Willy Jacobs, a hitching junkie, convinces his friend and coworker that the way to lose his fears and lack of confidence is to take to the road and let adventures and meeting up with unknown people free him of his self-doubts and allow him to find himself. Jay Patterson decides to take the leap toward self-awareness . . . And they take out a map.
Willy explains the finer points of thumb flagging to get vehicles to stop and give them a ride, but doesn't have much luck until a trucker named Clem slows down. He's an older, sarcastic guy with a wise mouth, making Jay leery of riding with him. Throwing caution to the wind, they hop in and soon all three are stoned on weed and booze as Clem tears down the highway at high speed. He drops them off at a junction with a gas station. Becoming suddenly quiet, Clem explains to Jay that they passed the spot where his daughter was killed, and his wife paralyzed in an accident that Jay senses he had caused. He tips his hat and drunkenly drives off leaving the still drunk Jay sitting on the curb sobbing. A kind gray-haired woman approaches and comforts him, gives him some advice about life, then leaves him alone.
Willy comes out of the restroom, hears his story and the two young Bohemian wanderlusts move on to their next adventure. But first they buy some junk food and Jay buys a notebook — hoping to fill it with more exciting excursions, as well as words of wisdom like the old woman offered. Willy thinks that's a great idea. They argue about a name for it and decide upon “The Steno."
As their journey progresses they meet people of all ages and walks of life, and enjoy the diverse scenery across and throughout America; managing to live off handouts and missions and " the kindness of strangers." Willy has a hard, but humorously persistent time teaching his friend the philosophy and therapy of the code of the road. Still the street -smart wanderer soon loses patience with his overemotional and easily frightened sidekick, causing them to part ways and friendship for a while.
Author Jerome Peterson’s novel, “Thumb Flagging” is a story about the physical and psychological coming of age of a young man trying to find himself. His hitchhiking experiences will either make or break him. Readers interested in highly interactive dialogue, conflict and adventures written in a “Mark Twain” style will enjoy this book.
Micki Peluso: writer, journalist, and author of And the Whippoorwill Sang.