Campervan Escapee, a short story by KiwiDreamer. Date added: 2012-03-12. Times viewed: 1430.
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- Intro: An English tourist is abandoned by her male travelling companion in a far off land. Within hours of her distress a promising opportunity pops up.
Ellen Scott, a secondary school teacher from Leeds, was one week into her six-week summer hitchhiking tour of New Zealand when her travelling companion Mike from Leeds was involved in a street brawl outside a pub in a small town. In the melee Mike drunkenly hit a cop, knocking him senseless.
Mike was over-powered by another cop and a supportive bystander and Ellen, watching from the other side of the street, saw him handcuffed and left lying on the ground as other residents arrived to help the two struggling cops break up the brawl.
Ellen was horrified to witness Mike’s behaviour. He’d said he’d be away for half an hour for a quick beer and two hours later Ellen had left their cabin rented for the overnight stay to look for him. She arrivied in the small shopping centre at 10:30 to see him staggering drunkenly and swinging wild punches and she was ashamed to be associated with a guy like that. It was the first time in the eight months she’d lived with Mike she’d witnessed his darker side.
Mike was pushed into the back of a police van. Ellen asked what would happen now and a policewoman who’d arrived from somewhere else told her he would spend the night in jail and would appear in court in Blenheim at 10:00 next day.
Ellen took a call from Mike next morning at 9:15.
“Hi I have to make this short because I’m in police custody. I’m up north in Auckland and will leave for England later today. Dump my things.”
“But what about me and our lovely holiday?”
“What about you?” he said dismissively. “At dawn I was given the opportunity of going to court and facing several charges including assault of a police officer or alternatively agreeing to deportation. Assault of a police officer carries a jail term if found guilty. I claimed I was only one of the guys who punched the officer and the cops appeared to buy that and that’s when acceptance of a deportation order was mentioned. So goodbye my darling. Look after yourself. I have to go.”
“Asshole,” Ellen screamed but Mike had already cut the call. She was appalled that her dream adventure could end abruptly like this.
She cried but that didn’t help. Well she was relieved that she and Mike had planned to find better accommodation when they returned home and she’d shifted all of her possessions from the flat back to her family home. So Mike would be dumping nothing of hers.
They’d paid for the cabin in advance. Ellen packed her things and dumped all of Mike’s things around the rubbish tin and left a note: Please dump these, I’m buying completely new gear more appropriate for touring’. That should avoid concern by the housemaid or the manager that she might have done away with Mike.
Ellen walked through a dusty street to get to the main highway and came across a petrol service station at an intersection with the sealed street leading to the main route south. The only vehicle in the forecourt was a campervan and a guy aged about forty was finishing filling at the diesel.
Ellen wasn’t embarrassed at being bold. It was her natural style, honed from being a competitive runner and later a cyclist from the age of ten and enhanced by training to be a teacher and taking charge of classrooms full of kids.
“Excuse me sir I’m Ellen and I’m hitching. Any chance of a ride?”
The guy glanced at her bulky backpack and asked, “Where are the others?””
“The usual ploy is to send forth the sexy one and once she secures a ride the others appear and pile in.”
“I’m alone sir.”
“Don’t call me sir. I’m Hal.”
She said yes sir and he glared at her and smiled when he saw her grinning.
He said he was warming to her and asked, “Do you smoke or take drugs?”
“That’s definitely no and no Hal. I’m into health and fitness.”
“I gather you are a Pom?”
“I’m asking do you come from England.”
“Correct, I’m from Leeds.”
“My mother was born and raised in Bradford but left to find work in Leeds and from there immigrated to New Zealand where she worked in a hospital and eventually was moved to work for dad, an eye surgeon. She’d been working as a theatre nurse at a hospital in Great George Street.”
“That would be Leeds General Infirmary.”
“Does that satisfy you I’m genuine?”
He grinned and said she was not just a pretty face.
“Jump in and don’t steal anything while I get us a muffin and coffee or would you prefer tea and say a cream bun?”
“Muffin and coffee please. Here’s the money.”
God what a rude man, she thought, but perhaps he wasn’t. Oh perhaps the macho Kiwi didn’t believe people who accepted his hospitality paid for anything but he could have said to keep her money rather that almost suggest she should stick the ten dollar note up her butt.
While waiting, Ellen wondered if Hal got drunk and punched officers of the law.
They drove off, he eating and drinking while driving but appeared competent at multi-tasking.
“Where do you want to go, to the main road?”
“Is there an alternative?”
“You could ramble on with me, going where I decide to go, stopping where it takes my fancy. Do you go in for casual sex?”
“You mean once or twice a year?”
He saw her smile and laughed and she said it wasn’t unknown to indulge in a spontaneous rumble.
Hal glanced at her, smile gone, and asked, “Am I too old for you?”
“If that relates to sex, you may be but then again you may not be too old.”
Hal bit into the remains of his peach muffin and partly through chewing and watching his coffee cup on the top of the dashboard as they went over a bump asked, “What the hell does that mean?”
“It means I’m cautiously keeping my options open.”
“Fair enough. Eat your muffin. You appear well educated.”
“Oooh, a discerning male. How unusual.”
He grinned and coloured a little.
Ellen bit into her muffin and cried, “This is beautiful.”
“Yeah well you’re not too bad as well. Tell me something about yourself Ellen.”
She delivered a verbal précis as if applying for a job and then finished by telling him of meeting and living with Mike and how he was arrested last night and was now in the process of being deported.”
“God you poor thing.”
“Careful you might make me cry,” she said. “Actually starting out abandoned and ending up here with you is encouraging and I feel my usual confidence has returned. I admit to being rather flaky last night and when waking this morning.”
“Well you need sex so best you stay with me and travel as a bonus.”
“Well it was worth a try.”
Ellen laughed and said her comment wasn’t actually a rejection.
“Tell me about yourself Hal.”
“I’m an escapee.”
Ellen almost dropped her coffee.
“What from jail?”
He laughed and said no, he was escaping his fucked up social, business and marital life.
“Phew, you had me worried for a minute.”
“Yeah blame me for being purposely provocative. Well I gained a bachelor degree in computer science, majoring in information technology and began two promising jobs that didn’t look so promising some months on and I quit on both occasions and then started up a home computer servicing depot, not offering a home calling service to keep costs down and that proved a good idea because people brought in their computers on the way to work, because I opened early, and collected them on the evening of the day when called their computer was ready to pick-up. And that was efficient for business.”
“No cash, no computer?”
He grinned, acknowledging her smart thinking.
“In four years I’d opened six branches in put in managers and then successfully sought a business partner and he pressed me to borrow more heavily and we opened six more depots in twelve months. Unfortunately then business died away a bit as a result of the global economic downturn with a portion of our type of customers losing their jobs. We came under pressure with loan repayments and my partner said his family could increase our capital in return for him gaining a larger share in the company that would give him a majority slice of the company and I knew I had to accept that.
“Well a n couple of months later he said he was selling his stake and I objected and the crafty bugger said then sell out to me, that the company couldn’t afford two directors. He had me over a barrel and so I sold, but made him wince at the pay-out I demanded and received.”
“Oh you poor man.”
“Oh I was cash rich but then I found the bastard had been fucking me wife when the bitch said she was divorcing me to go to him. I’d started the business before I knew her and we signed a prenuptial agreement that, unfortunately for the stupid bitch, was drafted in such a way that she was excluded from the earnings of the company and any future sale unless she’d become involved in creating company earnings from the time of marriage. She took me to court over this and the ruling was in my favour after my lawyer provided evidence she was computer illiterate and had her admit she’d never stepped into any of the company’s business centres.”
“Oh jolly good show Hal.”
“Yeah well she did end up half of the proceeds from the sale of the house and the sale of our boat.”
“She deserved nothing.”
“Thanks for your loyalty stranger,” Hal grinned.
“After we parted she began spreading lies that I used to beat her and tie her to the bed for sex and of course our friends dropped me like a hot potato as the word spread. In the end I decided to escape Auckland and wait for the divorce to finalize and here I am after buying this campervan in Christchurch. You know I get satisfaction by thinking her lover will have hit on her to pour some of her money into the business that under Eric’s direction will probably eventually fail.”
“Well let’s hope that happens,” Ellen said as if signalling she was all for Hal.
He lowered his voice as if wishing to speak confidentially.
“I’ve wickedly written to each of the managers telling them what their depots were worth when I opened them and how they should negotiate hard in self-preservation mode if Eric comes to them and suggests they buy their depots. None of them is silly and this advice to them will cost Eric an arm and a leg but he can’t take a legal shot at me because I haven’t suggested how they should negotiate in detail or suggest what their bottom line in negotiations should be. In fact I told them in the letter it would be wrong for me to do that to my former business partner.”
“Oh very cute. I love it. So you are used to having sex?”
“Er I was until I dumped my treacherous wife. So far I haven’t stopped in any place for very long and I’m wary of quick meet and bang relationships.”
“Would I be an exception to that?”
“It’s up to you.”
“How old are you?”
“Thirty-eight. And you?”
He smiled and said the age gap was not as wide as he’d thought.
“I’d though you might be forty.”
“And I thought you looked thirty-three, so snap!”
She laughed and said either way it was approximately 7-year gap.
He pointed up ahead and said well that was the main highway to Christchurch and places south.
“Where are you going?”
“I’ll take the opposite direction to a winery for lunch just north of here and find a camping spot for the night. In the morning I’ll then decide what to do next. This is how I’m living my live at present.”
“Oooh may I come with you?”
“Sure thing. I’d like that.”
“I will have sex with you but I don’t know when.”
“Tonight will be fine,” Hal said optimistically.
Ellen made no reply. She was thinking if the relationship was working well to invite Hal to return to England with her when she was due to leave. Making a fresh start would be good for him, better than drifting around in a campervan as an escapee. Perhaps the first thing to do was to demonstrate her prowess at sex. According to Mike, sex with her had been good as it gets and that was one thing that would please Hal about meeting her when he got to couple with here, probably after lunch today.
She felt hungry… and sexy.
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