“You hate ties? I like wearing ties. With white shirts. I like getting dressed up. Makes me feel clean.”
I turned up a ramp and onto the westbound 405, too fast.
“I don’t know, Salted-in-the-Shell,” I said. “I just don’t feel like myself in a white shirt. And ties are like silk nooses. Slow, soft suicide. That’s not how I want to look.”
“Slow down,” said Hudson.
“What do you mean?”
Hudson raised a palm toward the speedometer, the one with the red needle pointing at 80 mph. “What I mean is slow the fuck down. This is Signal Hill. Don’t you know about Signal Hill?”
“You mean the cops?”
“If we get pulled over for being a black guy and a white guy escaping a mental hospital at 80 miles an hour, Signal Hill cops’ll kill us.”
I slowed to 70. “What’ll they do if we’re only doing 70?”
“At 70 they’ll probably just beat us up and fill out a fake accident report.”
We took the Long Beach Boulevard exit and headed uptown, through the stoic foliage of Bixby Knolls, then meandered onto Spring Street east and headed home.
“Yeah,” said Hudson, leaning his seat back. “Soon as I’m well, I’m gonna go get that job in Kuwait, in the oil fields. Then in one year I’m going to come back and buy your car and get me a nice place to live. And you’ll be a writer by then, and you and I are gonna put on white shirts and ties and go out to lunch.”