Truck Suds A truckin’ soap opera
Miles here. We had some reg’lar readers send emails an such, wondrin’ what-all was goin’ on with my blog. Kinda missed it, they said. Thank you kindly for sayin’ that. This’ll be the last blog edition of TruckSuds, though, as Nadine says she’s gonna turn what’s been posted into a ebook, as well as add a lot more stories ‘bout the truckin’ business an’ what happens at a lil’ truckstop in the middle of nowhere. I just knew that was comin’. Ever since she got that ‘You Know You’re Married To A Trucker’ book published by Write Up The Road Publishing, she’s had a bee in her bonnet ’bout writin’ another one. I’ll let you know when it’s published.
But let me fill everbody in on what happened in these last months. Everthing in the world seemed to come at us all at once. We had a tornado swoop down and try to flatten Clarissa’s tiny house back of Mamie’s, an then it ate Mamie’s sign. Luckily, it didn’t do much actual damage, ‘cept it drug everthin outta Clarissa’s closet an threw it out onto the parkin’ lot. There was a bunch of old photos scattered round, an Nadine was helpin’ pick things up when she saw a picture of two cute lil’ girls in pigtails an’ she ast Clarissa ‘bout it.
“That’s me an my sister, Melissa, when we were oh, about six and four, maybe,” Clarissa said. “Don’t know what happened to her – I really miss her. She lit out with a no-good boyfriend – must run in the family – because she got tired of our dad beatin’ on her an Mama when he was drunk. Guess they eloped. Anyway, I never saw her again. I sure miss her, to this day.”
Snakes had stopped for lunch that day – Mamie never lets a lil’ ’ol tornado stop her from feedin’ hungry people, an he took a look at the old photo too. “Hmm. The oldest girl here sure looks familiar. Let me think on this, Clarissa. Maybe we can find your sister.”
Anyway, as expected, once she’d been a state resident here long enough, Clarissa filed for divorce for desertion, among other things, an’ when she told the judge about that scumbag sellin’ her to a friend of his, he hit the roof. Said that was going to be on the record as well, and granted her a restraining order, one that supposedly had some teeth in it.
But of course that evil you-know-what didn’t hold with no order from the court, an when Nadine an me dropped Clarissa off from goin’ to the movies with us, that trash was waitin’ for her in the dark kitchen. She’s a brave girl, an when he stabbed her with a knife, she fought back like a tiger an screamed as loud as she could. Me an Nadine heard her just as we got out of the pickup at our door, maybe 40 – 50 feet away. We ran back as fast as we could, an the scum took off, leavin’ Clarissa in a heap on the floor. She’d been stabbed bad a couple of times, an she lost the baby.
The dirty filth kep’ runnin’ until he was a couple of states away, but Snakes put out a special bulletin with photos. A deputy recognized him at a rest stop, an even though the rotten snake tried to stab the deputy, the law rightfully won that round. Clarissa’s ex surely earned a special place in hell, in my book.
Trooper Snakes was beside himself. “I should’ve known he’d pull something like that! Why didn’t I ask for a lady deputy to be with Clarissa all the time? I know the judges around here – they’d have provided the poor girl with protection.” The last time he was at the counter an still beatin’ himself up, Nadine came over an patted his arm.
“You gotta quit frettin, or you’re gonna have even more ulcers. You’re a top-notch trooper, not a specialist in ‘domestic problems,’ remember? She’s gonna be all right. An now she doesn’t have to keep watch over her shoulder all the time.”
So Snakes felt a little better. “Nadine, you’re a very wise lady, you know that?” He got his hat, nodded to everbody an went out to his motorcycle. (Now, I always knew I had me one smart wife, but don’t tell Nadine I said so.)
Suddenly Snakes leaped off his bike an ran back into Mamie’s. We all thought a wasp had stung him or somethin, but he was yellin’ an askin’ where Clarissa was. “Calm down, Chester,” Nadine said. “She’s on a break right now. Insisted on comin’ back to work already. What’s up?”
“Nadine, please go get her, right now. I may have the best news she’s heard in a long time!” So Nadine scurried around the counter an to the back. Was just a minute an here they both come runnin’.
“What is it, Trooper Snakes – uh, Justus?” Clarissa gasped.
“What was your maiden name, Miss Clarissa?”
“Why – Smith. Just plain Smith.”
Snakes pulled out his phone an’ said, “Hon, you’ve gotta get over here to Mamie’s right now. Bring Trissa too. And hurry!” That ornery trooper sat down at the counter again an wouldn’t say another word, until he jumped up to open the door for his wife an her lil’ girl.
He stood back with the biggest grin any of us had ever seen on his face. “Melissa, here’s someone you’ve been missing for a long time. Clarissa, here’s your older sister.” Well, the whole diner went nuts. Everbody screamed an yelled, an the truckers pounded each other on the back, an both ladies jus stood there with tears runnin’ down their faces until they grabbed each other in the biggest bear hug you ever seen. Mamie turned the sign around to read ‘Closed’ an brought out bottles of champagne – don’t ask – an poured some for all of us. ‘Course Snakes couldn’t have any – he was on duty, after all – but he didn’t care. He scooped Trissa up in his arms and danced with her around the diner, tellin’ her she’d jus found her long-lost Aunt Clarissa. His memory for faces had matched his wife’s features with Clarissa’s, an sure enough, he was right. What a celebration!
Lessee, what else happened? A hot air balloon got pushed the wrong direction by a sudden wind, an’ landed in Mamie’s back parkin’ lot. Caused a stir for a while; T-Dawg an’ his cousin Ernie Earl was tryin’ to figger out how many balloons it’d take to lift a truck loaded with cargo, but they gave up when someone pointed out they’d hafta work all the burners at the same time, to keep the truck level in the air. I won’t name names, but the problem was pointed out by a table of drivers in the corner: Nicky Hammerlane, Lucas Briscoe an Tim Brady sittin’ there havin’ lunch. Durn. I would’ve liked to have seen a big rig fly, you know?
Now comes an even odder part of the story …
Snakes tried to open his eyes and groaned; he couldn’t help himself. His head was beyond hurt.
“Sweetheart? Can you hear me? Are you finally coming around?”
He opened his eyes, squinting against a light that was way too bright. “What – what happened? Where am I?” And who were the three blondes standing in front of him, he asked himself.
“You’re in the hospital. A sinkhole opened up right in front of your accountant’s office and you had just enough time to grab your great-grandfather’s portrait and run out the door before the whole thing slid into the hole. But a beam from the building hit you as it fell, and gave you a terrible concussion. You’ve been unconscious for days.”
“I’m an accountant?” The three blondes merged into one pretty one standing beside his hospital bed.
“The best in the whole state. All your friends and clients have been calling, wondering how you were doing. We’ve been so worried. But now that you’re awake, the doctors will be almost as happy as I am. I told them, ‘Nothing will keep my Ambrose down for long.’ And now you’re going to be fine.”
“You’re Melissa. But – my name is Ambrose?”
“Yes, don’t you remember? You were named after your great-grandfather, who started the accounting office. He was married to your great-grandmother Mamie, who had that little diner on Fourth Street. What – what did you think your name was, sweetheart?”
“That long dream I had – nearly everyone called me Snake – or Trooper Snakes.”
“What a horrible nickname! You dreamed you were a highway patrolman?”
“With a motorcycle.”
Melissa laughed, then apologized. “I’m sorry, sweetie. The idea of you as a cop on a huge bike is just too funny. You hungry?”
“Yes. Yes, I am. I’d like a Double Death by Cheeseburger, an order of Sweet Potato Fries, plus a Triple-Thick Jamocha milkshake. Although no hospital food’s going to taste like that.”
Melissa cleared her throat. “I’ll see what I can do. By the way, you mumbled a lot, off and on. Um – who’s ‘Nadine’ ?”
A couple of weeks later, a rather large box was delivered to the new accounting office. Ambrose was puzzled; he hadn’t ordered anything that wasn’t already delivered. But the box had his name on it, so he took it into his office and closed the door. When he opened the box, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
There was a beautiful, brand new State Trooper’s Smoky Bear hat. And a note: “You deserve this. You really did earn it. With love from Nadine, Clarissa, and Mamie. And admiration from Miles, B.A. and T-Dawg. P.S. Of course, remember we’re just the Fig Newtons of your imagination. None of us are real!”
He put the hat on in front of the mirror in his executive washroom. “Fig newtons? Oh, figments of my imagination …” The hat fit perfectly. It felt – right. He stood a little taller, tilting the hat just so. “Must’ve been in a parallel universe,” he said under his breath, and walked out to the coat rack. He hung his hat beside his raincoat. “Thanks, everyone.”