I met her in a pub in a small town where everybody knows everybody and while strangers weren't exactly shunned, the locals also didn't go out of their way to make them feel welcomes. I noticed her as soon as I walked in the door A stark contract of feminine beauty again the wall paper of masculinity. Very much a welcome sight after on the road for so long. Not that hitchhiking doesn't yield a good amount of women, but when it does, they're either with a man or they're one of those absurdly manly trucker type.
The woman was in the middle of a poker game, giving the men she was playing a run for their money. I'll admit, I was never a very honest man myself when it came to the game, so I could easily spot when someone was counting cards. Needing a little extra cash myself, and of course the opportunity for one less lonely night, I joined in.
I'm sure right away she could tell I'd be a hard one to fool. Through several rounds, we carried on a banter, trying to distract each other to gain the upper hand. From our conversations I learned more about her. She too was a traveler. Already having wound her way through most of western Europe, she was then making her way to the west. Her next destination being the Appalachian mountains.
Her name was Jolene. A woman after my own heart, so they say. Just as wayward and dishonest as I was back then. To my delight, she and I spent that night together after cheating the locals out of the contents of their wallets.
I awoke the next morning, handcuffed naked to the bed. To my displeasure, I had also been unwillingly relieved of my money and possessions of value. Though oddly, she was nice enough to leave me my passport. That I was quite thankful for as I had it in my mind to track her down and crossing boarders without it would be difficult. Thanks to our conversation the night before, I knew where to start towards.
After an embarrassing explanation, I found myself in pursuit of the thief vixen. It wasn't just for payback of my humiliation, but I admit I was quite stricken by her tenacity. Usually I was the one playing and not being played. Oddly it was refreshing. It left me wanting more.
My pursuit began on the closest town at the base of the east mountain range. I tried finding anything I knew about her by asking around for anyone who would recognize her description. When no leads came up, I would move on the the next closest populated area. After a few weeks of searching the area, I was on the brink of cutting my loses and returning east. Fortune found me when I happen upon her in an open market. She was shuffling cards in front of a small table, no doubt peddling a rigged game of chance.
I didn't approach her right away, and instead waited for the day to sleep and for her to pack up. I followed her to a rundown, forgotten shack, nestled in between two larger buildings. A smart move to make when you're traveling as a foreigner. She didn't have to pay for rooming, but it came at the risk of any persons being able to walk right in. Persons like myself.
Jolene was definitely surprised to see me, but admitted she was impressed that I was able to track her down. She gave me back my wallet, empty of course (not that the currency would do any good in this country anyway) as well as my watch. I remember commenting on how she hadn't sold it yet and she just smirked, saying she had tried, but that it hadn't been worth jack shit. To which I called bullshit. While it was no Rolex, it was definitely worth couple grand in American currency. It was after that that she admitted she really kept it as a reminder of the best lay she had “so far”.
Of course I now had to upkeep my reputation and once again found myself in the same bed as her. This time though, in the morning she was still around, much to my elation.
Jolene propositioned to me a partnership. Travel together as a pair of thieves. It was easier to make quick cash when there were two of us. One for distraction, the other for execution. Of course I agreed and that had started a long journey of cheating and scamming our way across the countries.
It was fun for a while. We saw so many places, slept together in so many beds. For a time, I thought she would be the one I would be with for ever. That was before I found out she was bat-shit crazy. Honestly it was a surprise to me. Sure, there has to be level of insanity to make living off small crimes, but I'm talking more along the lines of possible murder crazy.
We had looped back around and were in Eastern Europe. I can't remember where exactly; Romania or Bulgaria or . . somewhere in that region along the continent’s border. I was out at a bar without Jolene. It wasn't that I had grown tired of her, but mind you, in my youth I wasn't exactly the kind to be fully committed to just one woman for too long. She was off on a job while I hit up a few local women that had an affinity for handsome “rich” Americans.
I didn't return to our hotel that night and spent it instead with two blondes, or perhaps one of them was a red-head? In my defense I wasn't sober in any sense of the word so forgive me if I skip the rest of that night's details.
The next morning I returned to Jolene. Immediately she saw the mark on my body and more than likely could smell perfume on my clothing. She asked me where I had been and of course I lied, saying I had passed out in an ally somewhere. She called me out on my deceit and we got into a verbal altercation.
At the heat of the argument, Jolene pulled a hunting knife from god knows where and held it against my throat. She told me if I ever slept with anyone else again she'd kill me in my sleep. I was not about to call her bluff on this so I nodded and begged for her forgiveness.
The rest of the night, I kissed up to her as much as I could. Complying with all demands though most, if not all of them, sexual. As soon as she was asleep, I very carefully got out of bed, got dressed as quietly as I possibly could and fled into the night. Never once thought of going back after hat.
I decided now was a good time as ever to return home to the states. I thanked whatever god there was that I hadn't told her from where exactly in America I was from. But just in case, I ended up settling down in the west coast, away from my original destination of home. I ended up teaching at a university after getting a teaching degree. Though life isn't as exciting as it used to be, I'm just glad that crazy Jolene hasn't found me yet.