Classic bumper sticker often seen on custom vans in the '70's and early '80's

More often than not accompanied by "If this van's a' rockin', don't come a' knockin'."

Once upon a time there was a space hippie who lived in an intergalactic VW bug. It was a small ship but he had plenty of room to take his half-wolf dog Zion along and give a ride to the occasional hitchhiker thumbing his way across the galaxy. One day Ganz (as he called himself) was driving as he normally did across the Orion arm of the galaxy when he came upon an individual on the side of the road. Being the brotherly type, Ganz pulled over to give the young lady a ride. She was a slim girl with nappy-assed dreads that just drove Ganz crazy. She smelled slightly of body odor and patchouli and it was all Ganz could do to keep from drooling. Zion took to her immediately and proceeded to do just what Ganz was fighting not to do. Zion had very active saliva glands. The young lady didn't mind however, and even managed to keep the stupid mutt in hand as they pulled away from the side of the stellar byway.

"Gas, Ass, or Grass" Ganz quipped, only half seriously, "Nobody rides for free."

"I think one or more of those can be arranged," beamed the girl. "I might dress real shitty, but I'm actually quite well off."

Ganz was quite taken by the strange girl's presence and belatedly remembered that he had yet to introduce himself. "The name's Ganz, and my salivetic compadre here is known as Zion. We are on our way to Stratishama City, on Garlastric IX. Makin' our way to Woodstock 3000… gonna be some phatty shit goin' down."

The girl smiled again and blinked her big hazel eyes in an almost seductive manner. "Looks like you're going my way brother," She purred, "It appears that I finally have some good karma comin' my way. They call me Starshine."

The conversation died down at this point and they continued down the byway with only the pneumonic growl of the VW's elderly engine to break the silence of the interstellar spaces. Ganz, although generally content to remain in the company of Zion alone, reveled in Starshine's aura.

Unfortunately this burgeoning embryonic romance was cut short by a nearby supernovaeing star and they all died.

The end.

It is so hard not to put a disclaimer on this...

Back in the late 1970s, when all was right with the world, I had this souped up Pontiac that I drove around Old Baltimore. It had a racing stripe down the middle and flames painted on the side by a six-year-old. Often, I would venture outside the city limits and it was there that I found my finest pickings. What I was looking for were hitchhikers.

I usually would wear these super tight neon pink and green gym shorts with a tank top that said "Rock Hard" written mostly in lightning bolts. It was an iron-on transfer designed by a six-year-old and I loved that shirt. Back then I also wasn't completely bald, and after I was severely criticized by business leaders in the community for my comb-over, I purchased a twenty dollar toupee that I would wear around town. It looked very smart with my driving around outfit, as did my Jesus sandals (indicating my Jesusness).

Now, the key to my operation was the presence of a bumper sticker on the rear bumper of my suped-up Pontiac that said, "Gas, Grass or Ass, Nobody Rides for Free." This indicated the rules up front so that the hitchhikers would know what they were in for. My outfit was just the cherry on top of the sundae they were about to be treated to.

I saw a nerdy looking guy, so I took the 8-track tape out of my souped-up Pontiac's 8-track tape player (you can look that up on Wikipedia). I would choose music that seemed to fit the character of the alleged victim that I was picking up hitchhiking, so in the case of this nerdy guy, I decided to put in an 8-track tape of the Alan Parsons Project. Then I pulled slowly over to the side of the road in front of him, so he could see the bumper sticker and know the rules. In this case the nerdy guy chose to pay to fill the gas tank of my Pontiac at a gas station up the street. He wanted a ride to Washington, DC where he was supposed to start a job as a Senate page, but he never made it to that job.

What I would do after a successful hunt was to get soft serve ice cream. What a delicious treat. I feel you don't see it very often any longer. It seems to have been replaced by yogurt which was something that started in the 1970s but was only consumed by snobs and fat chicks.

Most people chose to buy gas, and that was fine with me as my souped up Pontiac that I drove around all night dressed as I was with my bumper sticker on the back stating the rules very clearly and concisely only got 12 miles to the gallon. So, fill-ups were great when someone else paid for them and then paid with their life.

These days I make better choices, and I think we all need to choose to make better choices. Now, I know that looks like two choosings in one, but even though it is, I still think we could all make better choices. Don't you?

Sometimes when I would pull over to the side of the road and the hitchhiker would come over, they would look into the car and see me and my outfit and they appeared to panic and try to run away. Alas, I had my X-Man type hand with the grabbing extension on it and I would grabbeth at them and pull them forcefully into the car, where I would reinterate the rules in no uncertain terms. A lot of them were caught off guard when I did that and would sit with a look of mortal terror on their faces as they stammered out, "Okay, okay, I'll buy you gas, man."

The wildest experience I ever had picking up hitchhikers was late one night, probably three o'clock in the morning (and believe it or not I had a very important business meeting with civic leaders of the community at nine that morning), when I saw a celebrity walking down the side of the road. He turned, stuck out his thumb, and I saw that it was Rutger Hauer (an actor of note).

He tried to tell me his name was John Ryder, but I knew who he was. Often, celebrities will hitchhike under assumed names so you don't know they are hard up for cash or have had their assets seized by the FBI. I didn't push the issue, but I did ask if he had seen my bumper sticker and if he understood the rules. He smiled and said, "Sure."

"So, what's it going to be then?" I asked him with a wink as I turned slightly so he could enjoy a long look at my gorgeous driving outfit.

He made a sudden movement and then he was holding a knife to my throat. This guy was a celebrity for crying out loud, what was going on? Was he out hunting people like I was? This guy was about to become my hero, but first I reached up with my X-Man type hand, which had the slicing attachment with the super strength feature turned on, and snapped Rutger's hand off and threw it out my open window.

He sat back in his chair with a look of concern that quickly turned into a wide grin. "Oh my, you are going to be quite the challenge, aren't you?"

"What do you want?" I asked. "We are both hunters. This cannot end well, with two predators going head-to-head in full bodied action."

"I want you to stop me," he explained.

Since I was still driving, I had to look back at the road. We were going down a busy expressway at ninety miles per hour, so there were concerns here. By the time I looked back at Rutger, he'd mysteriously disappeared.

At this point, I was stunned by Rutger's sudden disappearance, so I was caught off guard when the bolt of energy hit the road in front of me and exploded, sending my souped up Pontiac with the bumper sticker that said "Gas, Grass or Ass, Nobody Rides for Free" hurtling through the air. It then crashed upside down a half mile from where I'd been and it took me a little while to get out.

My biggest problem at this point was that it was 1986 and I was still wearing my 1978 style duds. They were no longer fashionable so I started looking for someone whose clothes I could steal, and then things got even more insane. This is why I said up front that this was wildest experience I ever had picking up hitchhikers (because of all the insanity that unfolds over the course of this adventure). There is all this blue energy on the street in front of me and this huge dude appears and says, "Your clothes. Give them to me." I think about fucking him up, but then decided that since I wanted to be rid of this outfit anyway, I just took it off and gave it to him. Then he walked off muttering about someone named Sarah.

Now my problem was that I was completely naked and standing in the middle of an unfamiliar street. There was a gas station just a couple hundred feet away, so I scampered over to said gas station and went in and tried the line the huge guy who appeared surrounded by blue light used. "Your clothes, give them to me." He looked at me like I was crazy, so I held up my X-Man type hand with the same settings as I had when dealing with Rutger. He changed his tune fast, but only after I sliced through the snack food display. He gave me his clothes. While I was putting them on, he changed into a spare outfit, we shook hands and I was off to the races.

Obviously, I still had concerns. I was without a car and dressed like a gas station attendant. This wasn't exactly a recipe for getting broads, and I was horny as all get out at this point. Those thoughts were rudely interrupted when another explosive bolt of energy exploded nearby and my body was sent hurtling through the air. When I came down, I saw this weird outline thing in the tree above me, so I quickly switched to my gatling gun attachment with automatic aiming feature turned on and fired at the outline thing. It made a sound and then zipped away. I didn't think I'd seen the last of it, but I really wanted to change into something more comfortable.

There was a lone house nearby, so I scampered over to it. I could hear music, so I knew someone was home. Hopping up on their porch, I identified the song as The Four Seasons' hit "December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)." Anyone who is listening to that song in 1986 at three in the morning with the volume turned up can't be too much of a tough guy.

Well, something was wrong because there were a bunch of dead kids in the house and I was getting very tired. I went to take a little power nap to recharge my batteries (and I needed an outlet to plug my X-Man type hand into as I'd been using it a lot). I unplugged the stereo, despite there being many, many other outlets available (some in more convenient locations) and plugged in my X-Man type hand to power it up.

During my nap I had a weird dream about a boiler and a creepy burned guy in a striped red and green sweater. He was coming after me, but I knew it was just a dream, so that meant my X-Man type hand wasn't recharging. As far as dreams are concerned, no electricity is required for appliances. They run on their own. So, I quickly switched to my intense flamethrower attachment and burned the hell out of sweater guy and woke myself up.

My X-Man type hand finished recharging, so I went outside and looked around. There was a car in the driveway, but it was Japanese and I only drive American, so I needed to find an American car somewhere. I climbed up a telephone pole and once I got to the top, I dropped into a crouch and scanned for signs of other houses. There were a few in the valley below.

Then, out of nowhere, the sweater guy appears again and he's doing psycho things. I've already figured out this guy is some kind of dream thing, so I must still be asleep. This is some dream within a dream shit going on! So, I slapped myself with my non-X-Man type hand and fully woke myself up. The problem at that point was that I seemed to be chained between two trucks. My feet had a chain wrapped around them and so did my wrists and I couldn't move. My X-Man type hand was still recharging in the house while we were out front. Rutger was back and he was glowering at me as I was being stretched between these two trucks.

Apparently, I'm about to be snapped in half, but then this energy bolt explodes right where Rutger is and he's blown to bits. The two trucks going hurtling through the air with me still chained between them, but they stayed close enough together during the nearly three hour flight through the air that I wasn't anything more than superficially injured when we crashed and the chains snapped.

Now I was miles and miles away from my X-Man type hand and only had a stump where it had been. This was troubling.

Something was standing next to me, but I couldn't see it. The damned thing was whispering creepily into my ear some words I couldn't make heads or tails of. I wanted to attack whatever it was, but I'm kind of just a fat bald guy without my X-Man type hand.

The huge guy who had acquired my clothes was now standing with a big, futuristic kind of gun (for 1986 anyway) about fifty feet away. He had a group of rugged looking solders with him.

"Step aside, fat bald man," the big dude wearing my clothes said in an Austrian kind of accent with big guy inflections.

Usually, I won't step aside for anyone, but that rule really only applies to the dance floor when someone tries to cut in when I'm forcing a woman to dance with me against her will. I stepped aside as requested, and the big dude fired at where the creepy whispery thing was standing next to me and there was an explosion and a scream.

"You will be terminated," the big guy told what was now a weird outliney form squirming around. The outliney thing then leaped quickly away and seemed to travel quite far. "You work with us now," the big Austrian guy told me after coming over with his men. "We terminate this thing."

"He's something of a hybrid of two characters," a cigar-chomping member of big Austrian guy's team told me before shrugging. "Welcome to the team."

Another member of the team made a remark about how the Austrian guy was dressed, since he was wearing my neon pink and green 1978 gym shorts and the tank top that says "Rock Hard" on it. The big guy turned and said, "These clothes. You respect them. They are who I am. Know this."

A series of explosions happened. The outliney guy was back and big Austrian guy's team sprang into action. I would have joined them, but as previously stated, I'm really just a fat bald guy without my X-Man type hand. So, I stayed back like a coward and hid in the bushes where I proceeded to wet myself. That was when there was another kind of flash and then there was a DeLorean (failed car brand) sitting in front of me. A guy I instantly recognized as television star Michael J. Fox got out and said "Get in, quick!"

Trying to hide the wet spot in my pants from when I peed myself in the bushes, I got into the DeLorean and he made some adjustments to weird shit on the dashboard and then hit the gas. In a flash we were in 1995, where he told me to get out of the car because he had to go back to some other time or something or other that I found difficult to follow when he tried to explain to it me. He then gave up and called me stupid, which I resented and that is why I no longer like Michael J. Fox. He called me stupid.

Anyway, that is how I managed to jump the years between 1986 amd 1995. Techinically, I am 79 and not 89 but I go with my birth certificate. You know we had those problems with Obambo.

Incidently, it took six years for me to find the house where my X-Man type hand was left to recharge in 1986. They no longer had it, but they told me who they'd sold it to during the yard sale in which it was sold. I went to that guy's house, but he was a loser surrounded by pizza boxes, video games, and empty beer cans. He was also dead from choking on his own vomit. It took me half a day to dig through the hoarding this guy apparently did before finding my X-Man hand and re-attaching it. I now have a power cell that I can plug in to charge so I no longer have to take off the X-Man type hand to recharge it. As you can see, I am sensible.

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