It looked just the same. The world, that is. The road; the shimmering gray asphalt, pea-green grass, people's houses, people's barns, people's cars, the trees, were all unmoved and unchanged by recent events. Gunther and I, an item...

...Gunther and I, just friends. Me, precocious slut, tempting Gunther to nail me. Me, repentant youngster trying like hell to learn some respect for my elder(s) again. The sun just ruthlessly shines.

'Gunther,' I said, 'the sun is so relentless.'

I leaned over and handed him the joint. It wasn't official Gunther Smoking Time. But he grinned a faint grin and took it. He smoked it a damn long time (Bogarting if you ask me) then handed it back in slow motion. Zen and the art of handing over a joint. I think it took a full thirty seconds for it to reach my hand. And it looked like he was flying it in on a little plane. I was deeply amused.

'Gunther,' I said, 'you're not getting this back.'

He laughed heartily. 'Well, I am driving.'

'Yes, you are.'

Apparently this was funny, too.

The town we reached as the sun was setting looked to consist of little more than a whorehouse and a gas station. Men were actually having fisticuffs by the side of the road. We drove straight through. Gunther asked me if I'd like us to drive another hour and a half or so to a bigger town he knew was half decent. I said yes.

We had a big pasta dinner, found a movie house, and watched Citizen Kane. I was too stoned to remember much about it, apart from the fact that it was long, and that an old man liked his sled.

I was so tired when we got back to the room, I flopped down on the bed, kicked my shoes off , and said, 'Goodnight, Gunther.' I hadn't even brushed my teeth.

'Goodnight,' he said, with no shortage of tenderness.

(Page 123)

This is an extract from The Ice Age, the debut novel by Kirsten Reed

For another extract from The Ice Age, visit The Drawbridge Website.