Well, I kinda promised to tell you folks some stories of Mamie’s an’ the characters therein, an’ the trouble they got into too. I got to know ‘em all while me an’ Nadine was OTR for so many years, an’ onct in a while some of ‘em drop by here again.
Last week, who should roll up to the fuel island but T-Dawg McCall, with his cousin Ernie-Earl ridin’ shotgun. T-Dawg always sat on the third stool from the door at Mamie’s, an’ he an’ B.A. Grouseman are good friends. (You’re wonderin’ about B.A.’s initials? Someone claimed they stand for ‘Bad Attitude’ while I figger you can guess at some more.) It took all their years of friendship, though, to rescue a terrible situation a while back.
The way T-Dawg tells it, he walked into Mamie’s an’ B.A. was slumped in a corner booth, staring at his phone. When he sat down across from B.A., all his attention was on the phone – fingers movin’ like they had St. Vitus’ Dance.
“How’s it goin’, B.A.?” There was a big plate of Mamie’s green enchiladas—which she makes with lime and sour cream—in front of B.A. but he hadn’t touched it. (Mamie gets the chili peppers from a little town in New Mexico. She may add a dash of oregano too.)
B. A. shrugged, a small and lifeless shrug, like it was too much effort to do anything more, but he didn’t answer.
T-Dawg reached across the table and put his hand over the smart phone. B.A. looked up with the most life he’d seen in his face yet, something a little more than irritation and not quite murder. That didn’t matter to T-Dawg one way or t’other, but he wanted B.A.’s attention.
T-Dawg said in a don’t-bull-me voice, “Something’s wrong. Tell me it’s none of my business, that’s fine, but don’t shut me out like I ain’t here.”
B.A. insisted everything was okay; the kids all fine, etc. etc.
T-Dawg knew in his bones something was wrong. So he asked, “How’s Dot?” He was best man when B.A. and Dot got married twenty-four years ago.
B.A.’s eyes had returned to the smartphone. “Oh. She’s fine. Making plans.”
“What kind of plans?”
He was glued to the phone. His fingers danced on the keys. “Legal plans. She’s getting a divorce.”
T-Dawg didn’t know what to say. He just stared as a lonely tear rolled off B.A.’s cheek and plopped on his phone. “That’s awful, B.A.,” he croaked, around the big lump in his throat. “You two have always been solid as a rock. What’s wrong?”
“Hell if I know,” B.A. shrugged, more eloquently. “She says I never talk to her, don’t listen, take her for granted. Got a marriage in name only.” He looked at me. “Guess I should be surprised we lasted this long. Truckin’s hard on marriage. You know what the percentage is for truckers who end up in divorce?” His eyes went back to the screen and his fingers flew. “Forty percent higher than the national rate.”
“Just a couple months ago, I saw you two and everything seemed fine,” T-Dawg reminded him.
“I thought we were fine too. Dot means the world to me! You know that. You think I’d let things get this far if I knew something was wrong? This has come out of nowhere!”
“Nowhere? You mean no warning at all?”
“Well, according to Dot, she’s told me plenty of times things were shaky. That’s what she says. I tell her it’s news to me and she said in that case, I needed to get my hearing checked out. So I did. Downloaded an app and checked it out right there in front of her. That only made the woman madder.”
Well, friends, I gotta go help a trucker get the gunk off’n his windshield. We’ll leave B.A. an’ T-Dawg right there ‘til next Friday, an’ I’ll catch you on the flip side.