and Jerry slowed down to pull over again. He rolled down the window, and both men looked like they had seen a ghost.
“You boys been drinking tonight?” the officer asked.