“My name’s Tyrone,” the man says. “Make a right here.”
“Here?” I ask.
“Yeah,” Tyrone says.
A car suddenly swerves past me on my right and nearly hits me.
“Watch out,” Tyrone says. “It’s Saturday. People been drinkin’.”
“Good to know,” I say. “Anything else I should know?”
And Tyrone clears his throat in the backseat. “Matter fact there is.”
And the next thing I know, I feel the tip of a knife piercing the side of my neck. Grace screams in the passenger seat. I screech to a halt. Tyrone points to the side of the road.
“Get out,” he says. “This car’s mine now.”
And things have escalated from an adventure to a nightmare.
None of that happened.
Tyrone gives us directions to the liquor store, no knifing or carjacking involved.
“There it is,” Tyrone says, pointing to it as we drive into the parking lot.
“Wonderful,” I say.
“Y’all wanna go in and then drop me off home after?” Tyrone suggests.
As adventurous as I’m feeling, for some reason, that doesn’t sound like such a good idea. It seems wiser to bring this guy home first. We know where the liquor store is now and can easily come back. After all, Tyrone just lives around the corner, right?
“We’ll drop you off first,” I explain.
“Okay. Make a right at the stop sign.”
We make a right.
“Make a right here.”
We make another right.
“Right at the second light.”
We make a right at the second light.
“Make this left. You gonna remember how to get back?”
“Yeah, I got it,” I reply. Because at this point, I’ve turned on my Jason Bourne worker in my head and I’m already working the turns backwards in my mind. “Right…Left….Left…”
“Go down 3 blocks and you can drop me by that truck.”
We pull up to this white truck in front of a house and Tyrone thanks us profusely then opens the door to leave. We’ve done it. We’ve picked up a stranger, found the liquor store, brought him home, and we’re now $4 richer. Everything’s fine. Until…
“Oh wait,” Tyrone says. “You can actually go straight down here to the construction site. Then make a right until you see the parking lot. You can’t miss it.”
Well, that’s convenient. So I shoo away Jason Bourne in my head because clearly I won’t need to remember all those reverse turns. But clearly, I’ve also neglected the obvious fact that whenever anyone says the words “You can’t miss it.”, what they really mean is, “I don’t know what else comes after that so I’m just gonna say random words to make you feel better.”
So off we go, down this road to a construction site, and turn right. We drive on for several blocks, looking for this parking lot that’s supposed to magically appear somewhere until we’re driving so long that we stop believing in magic and the neighborhood changes again…