April 1, 2019

Big Truck


Big truck ran amok and got stuck in the deep sand of the runaway truck ramp—brakes smoking and then giving up the ghost going 40, 45, 50 down the steep incline of Monteagle Tennessee on I-24 among the danger inviting fog, low clouds and misty rain of a November late afternoon...skipping out on the Smoke House lodge...gotta make time...white and yellow lines hypnotic in thier appearance swirling and curling and dancing all over a canvas of dark gray concrete...an occurrence and re-occurrence for miles and miles between dark and dense groups of trees that seem to whisper bad omens in your ears...and swampy ditches on the side of the road and restaurants advertising cooking like Grandma’s but if that’s the case I don’t want any because my Grandma was no cook and she was turning out some sketchy meals in between sips of her bottle of cherry brandy which she called her medicine and kept in a large carafe never far out of her reach in her little apartment...motels offering low priced rooms to the tired and haggard traveler with stiff legs and a stiff back fresh off the interstate down foreboding looking exit ramps weedy and neglected like the towns nearby...old worn out rooms with cracked windows and beaten doors but a bed to rest one’s head for a few hours...people standing outside their doors smoking cigarettes by hazy lights...and walking over to the convenience store across the way to load up on snacks and beer...other signs for long gone hotels and motels or ones with boarded up windows and six foot weeds in front of their signs and stories to tell, and places to eat that had their last suppers long ago before being executed with no pardon from the governor forthcoming...lonesome gas stations with burned out lights and with burned out lonely all night clerks selling beef jerky, beer, pork rinds, baseball caps and condoms...all the necessities...Mountain Dew Code Red to keep the all night drivers awake...old fashioned gas pumps pump pump pump...stations still stuck in some warp of time and mind like when my black friend JJ walked inside and asked where the bathrooms were and was told brusquely “I just cleaned them bathrooms boy!”...now it’s late and I’m dreaming in my sheet too short for the bed hotel room and I’m in my imaginary 18 wheeler, a cabover and I’m barreling down the road and nobody better get in my way or else they better pray...I’m driving all night through the black and the rain and the occasional sliver of moonlight that shines on the pavement...I’ve gotta make Chi-town before 9 a.m. and I’ll have to motor through the ATL, Nashville, Indianapolis...weaving my way through the gray impersonal and glass mountains and the offers of free pecans and then lazy golden fields that exist peacefully and into the South Side...a.k.a. the baddest part of town...maybe I can look up a few friends while I’m there like Mean John, T-Bone, JMo and a few others if their not in Joliet or Marion serving time...or dead...when I was growing up, I wanted to be a truck driver...me and my friend C were gonna get our own truck and become gypsies of the road...our own boss...driving all day and night...but the aspirations of youth often expire for one reason or another...they choke and wheeze or just die quietly and wind up like the abandoned old cars and trucks along the side of the road with sad faces.