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The stench of beer and anger filled the cab.

Weird, she could smell anger. Or sense it.

“Yeah, he's a sonnabitch and I'm going to get my kids back and get them home to Corrigan. ”

Amaliya nodded and tried to find a comfortable spot on the seat.

“I needed company, but no one would come with me. I'm glad you are here. What is your name?”

She hesitated, then said, “Liya. ”

“That's weird. It Mexican? Lots of Mexicans up here now. Not that I don't like Mexicans, just lots of 'em here now. ”

“It's Russian, I think. My Mom had a thing for names. ”

“I'm Ruth. ”

Amaliya nodded and wished the woman would shut up. It was now obvious that she was drunk and should not be on the road at all. Plus she reeked of liquor and cat urine.

“We'll be in Greenville in five hours, I think. ”

“I can't go to Greenville,” Amaliya said softly. “Just drop me off near Dallas. ”

“If you are in my gawddamn truck, you're going to gawddamn Greenville!” The woman's voice was shrill and demanding.

“Hey, aren't you supposed to wait a few hours before you act crazy,” Amaliya snapped back.

“Don't you dare speak to me like that in my fucking truck! You're in my truck and you will do as I say!”

“You're out of your freaking mind. ”

“You will do as I say or I will get you!”

The truck was now weaving all over the road.

Amaliya couldn't believe that not even five minutes had passed and now she had to deal with a batshit crazy woman.

“You got in my gawddamn truck so you'll do as I say. I'm going to go shoot the sonnabitch and get my kids. ”

“Great! You're a homicidal crazy drunk. ” Amaliya shook her head. “Just fucking great. ”

How the hell had she ended up with the craziest woman in the area? It was good to see her luck was holding up.

“Look, whore, you're the one pimping yourself out by the side of the road begging to get fucked and killed. You're lucky I stopped and saved you from that!” Flecks of spittle hit the windshield as the woman screeched at her.

Amaliya looked down at the woman's feet to see a shotgun tucked down on the floorboard. With wry amusement, she saw the woman was wearing socks with plastic shoes.

“Oh, fuck this. ”

Amaliya grabbed the wheel with one hand and punched the woman as hard as she could with the other. There was a sickening sound as the woman's head snapped back and she collapsed against the driver's door. Quickly sliding over toward the woman, Amaliya tried not to pay attention to the stench and pushed her foot onto the accelerator.

“That went downhill fast,” she muttered. But then again, who was going to pick up someone on a darkened road other than someone who was crazy?

With a little effort, Amaliya managed to keep the truck moving until she saw a turnoff. It was a narrow country road and she almost had to sit on the smelly woman's lap to maneuver onto it. The old truck sputtered along until she found a place to pull off under a canopy of trees. Shoving the vehicle into park, she slid back down the seat to the passenger side and sat there staring out at the night.

This had always been her luck. How she had not been beaten and raped when she had hitchhiked as a kid was beyond her. She had hoped to get to Dallas tonight, but this was not a good sign. Checking the clock, she saw it was nearly nine o'clock. It was four to five hours to Dallas depending on traffic and construction. Once there she would have to find a place to stay during the day.

Beside her, the awful woman was gurgling and snorting. Blood was trickling out of her nose and something was off about her breathing.

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