We were cruising along at a whizzing seventeen miles per hour in the rightmost lane of a four lane interstate. Every single car, truck, or army vehicle that passed us let out a long, loud honk, which by now we were beginning to tune out. Aragorn was watching the road over my shoulder and Katy had taught the hobbits the song "The Wheels on the Bus" which they were now happily thinking up a hundredth chorus (something about elves and hairbrushes, from what I caught, it had long since stopped making sense).
"I thought you said these roads were made only for people in these motorized vehicles," Aragorn said with a bit of confusion in his tone from behind me.
"They are," I said, cringing as the bus lurched when I tried to get it up to twenty. I eased off the gas a little, "Why?"
"Because there is a man up there without a vehicle," Aragorn said.
"He is holding a sign with more of those strange markings on it," Legolas added, squinting slightly as he looked out the windshield as well.
"And he’s got a bag?" I asked.
"You can see him?" Legolas asked in surprise.
I smirked a little and shook my head, "No, just a guess. Anyway, he’s a hitchhiker. The sign says where he wants to go and he’ll stand on the side of the road until someone picks him up because for whatever reason he doesn’t have or can’t afford transportation of his own."
"Are you going to stop for him?" Aragorn asked.
"No," I answered quickly in a tone which I made sure held enough implication of idiocy that even the foreigner would realize he’d asked a stupid question.
Aragorn and Legolas frowned. "Why not?" Legolas asked, "It seems like it would be the right thing to do."
"Yes," Aragorn agreed with a nod, "We have plenty of room for him on the bus."
"Because," I answered with slight annoyance—Gimli had just offered the hobbits another verse, something which included shouting "woman beard!" very loudly—"From what I hear every hitchhiker an unsuspecting teenage girl picks up turns out to be a mass serial murderer and kills her."
Aragorn and Legolas exchanged a glance before Aragorn asked me what a "mass serial murderer" was.
I calmly explained that it was someone who "kills a lot of people for absolutely no reason. Particularly teenage girls who are dumb enough to pick them up on the side of the road."
"Well, what if he is not a mass serial murderer and is only someone who needs a way to get home?" Legolas asked, "Like us?"
I started to say something but Aragorn beat me to it. "Even if the man is a murderer, would it not be best that we pick him up instead of allowing someone without a way to defend themselves to pick him up later?"
"But what about us?" I asked exasperatedly, "We don’t have a way to defend ourselves from a killer!"
Aragorn and Legolas exchanged a second glance and meaningfully shifted their weapons to their hands. I almost hit my head on the steering wheel when I realized my mistake and sighed.
"Fine, we’ll stop." I grumbled, "But if I get killed over this I’m blaming you two."
The two warriors didn’t seem to mind at all and as we were—slowly—approaching the man, I turned on my blinker to pull us over. After jolting to a stop about thirty feet away from the man, he ran over to us and I opened the door of the bus.
"You folks going through Nashville?" The man asked.
I glanced back at Aragorn, who nodded. I then nodded to the man, "Yeah, we’re going that way. Need a ride?" I looked at him suspiciously.
He raised an eyebrow, "Obviously, yeah." He muttered.
Reluctantly I let him onto the bus. Turned out his name was David Treeman and he was an aspiring dentist, much to Katy’s excitement. He offered to give Pippin a free examination when the youngest hobbit asked what a dentist was, but as soon as he started poking around in his mouth Merry and Pippin—feeling as though they’d been somehow threatened—leapt to the attack with Gimli trying to free the poor guy.