RSS

Category Archives: bad drivers

Sunday Trucker Mother F*cker

semitrucks[1]

This is a story inspired by a technical school class I am taking. The following is a true story and everyone involved is now dead. The name of the school is not revealed to protect the guilty.

Ross looked out the window of the truck and saw the remains of a squirrel, squashed flat as a pancake, and for a moment the life of that poor animal flashed through his mind; its desperate hunt for nuts as the days got colder, its incessant movements and struggle for survival as the nights grew longer and the days grew shorter, drawing nigh up to its last precious moments on this world as it stared wide-eyed into the oncoming lights of a car that barreled down the road at him, taking his life. A lone tear leaked from one eye and he massaged his temples lightly, trying to rub away the dizziness that overcame him nearly every morning for the last several weeks, his cold fingers trying to bring clarity to a mind that was becoming increasingly confused, muddled.
“Where do I turn next?” his partner, an obscenely fat man with an unusually high voice asked him, and he turned away from the window and met the other’s eyes. The fat man’s name was Richard, and for better or worse the instructors at the not-for-profit semi-truck driving school had coupled them up, no pun intended. While one of them drove the other navigated, and they went back and forth like this while they learned.
Ross glanced at the directions attached to his clipboard, a sentiment of ennui bristling through him like an arctic breeze. He’d been feeling more and more detached with every passing week, had felt the icy ache in his brain becoming a vast, empty hollow. He looked at the piece of paper without seeing it, then placed the clipboard on the floor of the truck.
“Take a left at Roehmer and head toward I-41,” he said flatly, an odd, vacant cadence to his otherwise usually animated voice.
“I don’t think this route takes the freeway.”
“Yes it does.”
The fat man looked at him questioningly but did as he was told, putting on his turn signal and moving over into the other lane when it was safe to do so. Cars whipped by at a frenzied pace as commuters went about their day, rushing from here to there. When they reached the sign for the on ramp Ross pointed toward one of them and said:
“Take 41 south.”
“I don’t think that is on our route-”
“Take it!”
“O-okay…” Richard answered hesitantly, creeping up toward the ramp, dropping into a lower gear. As he rolled around the corner he stole another glance at his partner and wasn’t sure what he saw there. “Are you okay?”
“Fine,” Ross murmured thickly, avoiding the other’s eyes. “Just watch the road.”
Every night for the last several months Ross had been awakened after only a couple hours of sleep by his arm or leg or hand or foot or shoulder jerking, spasms that left him completely awake. After about an hours time and he was about to drift off to sleep again another twitch would awaken him, and it would go on like this for the rest of the night. His sleep was gradually whittled down to approximately one or two hours a night, until last week, when the jerks started as soon as he closed his eyes. In the past seven days he’d had no sleep; his eyes looked hollowed out, his cheeks sunken in. When he spoke there was no life to his voice.
“You don’t look so good.”
“Just drive.”
The exit for College Avenue passed, then the one for Prospect.
“Which exit is it?”
The routes they’d been given weren’t that complex. Normally they went a few miles down the highway, exited, and then turned around and went back to the school.
“We’re going to try a more advanced route.”
“I’ve only been signed off for routes A through D.”
“You’re a big boy, I think you can handle it.”
Richard looked at him, his large brow furrowed, a frown creasing the folds of his cherubic face.
“We’re going off-route.”
“I’ll tell you when to turn.”
Another exit passed, and then another. Soon the downtown area was behind them and they were hitting the open road.
“Ross-”
“Quiet,” he said softly, massaging his temples. “I know what I’m doing.”
And he did all right, he most certainly did. It wasn’t an idea that had just come to him, no, it had formed over the course of the last week, all those restless nights while he couldn’t sleep, turning over and over in his mind like a giant, slimy worm, flopping around and around and around until he decided to do something about it.
Because, for the sake of the class, he wasn’t supposed to know, no one was. Finding out had been an accident, one of those things that just happened.
“You’re scaring me,” the fat man whined in a voice that was higher than usual.
“Okay,” Ross said at last. “Take the next exit.”
“Thank God,” Richard breathed and for a second Ross wondered why the man listened to him; surely he could have turned this thing around long ago if he was that worried, but he was such a spineless degenerate that he couldn’t do anything on his own…well, almost anything. He did manage one thing, a singular, compulsive act that was sickening and terrifying, something that made Ross’s guts churn.
The ramp lead to a rural road, a cornfield on one side, a soy field on the other.
“Take a right.”
“That doesn’t lead back to town-”
“Take a fucking right!”
“Fine!” Richard wheezed, his jowly chops shaking like gelatin, “but if anyone asks this wasn’t my idea!”
“I’ll take full responsibility,” Ross assured him, turning now to face him, “just like you have to do.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know what I mean.”
“I’m afraid I don’t.” Richard squinted his eyes, looking at him perplexedly. “Are you sure you’re all right?”
“Never better,” Ross said. “Turn here.”
“I’m not even sure this is on a truck route-”
“Take a right turn now!”
“Okay!” And he turned the wheel hard, the semi wheels almost coming off the ground for a second as the awkward turn was executed at an unsafe speed. “Have you lost your mind?”
“No more than you.”
After he’d stumbled upon the old newspaper article his appetite was reduced to a shadow of his former self, that in tandem with the sleeping problem, which had come up entirely upon it’s own. But the two together…not only could he no longer bear to live, he knew this piece of shit beside him didn’t deserve to either. And he’d see to it, that was for sure. It all culminated to today.
“How could you do it?” he asked in a low voice, not really sure if he wanted to hear the answer.
“Do what?”
“She was only nine years old for Christ’s sake! You know you ruined her life, right?”
Richard’s massive head swung toward his, his eyes comically wide.
“How did you know that?”
“It ain’t exactly a secret buddy. Do the instructors know?”
“No one at the school knows…”
“Was it worth it?” Ross demanded, leaning closer and placing his foot over the others, pressing down on the fuel pedal.
“What are you doing?” The fat man’s voice was reedy, petulant. Fear showed in his eyes, emanated in waves from him like a foul odor, yet he clung to the wheel desperately.
“What the law didn’t, I suppose.”
“I did my time! I paid for what I did!”
“You can’t unfuck a child Richard!” Ross screamed in the other’s face, spittle flying from his lips. “You can’t take that kind of thing back!”
“Are you crazy? You’re going to get us both killed-”
And then it dawned on the fat man, clarity like a light bulb going on in a very dark room.
Good God, no…”
Over the hill down the road a piece was a stretch of the East River that was deeper and faster than the sedate portion that passed through town. The bridge that spanned it was old, the wood and cement a product of a bygone era, one that spoke of better times when men were men and women were women and little kids didn’t have to be afraid of their lecherous uncles, their unwanted advances, their sloppy, unwelcome drool that spilled over fat lips that looked like two slugs humping…
“Oh God, yes,” Ross confirmed, and by the time they hit the bridge and he spun the wheel the truck was doing better than seventy. As an airplane tore the sky above them to shreds and the miracle of life bloomed in every leaf, the sun burning hotly upon the trees with a fervor that was almost religious in it’s fanaticism he thought: here’s to the new day. And then the truck suddenly became airborne.

 

Tags: ,

Welcome To Southern California; Love It Or Leave It Douchebags!

images[10]

I moved to San Diego from the Midwest a decade ago, and I still can’t get over some of the things I’ve experienced over the years. I live north of SD, in the burbs, and up here the folks are very well off. Let’s put it this way: up here, you’re either rich or you’re poor, poor being anyone who makes less than $40,000 a year. Anyone who makes a pitiable $35,000 is eligible for heat assistance! So you are either rich or you work for the rich people. I suppose it could be worse. By working for them I was able to write my debut novel The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World. Yet with money there is a natural breakdown of what ‘normal’ folks would call civilized behavior. These wealthy douchebags own leased Beamers, Mercedes, Porches, Audi’s, Corvettes, Hummer’s etc. and drive like they own the road and they’ve written the traffic laws themselves. Red lights? Pish-posh. Speed limits? Not here my friend. I’ve lived all over the U.S. and I’ve never seen so many effed-up auto wrecks in my life. Seriously! You know those cars chases in Hollywood movies that seem so unrealistic? Well, they get all their ideas by watching these buttholes drive. First month I was here I saw a woman drive her car off of a twelve-foot embankment and land upside down in a (fortunately) low-tide lagoon. What happened next? People stopped their cars, got out…and took pictures with their phones! I think I’m the only one who called 911. Honestly, one morning I’m driving along El Camino Real and I see a waterspout gushing a hundred feet in the air. Some dillhole took out a fire hydrant! Every morning on Interstate 5 there is a major, five-car pile-up in which at least three people are seriously hurt. How could this happen? Well cheese and crackers it don’t take a genius to know that you gotta let off the gas and use the brake once in a while. I could go on and on but what the hell would it matter…
And where else could I start and profitably maintain a pet sitting/dog walking business in which the majority of my clients treat their pets better than children in third world countries? While little kids with bloated stomachs are eating grubs and being swarmed by flies in some faraway craphole, I’m opening up can after can of cat food for some overweight feline who can’t decide if he wants the tuna or the salmon delight. He’ll then eat half (or a third) and I’ll throw the rest away, thinking about all the hungry kitties in China. The gardeners and the cleaning ladies who commute from Tijuana just can’t get over the fact that my clients and I make such a fuss when one of the spoiled pets has the runs or vomits and is rushed off to the veterinarian. Hell, in their country, the dogs are covered in ticks and fleas and are walking around half-starved, eating out of garbage cans. They’re lucky if they can bring their freakin’ children to the doctor if they’ve been throwing up or have diarrhea, much less their pets.
As an example: I was walking a dog that had been attacked by another dog and suffered severe nerve damage in one rear leg. Hence, when she walked she dragged the limb (until her owners got her a brace). A gardener I walked by commiserated. He said: “Is broken, yes?”
I tried to explain that it was nerve damage but we had a language barrier. No matter what I said, he didn’t understand. So finally I agreed. “Yeah, it’s broken.”
“You get splint,” he advised and I nodded, nodded as I slowly backed away from him. But I understood full well how he thought: in Tijuana their dogs would walk around with broken legs and no one would give it a second thought. Eventually the limb would become necrotic or septic or succumb to gangrene and would need to be amputated. In most cases the dog would simply be put down. He probably thought he was being really kind, offering me the advice. And he was, in his own way. Should I have been angered that he thought I was so stupid I’d let my dog walk around on a broken leg? No, there’s no point. I actually had a client (a white couple) who did just that. Their cat broke a limb and the night before I showed up to pet sit they called me and told me Junior had a limp but it was nothing to worry about. Yeah, it was broken, had been for two weeks. Yes, it was necrotic. Yes, it had to be amputated. These people were white and rich and incredibly stupid. Sh*t happens.
So come on out to sunny Southern California! If you make less than $50,000 a year there’s a good trailer park I’ll point you in the direction of, and places where you can get food stamps and discount clothing. Don’t worry that a gallon of milk is $9.00 or gas is $6.66 for regular unleaded. You got the sun, the beach, and the palm trees. Find yourself in California my friends!

 

Tags: , ,