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TruckSuds : Shady in Red

Mamies Gas-Up & Go Cafe'

a truckin’ soap opera – Miles Wheeler

This here’s one of my favorite B.A. stories. Nadine says she doesn’t believe it, but I do – an’ T-Dawg wouldn’t tell a whopper, unless you catch him in it.

When I walked through the door of Mamie’s Gas-Up and Go Café, I heard B.A. Grousesman’s unmistakable bellow, “Hey, T-Dawg! Come light a spell!”

But then I clutched the door frame for support as a huge woman with a three days’ growth of beard turned towards me. She? was seated at the counter, in B.A.’s spot. But who – or ? She patted the seat beside her. “C’mon and sit. The ‘Death By Triple Cheeseburger’ is really good today.”

I gasped some air into my lungs and tottered toward the counter. “B.A.?”

“Yeah,” he waved at a waitress. “Deep-dish Apricot Cobbler, with a double scoop of ice cream on top, and plenty more coffee, please.”

“Won’t that ruin your figure, B.A. ?”

He glared at me. “Don’t get smart. I expected you, T-Dawg, of all people, to sympathize.”

“Sympathize? What did you do now?”

“Well, actually, I oughta sue the Daily Dirtsheet for publishing that story about the well-known Senator who’s havin’ a sex-change operation.”

I carefully set my coffee cup back down on the counter. “What does that have to do with you wearing a dress?”

“Snake caught me going too fast in a construction zone.” B.A. greedily eyed my serving of cobbler. “You gonna eat all that?”

I inched my dish a little further from his reach. “So Trooper Justus nailed you again, huh? And?”

“He wanted to know why I was drivin’ so fast, was I channeling Evel Knieval or what – I was tryin’ to think of somethin’ an’ I looked around my cab and saw my latest Daily Dirtsheet. So I told him I was in a rush to get to my doctor’s office to sign papers to get a sex-change operation.” He just gave me that cold stare of his an’ then said, “Well, that’s the most creative excuse I’ve heard from you, Grouseman. Since nobody got hurt with you roaring through the zone, I’ll just majorly fine you, instead of jail. But the next time I see you, you’d better be wearing a dress.”

Poor B.A. I laughed so hard I choked on my cobbler. “You know better than to speed through a construction zone. Every trucker learns that the first day of trucking school. It’s because so many construction workers get killed on the job – it’s one of the most dangerous jobs in America!” I was warming up to one of my favorite sermons- uh, speeches, when B.A. cut me short.

“I always give ’em a blast on the horn when I start through.  Ain’t like I’m there with no warnin.’ But I haven’t seen Snake in two weeks, an’ this dress-wearin’ is gettin’ old.”

“B.A., why don’t you just pay the fine? And then drive sensibly for a change? Follow the posted speed limit on the construction zone. Stay in your lane, no matter how small they’ve had to make it. When you see them moving heavy equipment around, be extra watchful. And always, always look for any construction workers on foot – one could slip and fall in front of your tires. If you look ahead, you maybe can get that rig of yours stopped before you squash the poor guy – or gal.”

B.A. sat and thought for several minutes. “You’re right, T-Dawg. I know better than to run too fast in them zones. Hell, my brother-in-law used to work on a road gang. ‘Course he was wearin’ a striped shirt an’ pants at the time, but we won’t mention that. Uh – can I borrow a couple hundred? I’ll pay you back.”

I sighed and fished out my wallet. “My wife was expecting me to come home with gallons of paint to re-do the whole house, you know.”

“Aw, I’m sorry about that. Tell Barb I’ll pay you pay as soon as I can – an’ I’ll come help paint, how’s that?”

“It’s a deal, B.A. But do me a favor – don’t get the money for the paint back to me until summer, okay? I want to catch up on my TV shows, and I can’t do it with a paintbrush in my hand.”

“You got it. You know, I’ll be glad to get out of these heels. Too hard to get the clutch in.”

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