Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wanna do bad things with you

Pic of the Day

Vid of the Day

Excerpt of the day
From "Hot Load" available for a limited time in Howl At The Mistletoe

I stared at the dispatch a little more, then got out my atlas and started trip-planning during the last hour of my break before I left the terminal. Once I did get on the road, I followed the directions very carefully. I did not want to get lost in the wilds of the Arkansas-Louisiana border. Bobtails are easier to turn than a full rig, but still. I turned off the main state highway onto a numbered county road. My directions said it was fine.

It hadn't been used in a long time. The yellow stripe was faded to near invisibility and the grass grew over the broken edges of the road. No houses, no farms, nothing but trees and meadows lined the road. Every now and then, a bridge would take me over a broad cypress swamp. I could smell the murky, stagnant water even over the air conditioning and the Spanish moss hung nearly to the eerie knees that poked through the scummy water. One patch of swamp was so thick and dense, and ran so long, that it was dark before I got out.

I was almost out of hours when I saw the lights of the Nesperanza truck stop. I parked my bobtail next to five others and went inside. The other drivers were sitting at the counter, and I gave the tired-looking waitress my order.

I was halfway into my chicken-fried steak when a sharp-faced little man came in. “All right, drivers, I have your bills and trailer assignments. And your routing. Fill the new guy in on the rules. Since you're all out of hours, the clock resets at seven a.m.” He handed out the paperwork and left without another word. I finished my supper and glanced at the bills.

The guys stared at me, then introduced themselves. I listened as they explained the rules: no fraternizing with the cargo, no detours, no leaving the cab at the dock. I was in way over my head. The best way to cope would be after a good night's sleep. I left a tip and went to my sleeper. It seemed to be some sort of signal, because everyone headed for bed.

At six o'clock, I sat in the truck stop drinking stale coffee and listening to the guys bitch about the run. They knew what we were doing. Every one of them had taken this job of his own free will. But it's a truism that when two or more truckers are together, they're talking about one of three things: women, their lousy job or how fast their rig goes...or doesn't go.

We were all loaded up, except me. I had one more item on the manifest before I could hook the trailer.

“Got you loaded heavy today,” Cody said glancing over my bills.

“Yeah. I guess that's what happens when they give you the sodomites.” I flinched inwardly as I read the hateful word. “Lot more of them around these days. Two hundred fifty-one, but it says capacity is two-fifty. The extra can ride in the cab. Be nice to have company.”

The other guys laughed and headed to their trucks. I was getting up, when I saw the kid standing by the rear of my trailer. Mister Two-fifty-one, I expected. I went out and did a walk around.

He sure was cute, all blond hair and big gray eyes. He couldn't have been more than twenty-two, and wearing a t-shirt with a cartoon medieval foot pad and the words “Thieves slip in and out unnoticed.” His tan jeans hugged his body and the leather sandals were the final hippie touch. I wanted to kiss him, just to see if his lips were as soft as they looked. I grinned at the irony instead. Someday, I was going to be in the trailer of this rig myself, I suspected.

“You get special accommodations,” I said to him. “The passenger seat.”

He smiled. “Better than the trailer with the rest of the damned. I thought it was supposed to be a train.”

I shrugged. “Trains went out years ago. I guess rail rates affect everyone.” I paid my tab and stood up to go.

He sighed. “Yeah, so now they get packed into cattle cars and hauled to Hell behind Freightliners.”

There it lay, the ugly truth of the run. We couldn't escape the fact I was taking him down to Hell.

“Get in,” I said, and climbed up myself.

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