Lately, we’ve also been getting submissions from truck drivers who want to comment on their lives. We figured, “Why not? Let’s publish the writings we get from truck drivers and see if it entertains their professional peers.” So, we’re starting with a tale we received from the trucking family of Paul and Patti Monk. It’s a story about how he bonded with his son during a night of restlessness. They couldn’t sleep, so they decided to become explorers. We think you’ll enjoy it.
My Captain was very much the pro I had supposed he would be under such a strain. Of Captain Bryan, I would not have made any such supposition; nor of Captain Dylan (far too young for such missions in my opinion). No, the only captain for me, the one in whom my full attention was given at the moment was Captain Christian “Crash” Wheeler. My Captain. His orders came with poise and hung in the air as dreadful markers to an enemy already defeated. “Hand me the prisoners!” he charged. It was 02:30, and time to get the prisoners secured, before bedtime. Without hesitation I reached out before me, plucked up the first Hammerhead and handed him up to Captain Crash. His deep set icy blue eyes looked into mine, and without blinking he took the first prisoner from my hand and disappeared aft for a time. Such a man of mystery was my captain, and not without contradictions. Steady he was, but not even an hour later I would witness his near mental breakdown at the mere suggestion that we turn in for the night.
But at hand the business was all the mission of stowing an enemy away. Soon Captain Crash was back at the hatch to fetch up another Hammerhead. In like the whole matter went until he bid me back onto the space ship; the U.S.S Freightshaker. It was a worthy vessel. It’s bridge very much resembled the interior of a 20th century transport that crept over the surface of the planet earth. Only now, a TTXQ quantized tachyon encrypted communicator sat where once a primitive transceiver was housed. From the instrument panel, before the pilot’s chair, protruded a column that culminated with a yoke that controlled the roll; pitch; and yaw of the spacecraft. Back down this column, handy to the pilot’s right hand, was a lever that controlled the forward torpedoes. On the left of the column was another lever, not used in the 21st century or any other as far as I know. Still, nobody knows what it does. How many enemy Hammerhead were left on that desolate planet I don’t know, but his order to board was sure so I took my place at the helm. As I sat in the pilot’s chair, checking the instrument packages supposing to take off, without thinking, I rolled down my window. I didn’t see the Captain come up but there he was standing beside me looking out of the vacant porthole to my left. Clearly I’d made a serious blunder. Had we already left the atmosphere and I’d done that, I would have killed us all. I was awaiting a reprimand, but as I said, my Captain was a man of mystery, and infinitely clever. “You can order Pizza here” was all I heard him say.
“Huh?” I stammered, as I looked out the window into the black night. And he was surely right. I don’t know what he knew, but there it was: a drive through window. “Pizza! Oh, I see. Ah, the Pizza place. What kind of pizza do you want, Captain?”
“Macaroni” he said slyly and walked away.
Later, I heard the Captain on the communications deck, which just so happened to be the bridge…and the galley; the quarter deck; etc., sending out the order. “This is your Captain speaking, anyway. Everybody come to this ship for pizza.” As I think back on each order he issued over the communicator that bleak morning, I regard how almost every order began the same way: “This is your Captain speaking, anyway”. Anyway. Why, anyway, I thought? I came to believe that as Captain, he understood that some of his orders may be met with some resistance by the crew. So, as if to head off any nonsense, he would emphasize in advance that the order about to be given was coming from the highest authority, and therefore, any objection being had by whosoever didn’t really matter anyway. Now did it?
Having resolved the matter, I turned my attention to back to pizza. I took the several pizzas to the galley, which was also the quarterdeck, to be ready when our pizza party arrived. I was suspicious of the prisoners. Hammerheads were a distant cousin to a fish that roamed the oceans of the planet Earth. The resemblance was there but they lacked the vicious pointy teeth that the fish had, but they used falsies to create the illusion of brutality that their ferocious relatives exemplified. This fooled no one, but they were still a treacherous lot. The Hammerheads would look at me out of one eye, turn their heads and look at me out of the other. I would have blindfolded them, but I knew that was futile. You ever try to blindfold a Hammerhead?
Having nothing more to do now than wait, I began eating the oh-so-thin pizza that actually melted before! it was in my mouth. Before I could not enjoy very much, the bridge lights went out. I saw the visage of Capt Crash silhouetted against the, uh, space wind screen. He was doing something? Then he was tippy toeing aft to my position where I was seated in the galley…which was also my bunk. “Shhh!” he whispered. “There’s somebody out there.” he said as he pointed out into space. Oh, no, I thought. Not now, I thought. I wasn’t nearly full on pizza yet and now this! But this cannot be. I am not a brave man, and all manners of horror of what could be were tearing at my mind and tormenting my very soul. He must have heard my reverberated gasping and was moved to act before I became unglued. So he touched something on his wrist, then he touched something on my wrist. But he was too late, so I hardly heard him say “We’re inbisible now” as the first torpedo slammed into our ship! Bang! The spaceship was rocking on it’s leaf spring suspension. No! I thought, I don’t want to die out here in space. I wasn’t strapped in so I clinched my backside firmly to the galley seat, or my bunk, if you like! as I awaited the next strike I knew would follow. “We’re inbisible” he called out again as another torpedo slammed into us so hard. Bang! Again and again the U.S.S. Freightshaker heaved to and fro and her lights blinked on and off menacingly as a result of the blow, or maybe my hand was just tripping the wall switch where I was bracing myself. I don’t know, but they were blinking, trust me. “No we’re inbisible!” he said more forcefully as yet again another torpedo found us. Bang! I was openly crying while at the same time trying to hold my breath for fear of a catastrophic loss of vessel pressure. That’s impossible! Next I was crying out to God like any day after Jalapenos. “No!” I said. “No!” he said. Bang! “No!” I said. “No!” He said. Bang! On and on until “WE’RE INBISIBLE!” he shouted an inch from my face. The smell of vanilla (his only vice), brought me back. What? I thought, no torpedoes?
I’d invoked the ire of the Captain. I know that, because his eyes start to glisten in the corners and the veins stand up on his temples when he is angry. How young is too young to give yourself an aneurysm? He added “When I touch my wrist like this, we’re inbisible.” Much relieved the attack on us was only in my head, I fell silently back to eating my pizza as he tried in earnest to settle this small matter of invisibility with me. To the Academy he went, yes, but he found no basis in the English language, yet. He struggled for words, would backtrack and try again mostly with the same words, but with more eye contact to see if I was listening. I think he was trying to say that when we were invisible, we were also intangible. So I caught up my little captain into my arms and gave him a hug and a great big kiss on his hot, sweaty head. So all was understood, my apology was accepted, reprimand over. With that, he fell back to his duties but with less fervency. It seems that my imagined space battle and the resulting confusion had taken some of his steam. “I’m hungry” he mumbled. I suggested that we make for the nearest port.
As it so happened, there was a double-wide space station off our starboard bulkhead. I knew it well; it had a cute little waitress (let’s just call her grandma) that made a wonderful Greek Salad. “Would you like to go in and see what’s in the refrigerator, Captain?” I questioned. “Yea”, he yawned. His handsome little face looked so tired; reddish-brown, ribbon-like furrows hung beneath his eyes, although he could not have looked older. We both disembarked; me first, and then I lifted him down. He was off and away before I could close the hatch. As I followed after, I wondered what strange fascinations that big truck held for my little captain. I was so privileged, I felt, that he let me into his world where few were allowed. We have a strange and wonderful relationship, for you see, his mother is my daughter. He shows so many of the signs of autism, but his mother does not want him to be tagged and cataloged in that way. It’s understandable, because he is also absolutely brilliant. So, few interlopers are allowed to explore that larger world with him, and that is why it is my honor to serve as his first mate. Oh, I know I will never command my own ship while he is around, he wouldn’t allow it, but that is just fine with me. And so, we arrived at Space Center Double-wide, and had a bite. His eyelids were droopy then. “Well, Captain” I said, “we should go to bed now.” And did I mention his mental collapse earlier. That came now.