I wrote this story for Ms. Rose’s Prompt Miscellanea and kinda liked it but thought it needed a little editing. I had a few drinks and commenced to change it. Man, did I get that backwards. I’m supposed to write drunk and edit sober – not the other way around. Oh well, enjoy!
It had been a pretty slow night. A couple of short hauls was all I had gotten and I was at the tail end of my shift, driving in a holding pattern down by the south county line when the radio barked.
“Dannnnniel, a karumph en abeetle-anjo aro krisobongen.”
I picked up my mike and keyed the talk button, “Roger dispatch, I’m on my way.” I hit the brakes and cranked the wheel hard to the left. Roxanne bounced hard across the sandy median and crushed a few cresote bushes in the process.
Roxanne is my truck. She’s a yellow boom truck with blue flames, and she’s never failed me yet. Roxanne was also my Momma’s name. I’m fond of the name ‘Roxanne’, I was fond of my Momma, and I’m head over heels in love with my boom truck.
The message on the radio was from Elaine, our dispatcher, telling me that there was a call out on the scanner and that the troopers needed a hook and chain or a boom truck at mile 78 on Hwy 43. Elaine has a bit of a problem with the bottle and has been known to drink all day and all night for several days running. That can make it pretty hard to understand her from time to time, but I’ve been working with her long enough that I can usually decipher what she is trying to say. Sometimes when she goes on one of her three or four day benders, Fast Eddie has to tell her to take a few days off. That doesn’t happen too often though, maybe once or twice a month. The rest of the time she’s good.
I got to Hwy 43 and watched one of Reynoso’s trucks lugging a ’85 model ¾ ton pickup that looked like it had rolled a couple of times. That would’ve been a sweet tow but I just didn’t get there fast enough. I let Elaine know that I had missed the job.
“Awichhiwa,” she told me, “Engletop begninamin tre.”
“OK, Elaine.” I said and pulled onto 43 heading toward Pleasanton. I knew from her message that I needed to go to the strip mall at the edge of town. The one with the Adult Novelties shop, the Accident Lawyer and the Laundromat. When I pulled into the parking lot there were a couple of kids standing outside the lawyer’s office. His window was drawing people in with promises of a quick divorce, an easy bankruptcy or a huge settlement on their accident case. The kids were beckoning me to come over there. They turned out to be a couple of skinny kids with long, greasy hair, probably still in High School, and when I pulled up the really skinny one tentatively approached Roxanne’s window.
“Hey, man,” he said, “I really need a rack of whites. My friend Andy Juarez told me that if I ever needed drugs I should call a tow truck. Andy says all you recovery drivers sell drugs from the cabs of your trucks. What do you want for a rack of whites?”
I looked up towards the East and watched the first ribbon of sunrise brighten the horizon and took a deep breath.
“Hey man, the whites? How much?” the skinny little pock marked boy asked again.
I leaned down from my window and pointed at the sunrise. “Yo, little vato,” I said to the kid, “check it out. Colors!”
He looked at the brightening sky as I slipped Roxanne into Reverse. “Whoa,” the kid said and he was still watching the sun as I pulled out of the parking lot.
I picked up my Mike and keyed the talk button, “Elaine, this is Daniel. I’m coming back to the barn. There’s no action this morning.”
“Kelbroe, tsingjan.” She replied and I drove silently into the dawn back to the yard. I was going to sleep good today.