Monday, May 11, 2009

The Fugitive Generation (conclusion)


Jim is standing at the INTERSTATE HIGHWAY ENTRANCE with his duffel bag and guitar case. He has his thumb out. A fancy 1972 car, driven by a short-haired, mustached white man, pulls up beside Jim. CAR DRIVER, 27, is dressed in a suit and tie.

CAR DRIVER: I’m heading all the way to New York City. Need a ride?

JIM: That’ll help a lot.

CAR DRIVER: You can put your bag and guitar on the back seat.

Car Driver unlocks the passenger door. Jim puts guitar case and duffel bag on back seat and sits in front passenger seat.


The car moves along Interstate Highway as Car Driver and Jim converse.

CAR DRIVER: Where you heading to?

JIM: East. To Philadelphia.

CAR DRIVER: Why Philadelphia?

JIM: It’s a big city. There might be more work there than in Ann Arbor…Are you from New York City?

CAR DRIVER: No. I actually live in Providence now. But I have to go to some bull-shit meetings in New York City for a few days.

Car Driver hands Jim book of matches and a joint.

CAR DRIVER (CONT’D): Let’s smoke a joint.


Car Driver and Jim are both smiling and stoned. CAR DRIVER shares joint with Jim.

CAR DRIVER: I bet you’d never guess what I do for a living.

Jim smiles.

JIM: I imagine you’re some kind of a traveling salesman.

Car Driver laughs.

CAR DRIVER: No. I’m not a traveling salesman…I’m an FBI agent.

Jim starts coughing. Then he starts to laugh.

JIM: An FBI agent? You’re kidding!

Both the Car Driver and Jim giggle.

CAR DRIVER: No, it’s true. I thought you’d get a kick out of finding out that you’ve been sharing a joint with an FBI agent.

JIM: How did you end up working for the FBI? Aren’t they a little too straight for you?

CAR DRIVER: They paid my tuition to go to Harvard. So I’m obligated to work for them for five years after graduation.

JIM: Like an indentured servant, huh?

CAR DRIVER: That’s right. So I’m counting the days until I can quit.

JIM: What kind of things do they have you do?

CAR DRIVER: They use me around college campuses mostly. To bust student drug dealers. I just finished busting the student who was the big dealer in the dorms at Michigan State in Lansing. But now the Bureau wants me to hunt for the Weather fugitives. That’s why I have to go to these bull-shit meetings in New York City.

Jim smiles.

JIM: Well, I imagine you can have more fun in New York City at night than in Lansing, Michigan, at least.

CAR DRIVER: Yeah. I guess that’s one way of looking at it. But you don’t get as much free pot when you’re assigned to political cases as you do when you’re busting drug dealers.


It’s shortly after sunrise. Sign above the service lane has one arrow pointing left under the words: “To New York City.” Another arrow on the sign points under the words: “To Philadelphia.” Jim gets out of the car, carrying his guitar case and duffel bag, and waves goodbye. Car Driver waves back and drives his car towards the highway lane that leads to New York City. Jim takes a deep breath.


It’s later in the morning. Jim is standing at the Interstate Highway Entrance, in front of a sign which says “To New York City,” his finger out. A used 1968 Volkswagen car, with two women in it, stops. The VOLKSWAGEN PASSENGER, 19, smiles at Jim.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSENGER: How far do you need to go?

JIM: New York City.

The Volkswagen Passenger looks at the VOLKSWAGEN DRIVER, 20, who nods her head.


She opens the passenger door and gets out. Jim puts his guitar case and duffel bag in the back seat and sits there. The Volkswagen Passenger gets back into the car and shuts the door.


JIM: Where in New York City do you live?

VOLKSWAGEN PASSENGER: On the Upper West Side. We both go to Barnard.

Jim laughs.

JIM: I know some people who went to Barnard. I used to go to Columbia.

Volkswagen Passenger laughs.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSENGER: You went to Columbia?

JIM: Yeah. In the late Sixties I did. But it seems like that was a very long time ago. Because now we’ve all become a generation of freaks. And a generation of fugitives from the Death Culture. That’s why we’re called “The Fugitive Generation.”


The Volkswagen car continues moving toward Manhattan.