That riff…damn that riff. I don’t know how they managed it. I have a guitar, I have the tuning, and yet still…that riff…how did they make that damn riff sound so good?
Maybe it’s the acoustics here. A dust-bowl like this doesn’t, on the surface, look ideal. One road and a shack are the only signs of life around, besides a few bushes. Sound has free reign over a place like this.
I don’t know what made us come here, but I’m glad we did. It’s been some time since I drove a car like this.
HH must have summoned up a miracle to get it working again. It was a near-wreck when we arrived, rusting away on the side of the road like a tombstone, testament to the golden age of American muscle in body alone. But he did it. This thing is alive once more, a growling beast of faded grey, open-topped and gorgeous to behold.
There was no way I was about to leave without a drive. HH agreed, on the basis that we stopped by anything that looked vaguely interesting (and provided he drove the way back). So, we loaded up on fuel*, locked up the box**, and that was that.
It was a good hour or so before we found anything approaching civilization. Bits of fencing and dead wood, scrap metal, stabbing into the dry earth like old teeth on barren gums. I couldn’t help but think of that riff as we passed it by. That riff belongs here.
Funny thing is, though, no sooner had I started humming it, than HH pulls something from the back-seat.
A guitar. Old as everything else here. Six steel strings, and more worn than an elephant’s foot.
I suggest him playing it, but HH shakes his head. I guess he doesn’t do that kind of thing. Maybe I’ll teach him, someday, so that we can jam over “Sweet Home Chicago” and the like. Maybe not this one…
No sooner have we begun arguing over artistic taste***, than suddenly, life appears up ahead. Life! Human life! I think.
Standing on the side of the road, a hand sticks out with one thumb up. A hitchhiker. Looks young, far too young to be out here alone. That bear of her’s has certainly seen better days… and what is it with girls recently? We can’t seem to avoid them.
HH’s Look speaks for both of us. This has got to stop happening. I pull in, regardless, because habits are still habits. It would be nice if someone else did this kind of thing.
“Where to?” HH asks, before I can suggest an alternative. Who are we to assume she even speaks Eng-
I’m staring at her now. Home? She stares back, either oblivious to my confusion or enjoying it. It’s rather hard to tell with some people. Is that a grimace, or the beginnings of a smile-?
“No problem. Womble, move aside. We did agree-”
“-hold on. You understood that?”
“…err, yes. I asked her a question, she gave us an answer. Don’t give me that look. You’ll find out soon enough, provided you move away from the steering wheel and let me drive us back to where we left the Tardis. We did agree on this.”
Reluctantly, I get out of the car. Can’t argue with that tone of voice. I open a backseat door for the girl, who frowns at me, and gets into the remaining front seat.
HH doesn’t even try to hide his amusement. Come on, it wasn’t that funny.
Still. At least I have the guitar now. It feels nice, the neck sitting in the palm of my hand like a baseball bat. I will nail it this time. The riff that belongs here. This time, I’m sure…
“Whatever it is you’re playing…keep playing it.”
Then I see it, in the wing-mirror’s reflection.
The little girl in the red dress, sat alongside my friend.
*Provided by HH from somewhere within the Tardis. It’s not yet known if Time Lords happen to carry the stuff around with them, or whether HH used something that would work on anything…
**This was something of an understatement on Womble’s part. HH sent it temporarily to another dimension, full of nothing but dimension and Tardis, which would send the Tardis back and then self-destruct at his command. Time Lords really invest in secure parking.
***Neither of them won.