From “The Missing Girl”
You can see her in your mind’s eye, perky smile dimming, fear dawning in her eyes. Yes, you feel like you know this girl. Just the kind to go missing. Awkward and shy. Inexperienced and eager. Tender, playing brave. Dirt poor. You know. The kind of girl who’ll step right into your car if you call her pretty.
Him you’re not so sure of. Cowboy hat and a Silverado pickup? Baseball cap and a Mustang? Or a Tahoe maybe, black and sprayed with mud. You can’t see his face. He could be anyone, after all. But you can feel the tingle in his groin when he saw her, how his breath must have quickened. You drive this way a lot, wondering where he picked her up, where he took her, what he did, whether she liked it. Eula Johnson.
Jerrold Road is empty today. Birds gather in one of the tall, bare trees by the roadside, jabbering. Dead leaves whirl in the wake of a chilly gust of wind. Yellow grass. Gray sky. Not a car in sight. Just a girl in a gray sweatshirt, hood up against the cold, walking.
Slow way down and hit the button for the passenger window.
Go ahead, say it. “Hey pretty girl, want a lift?”