TruckSuds: a truckin’ soap opera
Miles here. Strange happenin’s at Mamie’s this week. I’d just finished fillin’ the paper towel dispensers and windshield washer containers at the fuel islands when a kinda battered, older rig pulled into the far island. Wouldn’t have noticed except there seemed to be a real loud one-sided discussion going on. So I decided I’d putter around a little more an’ keep an eye out.
The driver climbs out, slams the truck door hard an’ stomps round to the other side. He’s got greasy jeans on, longish hair, beard, and a motorcycle jacket. Never saw those colors before; didn’t recognize the name of the club or gang, neither. Anyway, he’s still madder than anyone’s blood pressure could take. I hear him yellin’ some more, an’ a sharp sound. (Later, Rhonda Sue told me she’d seen the driver slap his female passenger.) I started to go over and check on things, but another truck pulled up to the first set of pumps an’ I saw it was Miss Christy, so I went over to help her out.
Nadine fills me in later, sayin’ this girl comes in Mamie’s an’ looks around for the ladies’ room. Rhonda Sue catches her eye and motions the girl in the right direction, noticing she’s got a bright red handprint across her left cheek. That was the sound I’d heard.
Anyways, when the girl comes out, she’s put cold water on her face, but it didn’t help much. Pam goes over an’ gets a dishtowel an’ wraps ice in it, then quietly tells the girl to come an’ sit in a booth in back. Pam told Nadine she was older than what she looked at first, an’ she had a fading black eye too, that she’d tried to cover up with makeup.
So I wash Miss Christy’s windshield while she’s fuelin’, an’ then turn around to see the battered truck pull out an’ – keep goin’ past Mamie’s front door. ‘Bout then I realize there’s a little soft-sided bag left behind on the fuel island. I run over an’ grabbed it afore it got diesel on it; no matter how many times I wash them curbin’s off, they still get splashed. I look over, an’ Big Pete’s standin’ at the door to the truckstop. He hollers at me an’ tells me the grungy guy just took off without payin’ for his fuel.
Brother, I really got a bad feelin’ bout all this. Best thing for me to do is take the bag to Mamie. I hadn’t caught the license plate, ’cause the truck was facin’ away from me, but mebbe someone inside had.
“Miles!” Nadine hisses at me as I get inside. “Did you get any kind of a description of that truck or trailer that just roared outta here?”
“Trailer had nothin’ on it but dirt, Nadine. An’ the cab was facin’ away from me, so I couldn’t tell you the plate.”
“Great galumping galoshes, Miles. We got us a situayshun developin’ here. That girl’s Mamie’s second cousin’s adopted daughter.”
Trust Nadine to know everbody’s genial alogy. (But we’d all try to help that poor girl anyway no matter who she was related to, or my name ain’t Miles Wheeler.)
I’ll let you know what was goin’ on next week. Like I said, strange happenin’s.