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Sing With Me If It's Just For Today...
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
Truck stop
Just before I came up on Albuquerque, I pulled into Loves Truck Stop where I could have had my 16-wheeler washed if I had one, but all I was looking for was a quick lunch. Inside to the left was a small store that sold trucker headbands with the stars and stripes, and cans of oil. To the right was the coffee shop divided by a Truckers Only counter, and booths that held vacationers.

I saddled up to the counter, and after seriously considering the beef on egg noodles, I ordered a grilled cheese. The waitress suggested the all-you-can-eat buffet, but it seemed too much work for steam table chicken and iceberg lettuce. While answering some emails on my blackberry, a tall thin man with miles of road on his face sat down two stools away from me. He wore a snapped cowboy shirt and a lazy smile.

“The buffet is $7.95. $5.49 if you’re over sixty-five,” the waitress told him. He ordered off the menu.

“She just had to say that, didn’t she?” He said shaking his head when she walked away. I chuckled, and went back to typing with my thumbs. A couple sat down at the counter facing us; the man was hefty with thick salt-and-pepper hair tucked in his baseball cap, and his lady had bad acne and an expression that looked as if she were searching for a puppy to blind.

“Where you headed?” My neighbor asked me with a thick drawl.

“I’m trying to make Gallup tonight.”

“Oh, that won’t take you long. Where you coming from?”

“Washington DC.”

He shook his head again. “That is one crazy city.” He told me how he got lost with his rig on Pennsylvania Avenue, and that the police weren’t very friendly to him.

“Where were you stationed?” The man across in the cap asked me while a Marlboro Light hung from the edge of his outer lip. The gay inside me gleefully jumped up and down that he mistook me for being in the service.

“I was there on commissioned work,” I wanted to keep it masculine and slightly mysterious. He took a drag off his cigarette.

Just as I said that, the man next to me chimed in, “Look out for the lightning.” I glanced out the window at the cloudless sky.

“I don’t think I’ll have to worry about that today.” I nodded toward the window when I said it.

“It’ll come up behind and git ya.” I spent my grilled cheese wondering what he meant. I finished my sandwich, stood, and threw a couple of bucks on the counter for a tip.

“Drive safe,” I said to the man on my way out.

He looked at me with grim certainty. “Careful bout that lightning. Strikes when you never expect it.”

I left wondering if lightening had once struck him, or if he saw in my eyes that it had come up from behind and got me.


9 comments or Leave a comment
stutts From: stutts Date: July 29th, 2005 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
My dad was born in Albuquerque. It's an okay city, if you like cockroaches and desert.

Don't get struck by lightning.
ridiculicious From: ridiculicious Date: July 29th, 2005 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Is lightening another word for penis? Like rod? Hmmm. How curious.
From: ex_hotlavamo352 Date: July 29th, 2005 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)
You seem so out of place in regional restaurants. It's endearing.
ruralrob From: ruralrob Date: July 29th, 2005 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)
My, you're a good writer, td!
discreet_chaos From: discreet_chaos Date: July 29th, 2005 08:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I went back to see if you ever posted an itinerary. I remembered you mentioning that you were swinging through Illinois, but the desert reference totally slipped past me. When I saw your post from Amarillo, I realized that you'd be passing through Albuquerque, but it seemed like it'd be too early for the night and simply meeting on the road could be too much trouble for a whim. So, I'll just say it now, so things might work in the future; Next time you're passing through Abq give a shout and if we can't grab a drink, perhaps we could get together for a lunch.

As for your truckstop buddy, he sounds like a character. It's a strange way of greeting someone, but you know, storms around here are kind of weird; You can see them coming for quite a long time and you really have no idea of what pinprick they're going to hit, or the wallop they may pack. Radar is some help, but the mountains do effect their course and what may look ominous from a distance may amount to nothing more than wind, when it finally arrives. So, lightning can sort of sneak up behind you, though I'd question the sanity of anyone screaming it from a street corner.

Safe journey and may you soon be home.
privatesector From: privatesector Date: July 29th, 2005 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice to read your most entertaining narrative.

I would have gone with the beef on egg noodles...so much more 'local.'

Keep those postings coming, T.

gray_fluid From: gray_fluid Date: July 29th, 2005 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

you write so well

tedwords From: tedwords Date: August 1st, 2005 12:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Commisioned work, eh? :)
shawnsyms From: shawnsyms Date: August 8th, 2005 09:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, it was Love's Truck Stop, wasn't it?
9 comments or Leave a comment