Picture it: Austin, 1983. A beautiful young girl from East Texas lives in an apartment off Riverside; she’s a junior at UT, so it only makes sense that she should live in the student ghetto.
One evening, the girl and her boyfriend, Tim, who lives near Houston, make plans for a romantic rendez-vous outside Brenham, which is roughly halfway between their respective homes. There’s a pintoresque road-side picnic area just west of Brenham, with arching old oaks and a simple country ambience.
Because Tim works nights, managing a restaurant, the meeting must take place under a romantic moon, around 1:00 in the morning. In eager anticipation of their date night, the girl makes her lover’s favorite treat (other than herself): chocolate chip cookies. They’re made to the standard Nestle’s recipe, but they are extra-large and very gooey.
Before leaving her home in Austin about 11:00 p.m, the girl packs her cookies into Tina, her little blue Chevy, and figures she will have plenty of time to get to Brenham by 1:00. She is excited to offer her cookies and kisses to Tim.
Five miles outside of Austin, on Highway 290, headed east, the girl hears a noise, a thump, a something’s-amiss, under the hood of poor Tina. Unsure of what to do, and noticing that the car is still running fine, the girl continues on her path. Within minutes, though, Tina’s idiot light reading “generator” blinks on, and the car stalls.
The girl is only 20 years old, but she has had her share of car trouble. She guides the car, without power steering, to the side of the road and turns on her flashers. She locks the doors and reaches into the glove box, where the special windshield sign her grandmother gave her is. She unfurls the sign on the reflective “Need Help, Please Call Police” side, and attaches it to her rear windshield with its accompanying sticky thingies. She is grateful to her grandmother for providing this lifesaving device.
She lights a cigarette and cracks a window to expel the smoke. Before she can finish it, though, she sees police lights on the other side of the highway, westbound. The police car pulls a u-ey and pulls in safely right behind her little Chevy.
When the officer approaches her, the girl sees his uniform–he is a Texas Trooper. Even better than a cop. As it happens, there is a Grateful Dead concert in Austin that same night, so the Law (and tow trucks) is out en force. The Trooper flags down a tow, and the girl and Tina are headed back to the ghetto.
Now the girl faces her nightmare: What will happen when Tim arrives at the pintoresque roadside park in Brenham? It’s the middle of the night, she has no transportation, and there is no way–apart from telepathy–to reach Tim, who is already on the road! Egad!
The girl eats a cookie and starts to cry. She is sure that Tim will discover her absence, assume she has stood him up, think she doesn’t love him, and will disappear from her life forever. (Hey, I said she is only 20 years old.)
Minutes trudge reluctantly by. The girl cries and eats cookies. She sits on the 9-foot-long, green-paisley couch with the phone crouched beside her, in the vaguest of hopes that Tim might somehow call… from somewhere…
1:00 a.m. Rendez-vous time. She knows he’s there. He’s always early. She knows he smells good. She knows he has been looking forward to her cookies. Alas, she is nowhere in sight. She is still sitting on her paisley couch in the ghetto, crying and picking at the cookie crumbs.
1:35 a.m. The phone rings! Still crying, the girl answers ecstatically, “TIM?!”
He is at a pay phone in Brenham. He still loves her. He is glad she is safe. He is coming to Austin to fix her car. Will she please make him some more cookies?
The girl grins as she floats into the kitchen to preheat the oven.