The man was the bulky biker type. Not fat, but not all muscle either, he was just a bulldozer of a guy with a red face and giant hands. He spoke with a strong accent which Fen identifies as really American.
“So you here on vacation, huh?” They were in a rest area on the verge of the desert. The bulky man was reclining on a Harley Davidson, sipping something from a brown bottle.
“Yes,” Fen replied as clearly as he could in English, “Driving to Washington.”
“Washington state, huh? Where you from?”
“That’s Europe, right?” the bulky guy made some accurate observations about European geography, “I knew a girl from over there once. From Europe, I mean. I grew up in this town, Simpson, Indiana, and you had to be tough to be a kid there. You know, they closed the mill and most fathers were drinkers. My old man would get drunk regularly and fuck me up. I ran away from home and tried to get tough. I got back every once in a while to pick a fight with him and kept losing until I was seventeen.”
Fen felt tense at first, but now he could tell the man was not scary. He was not aggressive because he had nothing to be afraid of anymore. The story confirmed that.
“Irregardless,” the man continued, “I was gonna tell you about the girl. She was from Europe and I have no idea how that family got there, to Simpson, Indiana, but they were there. Her father was a good man, her mother was sick. I was in school with her, then met her on occasion. I took breaks from Simpson, so I got her story in chapters. She was a goodie-two-shoes at first. Then she got tough like all the other girls, trying to keep her pussy to herself. Finally, she became this bag of a mother at seventeen. That was when I saw her last.”
He threw the bottle in the can a few feet away. No miss.
“And I sometimes think, if there is another world out there, where everything is opposite, and they did not close the mill, maybe she’s my wife there. I we have a bunch of half-European babies. Anyway, that’s just a story on the road. You tell stories on the road, that’s the tradition. Did you get a lot of what I just said?” he finished with concern in his voice.
“Yes,” Fen nodded, “Thank you.”