The sun wanes on a dusty highway. My boots lead me and my pack towards the plains. I parallel a commuting exodus out of the Christchurch metropolis, my thumb high in the air, my back to the mechanical fish.
A black car swings off the road and stops in front of me. It's a Toyota Celica, my teen-dream car... the nineties model, with more curves than Jessica Rabbit and a custom spoiler which could send us all Back to the Future.
Cars like this don't normally stop for hobos like me. I jog up to the window, confused. I do the usual scan over the driver seat for alcohol and weapons... but all is squeaky.
"Need a ride?" he says.
"Er, yeah! Thanks... where you headed?" I ask.
"Wherever you like mate, I'm just going for a drive."
I kind of hesitate, am I dreaming?
"Sweet! How does Mount Cook sound?"
"Cool, I never been there before."
"Me neither..." I grin, "Let's do it!"
I trade stories for cigarettes and bubble gum. We pull away and I navigate him up the ranges, bass pumping out of his 1.2 kW sound system, blowing bubbles all the way. At the end of a three hour ride he drops me off at two perfect hammock trees and gives me his hi-viz jacket, which in a week or so will save my ass.
"What's you name" I'd asked at the beginning.
"FREEDOM" he'd said.