Mamies Gas Up & Go Cafe’ and Truckstop
Hello everbody, hope you’re under a real good load an’ headin’ home after delivery. Let me tell you about another local character, our Super Trooper, ‘Rattle’ Snake, Snakes, or a lot of other names. Depends on how long it’s been since you got a ticket as to what you call this epitome of trooperhood. I remember one tale specially, from Lucas Briscoe.
Briscoe said Trooper Snakes sat down beside him once at Mamie’s counter, while they was all waitin’ for a snowplow. Now, you gotta understand about Snake. He’s an honest trooper – you can’t bribe, threaten or coax him – an’ his uniform has creases so crisp, you could cut your fingers on them. His Smoky Bear hat has never seen a smudge, and it’s always at exactly the same angle. No wind gust or even a tornado would dare disturb that hat.
Snake likes to eat at Mamie’s, and a collective shudder runs through the café when he walks in, no matter if everone in the entire place is runnin’ legal or not. He’s ever trucker’s conscience on two feet. You expect to hear spurs jingle as he walks, and watch the bad guys dive for cover afore the marshal takes ’em down.
An’ Lucas Briscoe is called the ‘Perfect Example’ Trucker. He’s never been late with a load, never swears at the four-wheelers, an’ always has all his paperwork in order. So you got two paragons of virtue, as it were, sittin’ at the counter.
Briscoe told me he didn’t know whether to talk or be quiet.
But Snake spoke first. “Pass the cream, Briscoe, would you?”
He ’bout jumped outta his hide, but he grabbed the pitcher an’ handed it over.
“Thanks.” Snake added sugar an’ stirred. “I’ve never given you a ticket, have I?”
Briscoe said he swallowed a lump the size of Rhode Island in his throat an’ replied, “Nnn-no, sir, Trooper Sna –” then he realized, to his horror, he’d almost called Snake jest that to his face!
Snake actually grinned at Briscoe. “That’s okay, son. I know the politest thing the truckers call me is ‘Snake.’ Kinda gives me a reputation to live up to, know what I mean?”
Briscoe nodded rapidly. “Yessir.”
The trooper took a sip of Mamie’s homage-inducing coffee. “Ah. That’s really great coffee. How many years you been driving?”
Briscoe couldn’t remember, he was so shook. “Um … let’s see, I got my CDL in – ah –”
Just then, the trooper’s radio phone squawked. “Excuse me. Police business.” And Snake walked briskly outside.
A groan came from the last booth on the right, and B.A. Grouseman sat up, looking like a grizzly just out of hibernation. “Ohhh, my head. That champagne at Wild Wolf’s wedding … what day is it?”
Pam, one of Mamie’s top-notch waitresses, came over. “It’s Tuesday, B.A. We were beginning to wonder if we should get you to a doctor.”
“Huh. The wedding was Friday. Naw, don’t need a doc. Just a little coffee, please.” An’ B.A. ambled over to the counter after a bone-cracking stretch. “Hey, Briscoe. What’s happenin’?” He sat down beside Briscoe.
“B.A., that seat’s taken.”
“Uh huh. An’ I’m takin’ it.”
“No, really, Snake was sitting there, talking to me, until he got a call. Went outside to his squad car.”
“Your nose is gonna grow, you keep lyin’ like that. Snake don’t talk to nobody, ’less he’s writin’ a ticket. Snake’s the kind of lawman who’d give a speeding ticket to Santa Claus.”
“Now, B.A., he’ll be back any minute.”
B.A. slurped down a half mug of scalding hot coffee. “Ah. That’s what I needed. Naw, you’re pullin’ my leg. Why, Snake is the meanest highway cop on either side of the Mississippi.” B.A. was warming up to his subject now, an’ everbody in the diner was startin’ to get worried. Several other truckers started tryin’ to shush B.A. but he wasn’t about to stop. “Why, his look would chill the blood of a wolverine, and he’s got the temperament to match.”
Briscoe choked on his coffee. “B.A., please just shut up.”
“He just loves to write tickets. That’s when you’ll see his beady eyes sparkle with triumph. Why, he threatened my dispatcher’s nephew once when the kid was ridin’ with me. Said, ‘Young man, in six years you’ll be able to drive. My advice to you is to never drive this stretch of the highway. I’ll be looking for you.’
Well, you’ve probly guessed the endin’. Mamie’s entire snowbound crowd got real quiet. B.A. turned a little pale, and said out of the side of his mouth, “He’s standing behind me, isn’t he, Briscoe?”
“Yep, he is.” B.A. kinda shuddered, and said, “I’m done for. So long, Briscoe. Say hi to Melanie for me. Gotta go.”