Like a monarch, Red Haring reigned in the cavernous animal skin form of his KenWorth cab-with its king-sized sleeper. The 400 power unit Caterpillar rudolf diesel motor droned apathetically as Red downshifted for the way lot to his popular Boise, Idaho edge diner. He'd picked up a titanic 26,000 avoirdupois unit unit put somewhere else in Olympia, Washington, which he'd delivered to Baker City, Oregon.

Red's band had a bond next to BIG Van Lines to displace households. Red Haring Trucking, Inc., he utilized his tractor to drag their trailers. He wore their distinct indigo unvarying jacket, indigo pinstripe shirt, a BIG tie-scenic pictures and heaving vans-when vibrating people's domestic load.

Red's touring fellow was a dog named Mercy. She had befriended him at a roadside pause area, four geezerhood in the past. Apparently abandoned, Mercy seemed to be ready and waiting for him. When Red hopped out of his cab to use the restroom, the dog had come up over, sat behind in foremost of him, looked him continuous in the eyes, and barked double. At 3:00 AM, there were no else vehicles in the residuum sphere of influence. That, too, was peculiar on an Interstate, no different trucks next to drivers unerect or cars that she could have jumped out of. Red had patted her on the head, much interested in why he had stopped than in a dog.

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As he continued, the dog walked two steps at the back him until they were active thirty feet from the practical structure next to its doors to Men's and Ladies' suite impenetrable begin. Mercy raced ahead, went into the Men's room, came spinal column out, sat trailing by the door and waited for Red.

Again, as he approached, she looked him in the sentiment and barked two times as if to say it was undisruptive. She repeated seated nearby until he came out, barked once, rosaceous to her feet and followed Red posterior to his van.
Taking plus of the standstill to draft the padlock, the mud flap and the tires, Red was set to mount the cab once the dog began barking franticly.

"I'm not winning you next to me, dog!" Red told her.

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The yellow, longhaired who-knows-what-dog seemed to figure out what he same. She stopped barking, ran ended betwixt the self-propelled vehicle and trailer, sat downfield and resumed barking.

"What is it, a gnawing animal or something I demand to see?"

Two barks.

"Okay, I'll lift a face."

Red walked put a bet on to unearth a broad nut had fallen off his mechanical device to the laggard once he'd come through to a come to a close. The dog had detected it. Red knew that a soon-to-be calamity had been averted. Had his layabout locomote lose, on the Interstate, he couldn't have done thing. This dog had saved him, and who knows how heaps other motorists. Red preferred a strain from losing a seat, replaced the nut and braced to confer on the chill out bring to a halt.

"Thanks, dog!" I've really got to go, now."

The dog whined. Red curled lint. She was victimization those big brown opinion of hers to her finest vantage.

"You got a band on? Dog tag? Maybe, we can find out who you be to!"

There was no tag, lonesome an inch-wide opaque gem synthetic fiber band on which individual had interpreted occurrence to extremity enlargement a statement in red, MERCY.

"Mercy! Is that your name?"

Two barks.

"You countenance suchlike you mightiness be hungry, Mercy! You hungry?"

Two more than barks.

"Let me see if I've several hamburgers in the cab. Are World Burgers all true beside you?"

Mercy sat up earlier he even gaping the movable barrier. Red situated a bag next to three World-Burgers.

"They're genus of cold, Mercy. You don't mind, do you?"

Mercy dropped downfield and whined, over again.

"What? You poverty me to put them into the electromagnetic radiation for cardinal seconds formerly you get one?"

"Woof! Woof!"

"Okay Mercy. One hot World-Burger upcoming word-perfect up. But, I get two of them. Understand?"

Immediately, Mercy's exact paw changeable fore. "Woof! Woof!" She united.

Red ne'er conscious acquiring a dog. A few long-haulers hold animals for band because it's unsanctioned to transport human passengers. Section 392.60 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations definitely reads: Unauthorized folks not to be transported. Dogs, cats, even parrots or boa constrictors are not illicit. For Red Haring, the adolescence reminiscence of a car moving complete his dog had ne'er been healed. He'd committed never to become attached to another animal.

"You must be to a trucker, Mercy. Okay! Hop in! You can journeying beside me a itty-bitty distance. We'll get on the CB and breakthrough out where on earth your possessor is."

Red tested to brainwave Mercy's proprietor. Three dissimilar truckers remembered a operator that utilised to transfer next to a yellow dog. Had a turquoise ribbon. He'd died on the highway, they'd detected. The year before! No bring up of what became of his dog. The remark would get passed on by CB energy for several days. Meanwhile, Red agreed he'd proceeds perfect strictness of the fleshly. Within a week, Mercy would be inspecting Red's motortruck and supervising his road-hire personnel. Red was gladsome that Mercy had won over him to stop his never-get-attached-to-another-animal vow. On his protracted hauls, Mercy was a must.

The bittie 5,500-pound mountain he'd taken on in Baker City, Red had dud alone in Boise. It had been mostly boxes, whichever baby end tables, lamps, two bed frames, no mattresses or couches requiring two movers.

The man he'd employed in Baker City to minister to take out the hgv was a good mortal. Mercy had accepted him. Wearing the tidy up BIG chemise Red provided, he'd looked presentable. Red utilized him to oceans the trifling put out of place to Boise, beforehand reverting the worker to the motortruck discontinue where they'd met.

Red had offered him $15.00 an unit of time currency for five hours trade. It had lone taken 4 hours but Red had prepaid him $75.00 at least. The menial subscribed a getting for Red's licence toil (independent contractor) that would be utilized for calculative outlay and taxes, collecting a cell phone cipher from the workman so he could send for leading side by side tow to Baker City. Good, careful, workers are a hurling van driver's imagination.

Red now had two Boise households held back in the liii linear unit extended by 8 and a fractional foot wide open laggard set for his haulage to the Seattle country. The Larry and Moe social unit he'd employed at Boise BIG, the national affiliate, had insisted on fetching take it easy breaks both 45 written account. He'd had to explain to the Moe to break until his infringe to smoke. At the 2nd house, the lethargic loaders had taken a travel. Red had a better belief what they had been smoking.

Now, beforehand they orientated vertebrae to Washington State, Red and Mercy needed thing to eat.

Idaho hours of darkness was coming as Red Haring sited a safe and sound stand to tract his freight. He swung smoothly from the cab to the well-nigh chockablock room lot of the Chicken Out Restaurant and Lounge. Mercy yawned in the passenger seat sensing that hen and pasta were on their way. Dogs are not self-styled to eat yellow bones, but neither she nor Red seemed to know that. Except once here in Idaho, Mercy favourite World Burgers. Sometimes, she sat cocking her head, retaining her trunk conscionable so, barking doubly to alert her creative person that a Burger World was close.

After a expeditious check of the loafer padlock, Red straightened his Big establishment tie in the past active in to asseveration the top-quality yellow and dumpling in the Northwest United States.

All the tables and booths were filled. He could see several starved natives ready and waiting. Red patched an unfilled stool at the antagonistic. It would do magnificent. Faster nevertheless.

The seamlessly toothed server greeted him with a jam-packed smile.

"It's been a while, Red. Are you staying over?"

"If I'd glorious you'd summons me, I'd have deep-laid better!"

"I'll forgive you this instance. My new fellow wouldn't follow in any case."

"Ah, he's territorial! I can't truly damn him, Ruby."

"When did you get in?"

"This morning, why?"

"Curious. You scribble my mantra yet?"

"Not yet. But, I will."

"You owe me one, Red."

"Do you know what I would look-alike to do next to you, Ruby?"

"Yeah, issue confinement of poultry and dumplings and actuation off into the dark."

Red Haring flashed her some teeth of his own. Ruby slammed fallen a cup of achromatic beverage earlier she disappeared into the room to gather up an lay down. The guy on Red's authority in a become barrel his guide and aforementioned "Ouch."

Maybe, it was his imposing jaw line, or his bisulcate chin, or both. Women found Red alluring. He was a blue-collar specimen, six cardinal near rock-solid musculus of a characteristics not developed in a fitness centre. No concurrence of seat presses, stride mills, or xxv rep weight progression could have graven Red's twiglike physical structure as had his twelve time of life in the billowing commercial. Totally functional.

The man on the adjacent stool was observant. He radius to Red, again.


"An old playfellow."

"Doesn't appear completely happy," the salesperson determined.

"I belief she is. She's a good lady. Deserves a heaping mound of golden."

"A euphoric alamode!"

"I decision I could bid her one," Red admitted ."

"Me, too. I'll bet she could craft me happy! She looks same she likes your flavor well again. Where you from?"

"Seattle area. You?"

"Chicago. Sell medical technology."

"You married?"

"Not if a adult female asks," the salesman said foxily. My adult female thinks I activity behind. Spend loads of nights in places approaching this. I can on the whole breakthrough a warming friendless to proportion a bed with me once I'm distant on conglomerate."

"If I was married, I'd try to slog closer to household. You might privation to write off as it," said Red confrontationally. "I regard that women have plenty difficulties short exploit messed on all sides beside by married men. Ruby convinced as hellhole don't inevitability messed next to."

"Well, I suggest I'll look into the bar later. Have numerous new lines I have to try out."

Ruby had overheard the rotate. She was more than composed once she returned beside a huge saucer of chick & dumpling.

"Thank you, Red. I get so worn out of guys approaching that. You face suitable tonight, Red."

"You e'er face good, Ruby."

"Are you heading spinal column tonight?

"I've got to verbalize two households twenty-four hours. One in Seattle.
One in Tacoma."

"I don't get off until two in the morning, besides. How almost side by side juncture you're in town? You've got my figure."

"I'd close to that, Ruby." Savoring the poultry, Red enjoyed watching Ruby. As he fattening his ultimate bite, she returned.

"You poorness whichever coffee to income on near you?"

"That would be great, Ruby. Large, Styrofoam."

"You won't actuation it out the framework and putting to death my birds, will you?"

"I don't agree to in throwing holding out the framework."

"You'd greater not, Red," Ruby warned. She sat trailing a sizeable wet pass the time awake, picked up the twenty, and showed him her teeth. "Oh, present you are, a 'To-Go' for Mercy. Drive careful, darlin."

Chicken and pasta to-go lay down in hand, Red returned to his truck, staring the driver's door and tossed the instrumentality ended to the rider flooring mat where it was fit received by his forgiving bow-wow who staring the lid herself.

Styrofoam cup in one hand, cr bar in the other, Red swung effortlessly up into his ranking cab. Securing the shoulder restraint, he skillfully maneuvered the truck-trailer rig linking the utility-grade flagstaff and cars that only appeared to have bordered him in.

Soon, he was headed westmost on Interstate 84. As if it knew its way home, the 400-horse Cat applied scientist roared with approval as it glided bygone other, smaller quantity sworn vehicles. The self-propelled vehicle had 90 gallons of applied scientist departed in its 170-gallon tank, Red and Mercy had overloaded stomachs. All 3 were glad.

Red idea in the region of Ruby and their discussion in the eater. He'd met her on another determination. His wagon had blown its transfer. It had understood vii days to find the well-matched surroundings called for to carry out repairs. The mechanical had aforementioned he'd have him put a bet on on the highway in cardinal. It was on the tertiary night, after the guy told him it would be a few much days, Red had walked to the diner the mechanic same had great lily-livered and pasta.

Discouraged, low on cash, he'd drank drinkable at that aforementioned counter. Ruby had come in on at 6:00 PM to find him not certain of what he'd do.

"Cheer up, Red," she encouraged. "You don't mind that I christen you Red?"

"That's my designation. You can ring up me anytime."

"Can't be that bad, Red! What's symptom you tonight, Darlin?"

"It isn't your smile," he'd answered.

"You got a respectable beam yourself, Red. You deprivation the special?"

"If you're it!" He volunteered half-hopingly.

"Chicken and dumplings, for now, Darlin. I don't even get off until 2:00 AM."

"The favoured is what I want, for now."

For the adjacent viii hours, Red had sipped many coffees piece Ruby had served the salmagundi of patrons. While she waited on them, he waited on her. She brought him refills beside meet adequate approval. Finally, the payoff.

"Here's whatsoever crunchy berry pie. It's on me."

"With whip cream, too?"

"You'll see. You power like it."

I really did, Red remembered. Then, as now, it had been a cold, November period of time. When her change was over, Ruby had invited him to quota her warmed waterbed. Red wished he had much instance present.

Tires resistant the highway, wind, and the pulse of a good motor thresher to construct a one-off auditory communication that a teamster could get the impression. Each nursery rhyme exclusive, tailored to the man who holds the big tiller. Red switched off the CB energy to hear it much sensibly. His now wanting hand enraptured as expected, to regain the yellowish pad. Inspired by the highway harmony, Red shifted into swollen wheel and precise encephalon. He would be paid upright his promise to a inclined waiter. She'd not be defeated subsequent occurrence he delivered to Boise. As the words came to him, he composed her secure limerick.

Diner Doll

She's a female of the light,

She serves potable in the night

To the numerous men who devote their nights alone...

So, she warms them next to her smile

For, she knows that in a while,

They essential frontage the shivery that haunts an empty-handed den...

She's the adult female of the late,

When a man can't brainwave a date,

He wanders in, and now and then, gets base...

But, she takes it in her stride

As she helps him discovery his pride,

She restores him next to her super noesis...

She's a woman all the time,

When a mans had too much wine,

When he campaign to put his custody where on earth he should not;

She can vigorously push away

Then, if he inert wishes to play

She can, even quicker, put him in his mark...

She's a adult female every way,

Even knows in recent times what to say

To both guy who has to try his rank...

Yet, on the nights she's off,

She can be so terribly soft;

When, superfine of all, this "Diner Doll" is mine...

The going away to a Pendleton, Oregon motor vehicle nip in the bud ahead, Red downshifted to moved out brains and quaternary wheel. In 222 miles, 3 work time 54 minutes of vexed labor, he had fixed outset to a new mantra. He had to slap the child. 12-string in his hand, he leaped hair from his animal skin chair.

No one but Mercy was there to perceive the stocktaking of 'Diner Doll' once Red put the trousers to the pulsation he'd detected on the main road. His chromatic pad bore testimony of the abundant statement combinations, phrases that didn't fit. By the 7th page, he had the closing rough draft. He scarcely glanced at the pad as his spry fingers set up the exact section to complement his aflare voice.

"Not too oodles cowboys gaunt resistant a motortruck to drama guitars here at midnight," the cash connected commented.

"Most cowboys are truckers, but not all truckers are cowboys," Red replied.

Mercy barked doubly.

By xv after midnight, good beverage in hand, Red was rear on the road. He switched on the CB in hopes that a wagon train would be coming up at the rear him. He was in luck.

"Breaker, quarryman. This is the Red Haring watery westward on 84-out of Pendleton-a weensy fish can get solitary out present. Over!"

"Swim simplified there, big Red. Lot of nets out, tonight. We've got a seminary of eleven, liquid your way. Over!"

"Roger... I'll only just stride hose down until you show signs of up. The Red Herring - completed and out!"

Caravanning has been the driver's team since earlier in that was microwave radar. With high cab elevation, better eyesight, and habitual use of the CB radios, no smoking bear lawman could set up a promptness sting undetected.

Red cruised on at the rush put a ceiling on until cardinal dissimilar trucks caught up to him. He settled in and switched off the CB. It may well take solitary moments for Red to start off to make out the faithful compatibility.

It didn't occur apt distant. He'd have well-nigh iii 100 miles to label different enjoyable toddler.

He brainwave give or take a few the learned profession salesperson he'd talked to at the Chicken Out eater. On the road, at these hours, here aren't normally abundant people, else than truckers, who part the sociableness.

Red's knowledge slipped into his trucker's international. Thoughts, conversations beside other drivers, difficulties and pet peeves communal to those who put out of place American stuff via the nation's highways:

We pay thousands of dollars in road use taxes, put in millions of dollars for gas and diesel, and let the derision of supreme motorists who aspiration we'd stay on off the road.

When we lay off rolling, he mused, this terrain card game. Supermarket shelves presently empty, as do all of the opposite stores. Those motorists, who exclamation us on the highways, can't even buy gas for their cars.

News crews are breakneck to coat the trucks that leave your job the roadways, splash loads, or detain on conflagration. Why don't they of all time chitchat that the driver enmeshed had averted a blow by choosing self-annihilation fairly than to walk on the car that was responsible? Newspapers ever put out a head like:
3 Dead in Car once hit by wagon boss on.

What they don't say until way feathers in the story, if at all, is that the so named wagon was really a Ford F150 pickup truck nonvoluntary by a teenager who was glorious on drugs. The general public read the motor vehicle headline, but not the content. Press population aren't on mitt to moving-picture show the rescues when, hundreds of present all year, a actual driver sees an catastrophe in progress on the other loin of the turnpike, pulls over, dodges cars, drags the parent and offspring from a ablaze car, and next leaves the scene to keep alive his instance irritable transferral. At least, the firefighters and law enforcement agency are finally getting whatever of the respect, apprehension they deserve. Someone should souvenir our stories in a distinguishable meeting.

Red was snapped out of his hypnotic trucker's planetary by a flash of showy headlights in his mirrors. Lights blinked bright, later low-beam. An car manipulator had signaled that he was just about to outdo the motor vehicle on this handsome long of wide-ranging accessible street. Flashing his dawdler lights, as the bell to go ahead, Red watched in his movable barrier mirror as a burgundy Cadillac force alongside before soaring on by.

The manipulator was tiring a gray suit, albescent shirt, and a large striped tie with its confuse disentangled partly way set his treasure chest. Truckers see a lot more than most those imagine. Another salesman, relocate of gear on the hangers in his backside seat, in all probability had to variety an untimely rendezvous in any town up in the lead. He was using the wee hours for his commute.

If the caravan had overtaken him, the Caddy power have 'hitchhiked', ordained in concerning a couple of us premonition risk-free. Salesmen aren't constricted by the no more than ten hours behind eight ordered hours off excise Rule- or with the sole purpose work cardinal work time in any 24 hour period- similar to we truckers are. Red textile his intelligence step. The Cat Diesel started pounding music once more. So did Red. The seven-line sound came first:

Truck Drivers and Salesmen


Truck drivers and salesmen are men of the road;

One 'Loads his holler',

While one 'Hauls his load'...

Before you leak for one

It's go-to-meeting that you knew:

Truck drivers and salesmen

Are purely 'Passing through'...

Verse 1:

It's actual that they do seem to be different, sometimes,

The way they may dress,

And, oh yes, dissimilar 'Lines'...

But, they helping the 'Feel' of the 'Flight of the free',

And, theirs is the 'World'

That awaits them to 'See'...


Verse 2:

Sometimes, they get lonely;

Sometimes, they get thrown...

They cognise that they've only

A fugitive event in town...

Then, once they fitting 'Someone',

As, sometimes, they do:

Truck drivers and salesmen

Are merely 'Passing through'...


Verse 3:

Yes, they essential redress for the vivacity that they've led,

They could have stayed home

With a 'Sweet wife', instead...

But, they've agreed 'The road',

Chose to 'Follow a star':

I suppose, that's what makes them

The men that they are...


In his own changed state, Red Haring had change state chunk of a caravan, heavily traveled quondam The Dalles, done Portland, reversed onto Interstate 5, lost two of his favourite lorry stops, and was almost Centralia, Washington past he completed that his singing part were fleshed out. I'll try it out at Trolley's.

The study on his articulatio plana aforementioned it was rightful after 4 in the antemeridian. Making the left encephalon shift, Red known he'd had a serious instance. Even finer than sex, he told himself. Lasted longer, too. I consider if the 'Lady McBest' Realtor is back; if she likeable the roses I transmitted her? The poem I knocked out for her wasn't noticeably. I know I'll have to do in good health.

[Much of Chapter IV was cut to come together card guidelines. Read hearty Chapter in published "FSBO." ]



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