Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
“Car Crash While Hitchhiking” is the first story in Jesus’ Son (1992), an interrelated collection of short stories that traces the progress of a young man from drug addiction to recovery. Told in the first person by a seemingly clairvoyant narrator who claims that he can perceive future events, the story jumps around in time. The bulk of the story is devoted to a description of an automobile accident and its aftermath.
In chronological order, the events of the story are as follows. The hitchhiking narrator is picked up by a Cherokee, a salesperson, and a college student and consumes large amounts of alcohol and drugs with them. The married salesperson, who is on his way to meet his girlfriend, first picks up the narrator in Texas. The salesperson shares his amphetamines and whiskey with the narrator and rhapsodizes about his capacity to feel love for everyone in his life but then leaves the narrator in Kansas City. A student gives the narrator a ride to the city limits and offers him hashish. Overcome by the quantity of drugs he has taken, the narrator falls asleep in a puddle beside a highway.
Eventually a family—a man and his wife, Janice, and their baby—gives the narrator a ride, and he falls asleep. The family’s car is struck by another car, the driver of which apparently has fallen asleep at the wheel. Sprayed with blood and carrying the baby, the narrator seeks help from a reluctant truck driver. He observes that the...
(The entire section is 357 words.)
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