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One Saturday Morning in November
Tao of Tony Rooster


Bobby is the guy who trained me my first night on the job. I rode shotgun while he chain smoked Salem cigarettes and drove entirely too fast on the curved and twisted highway that leads from Portland to Tillamook. Dash lights blacked out, trees rushing by, he warned me "don't think YOU can drive this fast on this road. I go this way every night and can do it with my eyes closed."

Bobby was a Vietnam vet, Marine Corps, with a short fuse and a never ending string of girlfriends he met off the Internet. He'd always dump 'em at the first sign of intimacy. "That bitch left her hair brush at my house. Her fucking HAIRBRUSH. You know what THAT shit leads to. I had to tell her 'sorry babe but this just ain't working out', you know? Next thing is a tooth brush, a change of clothes, all of a sudden she's living there. Unh-uh."

Me and Bobby became fast friends. I barely knew how to start a truck, never driven a semi in my life, just basically lied my way into a sweet union job. He'd been driving 40 years, and didn't mind answering my endless questions. I learned a lot from him that night, enough to keep fooling the boss that I was a truck driver, at least.

We both got off around 6 a.m. on Saturdays and would meet up in the employee parking lot. One or the other of us would always have a half gallon of rum and something to mix it with. We'd pour from the back of his pick up and drink out of paper cups. Everyone assumed we were drinking coffee.

One Saturday morning in November we were doing our usual, this time with our buddy Pedro. Bobby gets to bragging about his truck to Pedro. It was a '67 Chevy truck that he put an engine from a 2007 Chevy into. Wired up the computer and everything. It actually was pretty bad.

We finish up our 9th or so drink and he says to Pedro "Lemme show you what this fucker can do."

He burns rubber out of the parking lot and about 5 seconds later we hear boom-crash-bang. Me and Pedro look at each other and spring into action.

Bobby's truck was upside down in the middle of the road. He had hit black ice and then bounced off a tree. There was already a small crowd of looky-loos crowded around the truck and doing absolutely nothing. I take charge.

"Everybody back. I'm a paramedic, get back and let me in here." I go to the back window and whisper, "Hey man! You ok? You hurt?"

Bobby says, "No man. I'm just stuck and can't get out. Are you really a paramedic?"

I tell him, "No. Let's get outta here ."

I reach in the back window and with pure adrenaline squeeze his 200lb weight through the tiny opening of the rear sliding glass.

"I'm taking this man to the hospital," I tell the now dwindling crowd. Bastards were disappointed they didn't get the gore porn they wanted.

By this time Pedro came around with his car and we pour Bobby into the backseat and leave. "Listen," I tell him "you can't go home. The cops will be waiting for you and you can't have that. You got a chick you can hide out with for 12 hours while you sober up? Also, don't answer your phone. They'll be calling pretty soon now."

He tells us to drop him off in St. John's and promises not to go home or answer his phone.

But wait.

It's been maybe 3 minutes since we extracted him.

"Shit. My work bag has that bottle of rum in the cab of my truck. We should get it. Also, my wallet fell out of my pocket and my keys are still in the ignition."

Ok. Pedro drops me back at the upside down truck and I wedge the top half of my body into the damn thing. Find the bag. Find the bottle. Find the wallet. Keys. Can't. Quite. Reach. The. Keys......Got em.

And now I hear sirens. And I'm stuck. Can't get out the back window. So, I guess now I'll just explain to the cops why my drunk ass is in a mangled truck, upside down, bottle of rum in my hands, keys in my pocket? Fuck that. I grunted and strained, and....I'm out.

I stroll away whistling, and am a good 400 feet from the wreck when the Multnomah county cowboys arrive on scene. I made it back to my car without even a cursory glance from the deputies. All's well that ends well, so the story goes. I meet Bobby and Pedro back in my neighborhood, give him his stuff, and finally get home. I stumble through the front door, pick up my forever giggling 6 month old son, hold him out in the air in front of me and say "What in the world are YOU laughing about?"

Dawn in Dindustan

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Narco Night Train Kindle Edition

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Add Comment
Tony RoosterOctober 9, 2017 4:49 AM UTC

Thanks, Bob.
BobOctober 8, 2017 9:44 PM UTC

You've got real talent as a racconteur. A great yarn.