Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Mag 183

Photo by Steven Kelly

Sponsored by [Magpie Tales]

Going For It
There were times when Dozer sorely wished he could simply clear a path through traffic like he used to do through Monett Cubs, Aurora Hound Dawgs and Mt. Vernon Mountaineers while playing fullback for the Cassville Wildcats during high school.  Oh yeah, those were some glorious days on the gridiron under Friday night lights, and the nickname he was given stuck.

A perfect safety record over the 25 years Dozer had spent behind the wheel of a big rig served as proof that he had resisted the urges to knock rolling roadblocks out of his way, but it had been close a few times.

Oh how he hated the fact that he had taken this load.  For it involved 10 drops of extremely perishable ice cream, and making it even worse was that it was a government load going to different military installations along a route of 1,947 miles.  Every delivery was required to be made exactly on time or face a severe reduction in the transportation price—maybe even the loss of the contract, altogether!

No, there was never enough time allowed for a load like this, and there were no shortcuts to be made once a trucker arrived at the front gate.  Nonetheless, Dozer really didn’t blame the personnel at the military bases.  For with all of the regulations they were required to observe, it can sometimes take over two hours just to drop off a couple of pallets of items, and when it came to foodstuffs, where a much closer inspection of the delivered items is required, a couple of hours is actually rather fast.  Subsequently, lost time had to be made up on the road, and here he was behind a station wagon with Ohio plates 80 miles northwest of Miles City, Montana. 

Refusing the load would have meant having to find another job, but there were at least a dozen other trucking companies desperately wanting to prove just how much they would appreciate Dozer working for them.  However, that was just not his way of taking care of problems.

Besides, someone had to deliver the load.  After all, who knows what kind of war might break out if some general is deprived of his daily allotment of rocky road?

Dozer had no idea what the station wagon was doing so far off of the interstate.  For there was nothing special to see in that particular part of the state, and he certainly would not be on this road if it was not for the few Air Force personnel still assigned to an old Minuteman missile complex around 20 miles farther along the way.

From what Dozer could see, it did not look like anyone in the station wagon was looking to hire on as a ranch hand.  Although, he had seen around 50 miles back where the kids in the backseat might be rather entertaining at sheep riding in a rodeo.  He supposed that one of the adults could be assigned to the Air Force installation, but with kids around, that seemed rather far-fetched.

Oh, but Dozer did know a thing or two about truck driving, and he remembered that there would be a passing lane coming up pretty quick.  With this stretch of the two-lane road running through rolling hills, along with oncoming traffic being fairly steady, it was just too dangerous to try to pass a slow-moving vehicle on a regular part of the highway, but if he could time his running start just right, he could zip his 70 foot-long rig past the tourists without inconveniencing them one little bit.

Jason was really regretting his decision to forego travel on the interstate in favor of taking back-roads so that his family could get the most out of their vacation to the birthplace of grunge rock, Seattle, Washington.  Granted, getting a closer look at the Rocky Mountains sure seemed like a good idea at the time, but there had been no mountains to be seen so far.  Yeah, his wife had tried to convince him that there would not be much for mountains until they reached the western part of Montana, but she was always trying to convince him about something.

At least the kids were finally sound asleep and quiet.  Who knew that boredom has its advantages?

Adding all the more to Jason’s irritation was that big yellow Peterbilt approaching from the rear at a fairly high rate of speed.  When he saw the passing lane, he stayed to the left, and when the truck tried passing them on the right, Jason romped down on the gas.  After all, he and his family were on vacation, and he did not want some tractor-trailer blocking their first view of the Rocky Mountains ahead of them.

Despite seeing such many times over the course of 17 years as a Montana State Trooper, Peter could never quite get used to the sight of the crumpled remains of a family vacation that had went terribly wrong.  It had not taken much of an investigation to determine that this was another case of some yahoo refusing to yield the right of way, which resulted in their vehicle being run over by the trailer tandems of a big rig, and the horrified look on the trucker’s face made it quite clear that he was not at fault.

“No, that guy was not trying to justify anything,” Peter mumbled to himself as he finished writing his initial report.  He wished he could include the reason why the family of four from Ohio was out there in such a desolate place to start with.

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30 comments:

  1. Oh dear, death seems to be playing quite a part in this week's prompt. I enjoyed reading this - I always steer clear of large, long vehicles . . .

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  2. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Jabber!!! That is always a good policy to keep. For there may be an idiot behind the wheel of the big rig, and when it comes to collisions between big rigs and regular vehicles, regular vehicle almost always get the far worst of it.

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  3. i really liked this - and sadly i can see it all coming true too often.

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  4. Thanks for stopping by, my dear TWG!!! Be assured that I have actually seen something similar happen a few times.

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  5. Wow such a vivid and poignant tale. Sigh.

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  6. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Julie!!! Sigh, indeed.

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  7. Don't like those big rigs. Sadly, I know someone this happened to...only he was driving the rig. Devastating. Well done.

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  8. So sad. It happens all the time in all parts of the world. In India it is so so bad. No one follows any traffic rules. For that matter any kind of rule.

    Read my poem and you will know what I mean:

    cries inside the mind

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  9. Though the outcome of your story is hard to digest, the writing is STELLAR!

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  10. It's a well written, interesting tale, Jerry, and as you say about an occurrence which does unfortunately sometimes happen. Thank you for sharing, I've enjoyed reading your post.

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  11. Well-written...perfectly you captured one's interest and imagination...and you perfectly constructed the crescendo....

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  12. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Kim!!! One of the most profound things I have ever heard came through an older gentleman in Conover, North Carolina years ago, which was that dead right does not make much sense when one really thinks about it. He told me this in response to my gripping about how many cars had dove out in front of me, only to slow way down after they had made it, off of entrance ramps to I-40 in the area that day. For in a legal sense, they had a right to do so, but where will they be after getting run over by a big truck that fails to slow down in time? I hope this little tale will help to encourage as many as will to think twice about trying to stand their ground against big rigs.

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  13. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Gautami!!! A few years back, the History Channel produced a show with their Ice Road Truckers trying their hand at driving trucks in India, and I had to quit watching after only a couple of episodes. For the drivers of every other vehicle on the road, included heavily loaded passenger buses, seemed to be daring the trucks to hit them! I hope much of that was due to editing in order to increase the drama of the show, but I have run across several accounts from other sources that seem to indicate otherwise.

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  14. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Helen!!! Alas, it may be all downhill from here. (LOL?)

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  15. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Lee!!! Hey, I have been trying to convince you of just how perfect I truly am for quite some time! (LOL?)

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  16. As I was reading this I was wondering how much of this came from personal experience.
    A good story

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  17. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Ann!!! Well, my parents would not let me play football. Sigh.

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  18. Damn! I'm such a slow learner...so slow on the pick-up! ;)

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  19. Thanks for stopping by again, my dear Lee!!! Be assured that you are forgiven. For part of being perfect is being tolerant of those somewhat less than so.

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  20. Jerry, Thanks for the mention on your last post! Things have gotten real busy again and I'm running way behind on responding to comments.

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  21. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Beach Bum!!! Be assured that I understand.

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  22. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Sharon!!! I don't know how I missed your comment before, but it is up now. Anyway, I am really glad you enjoyed this.

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  23. Montana is such a long way from Ohio...excellent write...

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  24. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Tess!!! Yes, in a number of ways--both good and bad.

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  25. A sad but all too often true event....although I've not read one quite so interestingly put!

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  26. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Helena!!! Be assured that I greatly appreciate the encouragement.

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  27. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Pooga!!! Be assured that all of the credit goes to my Editor.

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  28. Oh, how sad. How sad that the father/driver could not bother to put his family's safety first. Now, they paid the price for his pride and stubbornness.

    Well done. :-)

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  29. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Mywordwall!!! Yes, and in all fairness, there are far too many idiots behind the steering wheels of big trucks, too.

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