He was a freshman in high school: boyishly good-looking with high cheekbones; tall, lanky, athletic, red-haired, and already 16 - not uncommon in Texas where boys are held back in Kindergarten to be more developed for football. The son of a Pastor, he bore the name Luke: a good, solid Biblical moniker.
One pristine summer afternoon, having recently acquired his license, Luke was taking full advantage of his new-found freedom, cruising around in the Red Dragon, a '96 Chevy truck, windows down and a grape popsicle in his mouth. He pulled up to a stoplight singing along to "All My Ex's Live in Texas," lost in a trance of youth, song, or summer. A rapping at his window pulled him from his state. A large black woman of indiscernible age, twenties or thirties, was talking to him through the window. "My car just broke down around the corner," she said. "I live down the street. Can you give me a ride? Please. It would really help me out." With beads of sweat clinging to the corners of her eyes, forehead, and upper lip, she appeared innocent enough. George Straight crooned how Texas was a place he'd dearly love to be. Luke figured her to be harmless enough. After all, she is a woman. Woman, not a man, he thought.
She gets into his car and they start driving. Out of the corner of his eye he notes her broad nose and round face. He doesn't know what to say to her. She rubs her thighs through jean shorts tight enough that they produce unflattering protrusions of fat. Assuming she's not a George Strait fan, he turns down the radio. "It’s hot outside," she says, breaking the silence. "Can we roll up windows and turn on the air?" It comes out more command than request. Luke, mildly put off, agrees. At the next red light, she turns to him again. "Man, I just lost twenty dollars, can you help me out?" I've made a mistake, he thinks. She wants money. They always want money. In an amiable tone, he says, "I'm sorry, Ma'am. I don't have any money. I'm already doing you a favor. I'll just drive you to your destination and be on my way." She looks down at her lap, thinks for a moment, then returns her gaze to him. “I’ll suck your dick,” she says. "$15 and I'll suck you off real good."
Mortification. Yes, that would be the word to best describe Luke's reaction at that exact moment. During his short 16 years, nobody had ever spoken to him in such a way. He pulled off to the side of the road and demanded she get out. She might have continued to beg and offer but he was done listening. He couldn't even look at her. With the car stopped, staring at his thighs, he ordered her to be gone. His only refuge was to be found in a quote from the Gospel bearing his namesake: ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’