Saturday, July 28, 2007

TCC: The Eleventh Crumb, Part II

No, I was not after anything illegal. For the kind of ephedrine that I was looking for could be found in its very own display case on (or behind) the counter of almost every truckstop across the land; and even in a great many convenience stores and gas stations, as well.

Nonetheless: I had a deep-seated sense of fear; and it certainly did not do much to calm me down to see that its display case was empty. For by then: I was feeling like I did the first time I ever entered a liquor store and bought a fifth of Seagram's V.O. so that I could be (I thought) more like a man I highly respected in the Joplin, MO area back in 1979 (I think).

Anyway: I had become fairly good friends with one of the girls who worked at the Pilot; and she proved most helpful in my endeavour. For not only did she go in the back and find what I was looking for: she also cautioned me not to take more than 2 pills at a time if I did not want to get the jitters.

Even though I thought that it was very considerate of her to be concerned about my welfare: I knew my constitution. For I have always had to take more (sometimes: much more) of the recommended dosage of everything from aspirin unto prescribed medication to get any good out of the stuff.

Therefore: I popped 4 pills into my mouth and swallowed them down with a big gulp of Mountain Dew (straight out of an unrefrigerated 2 litre bottle that I kept along side a gallon pee-jug in a duct tape-reinforced cardboard box between the seats); and then took-off for glory. I did not even make it unto Needles (around 140 miles east of Barstow on I-40) before I had to lay down and try to sleep some more.

Thankfully: I only slept a couple of hours; and what happened next was absolutely amazing. For I ingested 10 of the ephedrine pills that time; and about 10 minutes later: it felt like every hair on my head was standing-on-end. Then: oily beads of sweat started to ooze out of my forehead; and after that: I could feel my muscles swelling with strength and energy (not so unlike blowing-up an inflatable doll). The icing on the cake was a tingling sensation through-out my body.

In other words: it felt like I really had taken a hit of crank. For I had heard others talk about it; but I had never been tempted to try it myself.

Be assured that nothing had changed. For I saw no benefit unto upping the ante when I already felt better than I ever had before; and there was also: "Look Ma! No jitters!"

It was, however, the beginning of a devoted relationship with the stuff. For without it: I was some kind of special; but with it: I became a super-trucker without any reservations.

A good example of that would be winning a bet with another driver. For he bet that he would have traveled more miles than I the next time we met. Nine days later: I won with 7,932 unto his 6,497; and he really was on crank!

Another example makes the point even clearer. For it involved taking-off from Rogers, AR with a load of Tyson's finest headed for Denver, CO. Then: picking-up a loaded trailer of boxed beef in Liberal, KS headed for Ontario, CA. Then: making 8 pick-ups of produce from Chula Vista, CA (southern suburb of San Diego) unto Salinas headed for Buffalo. Then: picking-up a load of wine in Canandaigua, NY (around 90 miles east of Buffalo) headed for Richmond, CA (around 15 miles north of Oakland). Then: picking-up a load of almonds and cashews from another warehouse in Richmond headed for Rochester, NY. Then: picking-up another load of wine in Canandaigua headed for Richmond. All without a wink of sleep.

No, I did not see where I could be doing any damage; but Sherry did. For she was a LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse): going to school to be an RN (Registered Nurse); and just reading the back of the bottle freaked her out.

Yes, there was a price being paid. For aside from having to take more and more of the stuff in order to keep going: my personality was undergoing a major metamorphosis; and before long: a very disagreeable monster could be seen every time I looked in a mirror.

Not that it really mattered unto me at the time. For I had this dream of having lots of cattle to chase, and horses to fall off of while doing so; and I believed that I was doing all that I could to achieve it before getting too old to really enjoy that kind of life.

A lot sooner than later: my relationship with Sherry had deteriorated unto the point of being more like an uneasy truce between enemies than any sort of a happy marriage even during peaceful exchanges. For she was very unhappy with my state of mind; and getting a letter from an old girlfriend did little to improve the situation.

No, it was not a love letter. Well, not exactly. For it was sent to inform me of the birth of Calvin 2 years earlier.

Talk about being unexpected: I had only been out with his mother a few times; but like they say: it only takes once. It was still good to hear about having a son: nonetheless.

I even got to meet him a couple of months later. For I got a load headed for Kent, WA (southern suburb of Seattle); and that left me only around 45 miles south of where they lived.

Oh yes, Calvin was most definitely my son. For he was as cute as could be; and could charm the socks off of a wino in a back alley.

He was a little on the small side, however; but he had a rough start. For Calvin had to come-out at the end of the second trimester (24 weeks); and weighed only 18 ounces. Hmm, impatience: surely another trait that he got from his old man.

Yes, it can be said that Calvin was a miracle baby in the truest sense of the word; and I will be eternally grateful unto the Children's Hospital in Little Rock, AR for giving an assist. For it was in their Intensive Care Nursery where he had to stay for the first 6 months (I think) of his life.

Just to think: I had been through where they lived just 5 or 6 months earlier on a run unto Surrey, BC (eastern suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia); and it was a memorable trip. For it was the first time that I had ever been in the area (not to mention: the first time across the border into Canada).

There was also this Canadian Border Patrol Officer (I think) who was a stone cold fox (she looked a lot like Shania Twain unto me). That is: at least I thought so until she promised to shoot me on the spot if she found anything that she considered disgusting in my sleeper while she was performing a random inspection; and since she did not shoot me: I suppose that she really was an object to be desired.

Even after all of that: the second trip into the area was so much better. For I was plumb proud to be Calvin's poppa; and I hoped (for his sake) that he got a lot more of his momma's genes than mine.

Alas, again I found myself in a situation where there was nothing sweet about parting. For it was love at first sight.

Speaking of sight: Calvin certainly has a unique pair of eyes. Well, maybe only unto me. For both our's are greenish hazel (blue/green); but where mine are encircled with a band of blue: his are encircled with a golden band, which makes them quite beautiful.

Anyway: it was time to hit the road again; and I did so with renewed determination. For I had gained another to share my dream with.

Perhaps news of Calvin was the last straw (or at least one very near unto the top). For it was only a month or two (I think) after I meet him that I lost Sherry and her daughter; and oddly enough: I got the news when I called her from the cold storage where I was making my last pick-up of pears in Cashmere, WA (around 150 miles east of Seattle).

Some might think that it rude. For when I told Sherry that I would be headed home in less than an hour: she told me not to bother; but I knew where she was coming from.

Yes, I did feel a sense of loss; but to be perfectly honest about it: it was more a sense of relief than anything else that I felt when informed of the impending demise of our marriage. For we had tried hard to make it work; but the divide between us had just grown too wide to span.

No, I was not the only one who was relieved. For Sherry's daughter had hated my guts with a passion since the first time she heard about me; and even attending the Space Camp in Huntsville, AL (something that she really, really, really, really wanted to do) did little to take the edge off of her scorn.

Anyway: I was free to really spread my wings and fly; but when I unfurled them: a bunch of feathers fell out. For it seemed that taking over 50 ephedrine pills a day (over 1,250 mg) was doing a little damage after all; and then my purple rocketship got retired because of having too many miles.

So: I decided to try to do the right thing and go load-up Theresa and Calvin and bring them back to live with me in the state of Misery (Missouri: one of Darrell Greenstreet's favorite quips). For he was my son; and I believed that I could sure use a blessing or two from the Man upstairs about then.

No, they were not forthcoming. That is: at least not in the way that I had hoped. For it is true that I should have been killed when I hit a full grown (and very pregnant) Black Angus cow (easily 800 pounds) broadside while going around 70 MPH just north of New Meadows, ID (around 120 miles north of Boise); and then there was the Wamsutter, WY (around 240 miles west of Laramie) white-out to also consider.

After passing Exit 173 on I-80 (heading west unto my first drop of AAA maps in Salt Lake City): it was like a great white curtain had been drawn across the road in front of me; and I plowed right through it doing 75 MPH. For that was all that piece of junk that I had got stuck-in until my new rocketship (I hoped) arrived could do.

Needless to say: it did not take me long to drastically reduce my speed. For I could not see past the hood of my truck (let alone: where I was on the highway); and I quickly become disoriented (feeling like I have stopped, and/or even going backwards) whenever I encounter blowing snow at night: especially when it appears to be blowing at me.

Yes, I wanted to stop really bad; and I was not the only one. For the radio was going nuts; and every once in a while: someone would say that they actually were stopping. Invariably: someone else would ask them where they were; and my favorite reply unto that was: "If I knew that I would not be stopping!!!"

So: I kept on truckin' at a torrid pace of 15-20 MPH. For I was afraid of getting run over from behind to go any slower.

Thankfully: I caught a glimpse of a reflector now and then; and I knew to scoot-over to the left a bit every time I felt the trailer start to slide into the bar-ditch. For even in 4-wheel-drive (8-wheel-drive actually: with both differentials locked-in) most OTR trucks do not make very good snowplows.

Much unto my surprise: I discovered that I was not as alone as I thought I was during one of my patented "Road Position Adjustment Maneuvers". For I caught sight of the headlights of a little white (of all the colors) car just before my trailer got back in line.

It is a wonder that they did not follow my trailer into the bar-ditch. For there could not have been more than a foot of space between the front of their car and my trailer's safety bumper (a lowered bumper that is meant to help prevent small vehicles from running under trailers in the back; but I knew how they felt. For I had sometimes tried to keep-up with Yellow Freight trucks that had to have some sort of on-board radar system in order to maintain a 58 MPH pace during times when the fog in the San Joaquin Valley (central California) reduced visibility unto less than 30 feet.

Be assured that I have never been as happy to see Point of Rocks, WY as I was that night. For I could actually see it!!!

Yes, the 41 mile "Winter Wonderland Adventure Ride" was finally over. For the cause of the massive white-out was high winds out of the north blowing snow across the road; and a fairly high bluff just outside of Point of Rocks (around Mile Marker 132) put an end unto "Frosty, The Snowman's" fun.

Before putting it to bed for a few hours: I traveled another 25 miles or so; and after finding a place to park at the Flying J Truckstop in Rock Springs, WY (another blessing: to be sure): I jumped out of the cab, kissed the ground, and yelled "thank you" just as loud as I could. For I was very grateful unto God for getting me through such an harrowing experience without a scratch: with the operative word of that statement being "was". For before I laid my head down to sleep: I started to fantasize about what it would be like to hook-up with a Mormon babe or two down there in Salt Lake later that day.

Hey, it was not my fault!!! For I used to wonder if there were any ugly girls in Utah; and after countless hours of contemplation: I came unto the conclusion that there must be. For the reason why I had never seen one yet was because they only let them out at night in places where there were not any illuminating lights around.

Alas, it was all for naught. For my fantasy of finding a "good" Mormon girl to play slap and tickle for a "little" while never happened; and I suppose that was another blessing to be thankful for. For a girl being raised in such a repressive society would have probably eaten me alive after being let out of her gilded cage; but what a way to go.

Perhaps not there; but I was starting to think seriously about going somewhere. For "Jesse James Days" really were over (at least for me) with the advent of the CDL (Commercial Driver's License).

Well, not completely. For I would still try to drive for days without sleep; and I would not balk at an opportunity to make some extra money by sneaking a double load of canned goods (usually over 110,000 pounds gross) down unto El Paso, TX, or over 60,000 pounds of loose potatoes from Monte Vista, CO (around 240 miles southwest of Denver) unto Siloam Springs, AR (around 20 miles west of Springdale), or a double load of rolled aluminum out of Oswego, NY (around 100 miles east of Buffalo) unto Birmingham, AL.

Nonetheless: playing outlaw was just not as much fun as it used to be. For the main reason for the issuance of the CDL's was to clip the wings of chicken-haulers; and it succeded in my case. For I could no longer afford to get any speeding tickets because the points now showed-up: regardless of where they came from.

As if that was not enough: my super-trucker pills were falling down on the job; but I kept giving them chances to redeem themselves. For I would shovel more and more of them: more and more often; and even after digesting 100 pills in 2 hours, and throwing-up mostly blood for 6 hours one night at a rest area near Echo, UT (around 35 miles southeast of Ogden): I remained a loyal customer.

Yes, I had a problem; but not in the way that most would think. For there was not a physical addiction in play; but in all fairness: of what good news is that when you keep thinking that just a few more will do the trick.

No, my disposition was not improving. For the farther I fell behind: the madder (in every sense of the word) I got; and that made for a very pleasent experience for Calvin and his mother (I am sure).

I even have proof! For after stopping by the house one day in the very merry month of May, 1993 (I think): I found them packed-up and gone with the only vehicle still running; and just for good measure: Theresa had called the electric company (obviously before calling the telephone company) and had the meter removed.

By the way: have I failed to mention that I had been seeing "things" for quite some time by then? Yes, I do believe I have; and must do something about that. For they play an integral part in the plan.

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