One Step Ahead
With her pockets full of cash, Marantha sticks her thumb out, hoping to catch a ride.
A truck pulls over and a man leans his head out the window.
“Where you going?”
“Hop on in. I can get you most of the way there. My name’s Ron.”
“Mary,” Marantha never gives her real name.
As the truck pulls back out on the road, she sees a familiar black car race past and lowers her head.
“You running from someone?”
Ron was more observant than most drivers. Marantha decides to mostly tell the truth. She finds it easier than remembering a bunch of lies.
“I, uh, I joined a poker game with some fellas and, uh, I left after I’d won. They didn’t like it.”
Ron let out a guffaw. “What were they? A bunch of teenage boys who lost their allowance to you?”
Deciding this would be a good time to fabricate her tale, Marantha nods.
“Does it help? Catching a ride?”
“It does. Thanks.”
Marantha closes her eyes feeling the seat cushion her head. Hoping Ron will think she’s fallen asleep, she sinks into the memories of her day: finagling her way into the high stakes poker game, losing the first couple of hands, winning. Leaving them with their mouths hanging open.
She’ll distribute her winnings to various “holdings” and move on before they get to Houston. A few more wins like this and she can move to Belize. She just needs to stay one step ahead.