The second character the author presents, and much more complex, is the “hitchhiker”. He’s describe having the appearance of a rat. “He was a small ratty-faced man … The grey jacket, together with the quick eyes and the pointed ears, made him look like some sort of human rat.” (Page 2. Lines 2 to 6). We believe the author chooses this description to evoque in the reader the feeling that this character is not trustworthy. A hint on him being witted, selfish and greedy.
From the way he speaks we can deduce he is from a lower class, probably from the countryside and he has a different education level than the driver. All this, and the fact that he’s a stranger asking for a lift, adds up to the feeling that he’s rather a shady character.
He doesn’t want to reveal what he does for a living because he doesn’t trust the driver. Besides, his means of living are not inside the law and he knows the risks of trusting strangers with his identity. This is why we don’t believe Michael Fisher, the name he gives the policeman, is his real name.
Though he knows his job is “illegal”, he doesn’t want to see it as a “crime”, he refers to it as an art and takes great pride on it. This character also is conceited and looks down on people with no skills working on “crummy old routine jobs”. He likes to show off his extraordinary abilities with his really fast fingers. He can steal things from people without them noticing.
When the officer stops them for speeding, the hitchhiker acts like he is used to that situation. He tries to calm down his nervous companion and take over the situation, teasing the policeman and distracting him while he, as we find out later on, steals the officer’s notes.
We think that the author sympathise with this character mostly, being that he’s a criminal and the reader ends up liking him and feeling the police officer is the “bad guy” for enforcing the law.