Did he just pinch your nipple!?
Your brow furrowed in revoltion as you stared at the man. “No!” you said firmly.
His hands continued to grab at you, trying to allay your arms held up in defense of your face and breasts. You thought to youself, This is what you get for breaking your hitch hiking rules.
Rule number one: if a car abruptly slams on its breaks in the middle of the road and nearly causes an accident… do not get in.
Rule number two: if a car has three giant Romanian dudes in it… do not get in.
Rule number three: if a car passes you, turns around and passes you in oncoming traffic, then turns around again to fetch you… in other words, if a car seems too eager to give you a lift… do not get in!
And that’s exactly what the old did. You broke your Rule Number Three.
But it was raining, goddammit!
There you were, on the side of the highway, decked out in your rain gear and feeling thoroughly despondent about your future travel prospects (as it had rained every day since your arrival in Greece) when you noticed the same rusty old pickup truck passing you again. Inside it, an older farmer was leering at you through the rain-streaked glass.
When the truck pulled over, you threw your bag in the bed and yanked open the passenger door. “Hello,” you said, preparing for another awkward car ride with an old timer who didn’t speak more than a few words of English.
In this case, he spoke none.
You reckoned he was trying to ask you where you were going. The name of the next biggest town suddenly escaped you. Even if you could remember it, there was no way in hell you’d be able to pronounce it correctly. You shrugged and smiled and pointed forwards down the road.
He was in his mid fifties with sun-weathered skin, thick stubble, and a messy crown of greyish black hair. His large round stomach fell heavily over the waistband of his trousers as he gripped the steering wheel with thick sausage fingers. He spoke excitedly in Greek and smiled the whole way.
You wondered why he spoke so loudly, why he continued to babble at you even though it was abundantly clear you didn’t understand a word. You wondered whether he thought perhaps you did understand, or whether your smiles were misinterpreted. You wondered why, after he finally communicated his appreciation of your face, he felt so inclined to slap his big meaty hand on your thigh and give it a good, friendly rub.
Honore immediately came to mind. Honore—your host in the south of France. 70 years old, lonely, with a horrible wife, Honore liked to show his appreciation by planting big wet kisses on your cheeks and shoulders, and rubbing your thigh in a similar fashion. Only Honore had no ill intentions.
You put up a cautionary hand nonetheless. The man withdrew his arm. A friendly gesture, then…
But then your thoughts turned to the Turk in Holland. The guy who kept yelling excitedly in horrendous Dutch, who kept cranking up the music, making the environment louder and louder until he gave your leg a really friendly rub. Alexis thought she heard the word “threesome.”
The man babbled on and on and on as the truck sputtered slowly up the winding mountain road. You waited patiently, unsure whether in fact you were on the right road, but not overly concerned even if you weren’t. This man didn’t pose a threat to you.
That is, until the truck started moving more slowly. Bad sign.
Bad sign number one: your driver starts asking you whether you enjoy sex.
Bad sign number two: your driver offers to drive you far out of his way, but doesn’t have the excuse of being stoned.
Bad sign number three: your driver is going half the speed limit, presumably to prolong your time.
Sure, you’d been going at a snail’s pace the entire time, but you figured it was because the truck simply didn’t have the guts anymore. So you knew it was indeed a bad sign when the man pulled his truck to a complete stop—on the top of the mountain, some distance from the last cluster of houses, with no passing traffic to speak of…
“Oh… ok,” you said as you glanced in inquiry over at your driver.
His big meaty hands cupped the sides of your face and began to pull you toward him; his lips pursed and smacked in rapid succession, his body twisted toward yours.
“No!” you pulled away. He grabbed at you. “No!” you repeated. He pawed at your arms, grabbed your face again. “No!”
Whatever he said in Greek, you can only guess at. “Come on, Sweetheart. This is normal. Just give us a few kisses. I do something for you, you do something for me.” He made more kissing noises at you.
You thought the final ‘no’ set him straight. He talked stubbornly at you in Greek. Waited. You shook your head. Then he lurched across the cab and tried to grab you.
For crying out loud, are you serious?
You had to pull your arms from his grip. He ran a hand over your cheek and pinched your nipple.
The nipple pinch was too much. “No!” you said with more insistence. “No! No, no, no. No!” It was all you could say, and you pushed him off. You weren’t angry. You weren’t scared. You were simply astonished that it was happening.
Astonished. How tacky. Nipple pinching, really?
You thought absently about the knife you kept within reach. No. You thought about punching him. Nah… You didn’t feel inclined towards any kind of scene. It all just seemed so… pathetic. The kissing noises… the… Oh god, he probably has an erection. Thank heavens his belly fell too far over his waist to see.
When he made a move toward you again, you started yelling. “Drive the truck!” He leaned away. You pointed down the road. He didn’t know what you were saying. You repeated your command He refused to budge, neither for you, nor for the steering wheel. You sighed and reached for the door handle.
The man urgently beckoned you to stay in the car. “Then drive,” you said. “Come on, put this thing in gear and take me down the road.”
He finally acqueised and you stared straight ahead, wondering if another girl would have gotten out of the car immediately. It’s raining…
The man started babbling in Greek again. You cut in, “No, goddammit. I’m sick of hearing you talk to me. I can’t understand a fucking word your saying. How do you like it, huh? How about I just start talking at you. I can yell in English. What the hell is wrong with you?” You let the tone of your voice escalate in volume and severity. “You pull over to pick up a girl standing on the side of the road with her thumb out, and you think she’s going to behave like a fucking prostitiute? Do I look like a prostitute? This is bullshit. This whole truck ride has been bullshit. I’ve spent the last forty minutes listening to you talk at me, and now you are going to sit and listen to me until we get to where I want to go…”
You continued in this fashion until you ran out of steam, until you saw the name of the village sign-posted, just a few kilometers away. The man didn’t utter a word. He drove sheepishly on ahead, and when he pulled over to let you out, he made a point of turning off the engine, of getting out of the cab first, of rounding to the back of the truck to help you put on your bag, and uttered a few words in a quiet tone.
You strode away without any comment and wished it weren’t raining.