GreyBeard Dreaming

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Shooting At WorldMart


A Shooting At WorldMart:
and other stories from the Yggdrasil Highway



This is a lie.

It must be a lie or everything you think you know is instead a lie.  If it’s not a lie then all of known history and much of Science is a lie.  So trust me, it’s a lie.  Not one word is true.   Not one person in these pages is depicted truthfully.

You’re safe.

All rights to this lie are retained.
Copyright 2013


Bored
How I Became a Truck Driver.
Shooting at the Shopping Center
Telepresence Trucker
Medicine Wheel.

Bored

The young boy was bored.  

He and his family had just recently moved to this house.  There weren't very many kids around here.  Not like the old place...where just across the alley had been "colored town"  He’d had a LOT of black buddies there.  They used to have a great time.  Mom didn't approve though..

No one around here...not many.  Mom had a rule.  "Do NOT cross asphalt".  So that meant he had to stay on his block.  That wasn't all that bad though, three lots on his side of the alley were vacant.  Lots of weeds, some lizards, snakes, horny toads, ants and stuff.  

Just last week he'd got some gas out of the garage that dad used for the lawn mower.  He'd used it to burn ants.  That was fun.  Mom caught him though and that WASN'T fun.  

Yesterday he'd got a shovel and thrown dirt up into the air.  It made a really neat "whoomp!" sound when it hit and a really cool explosion looking cloud.  He wondered if Atom bombs looked like that.  He'd heard of atom bombs...something about Nag a Sacki.  He knew all about nagging...wasn't sure about what it had to do with sacks though.

He was bored.

His younger brother was in bed....he'd fallen down and hit his mouth again.  He was always doing that.  Mom blamed him for it.  Wasn't his fault....he couldn't help it if his brother didn't jump fast enough then tripped when they were playing swords.  He'd thought the wooden sticks made really GREAT swords....guess not.

He thought about going inside and pestering the babies.  Two of them..a little boy and a little girl.  Smelly things...and loud.  Always fun to pinch one of them.  Probably better not do that...Mom didn't like it.  He'd been spanked already today and once a day was plenty.

Bored.

Guess he'd walk down to his friend Jerry's place.  Jerry and his family lived in an old farmhouse that had already been here before the "subdivision" went in.  No idea what that meant.  Old house.

Many of the houses had fences.  He figured that if there was no fence he'd be ok walking across their back yard.  If they didn't want him to do that they'd put up a fence...right?  His yard had a fence...a big tall "cyclone' fence.  Wonder what's cyclone?

About half way across one of the yards he hear a "wooooof!"  

uh-oh.  He'd forgot about the dog.

Bulldog.  Old English Bulldog.  He didn't know that.  He just saw a mouth.  With teeth.  

The boy turned and ran for his life.  

Tree...there's a tree.  He jumped and grabbed a lower limb and shimmied up the tree like a squirrel.  Tore his jeans....again.  He could have swore that the dog almost got his shoe...

He sat in the tree for a while...throwing some kind of fruit and twigs at the dog. The dog jumped really high and bounced around the bottom of the tree...barking.  

After a while he heard someone hollering.  "Here dimples...here boy...come home dimples"

Dimples?  No wonder he was grouchy.

The dog left...the little boy waited a long time...then climbed down and run home.

He didn't even bother to open his gate...he climbed right over the fence...and was in his yard.  

Safe.

and bored.

maybe he could find an ant bed in the backyard...or a grasshopper...

Grasshoppers were good...until that spat that icky green stuff on you....his dad said it was chewing tobacco...


Wonder what tobacco is.?

Bored....


How I Became a Truck Driver.

Back in the sixties I was working at a Grain Elevator as a summer job.  I was in high school and perhaps it was between Junior  and Senior year?.  I might have been fifteen  or sixteen?
The Horror’s you say?  Child Labor!!

Yup.  It sure was.  I learned as much or more on my summer jobs as I did in High School.  In high school I learned to type.(Heh...I was the only boy in a class of thirty students for four years running....I took four YEARS of girl watching....ummmm..... I mean four years of typing)  Other than that High School was pretty much useless....except that I met my future wife...but that’s another story.  My obstinence, stubbornness and failure to understand the meaning of the word QUIT was re-inforced by FootBall.

As I said...I was working for Bendent Grain.  .  It was his custom to hire students for summer work.  I never thought much of old man Bendent at the time....he was the BOSS.  What more could, or should, I think?  But looking back, he had the right idea.  Teach kids something REAL...pay em a little bit of money, and everyone benefitted.

He was right.  So there I am one Saturday morning walking across the lot toward the barn  carrying a grain scoop. I’d parked my motorcycle in the office parking lot and picked up a grain scoop when heading back to the barn.  We used Grain Scoops a LOT,  so I just naturally carried one with me pretty much all the time.  About that time  Old Man Bendent drove up in his pickup and stopped besides me.  

“Mick...take the grain truck out to the MaHooney place west of town.  Follow Lurch...he’ll give you a ride back”

“Yessir” I said....trying not to grin..

ME!  I was a gonna drive a TRUCK!!!   Oh Boy!

So I walked on over to the Old, Old, (did I say OLD) worn out late forties model, two axle chevy (or was it a ford?) grain truck.  Lucky for me Lurch was there, leaning on his cane.

Lurch was an Alcoholic.  He was also  very black, and very, very BIG...., and  crippled.....he walked with cane and a serious limp...perhaps he had a wooden leg?  And I THINK he was a war vet.  Perhaps it was all tied together, except for the black part I mean, he was probably born black.  I didn’t think about any of that back then, like how did he get booze in a dry county? ..and why was he employed ….still...after all the times he didn’t show up for work cause he was drunk.  Maybe him and Mr. Bendent had an understanding?  Maybe they had history?

I hadn’t given it a thought.  I was thinking about driving a TRUCK!  I had no idea how far we were going I was just going to follow Lurch who would be driving a company pickup.

Only one minor problem.  I had no idea, not the vaguest glimmer of a notion, of how to drive  a truck. I COULD drive...sorta.  I’d had a motorcycle since it was legal for me to own one and I’d been “driving” the family car ever since I was big enough to see UNDER the steering wheel sitting on daddy’s lap.  Once or twice a month on Sunday  after noon’s he’d take all of us kids out in the country and we would take turns sitting in his lap and holding on to the steering wheel...until we got too big for his lap.
  We learned to ‘drive”  After a while, as we got older  we really DID learn to drive.  As much as you can learn to drive with an automatic transmission. We all got our learner’s permits when we got old enough and real licenses after that.  But That’s not really driving.  That’s just “ride and guide”.  That’s NOT driving a truck.

Lurch knew this, that I couldn’t drive a truck,  Hell Mr. Bendent no doubt knew it....Lurch was standing besides the truck just grinning.  Being Black and having some mighty fine , extremely WHITE, teeth (he wasn’t from around there, locals like me grew up with teeth stained brown....from the water)...Lurch’s teeth.....they just kind of shined.  Blinding.

“Can you drive  Mick.?”

“Um...”

Momma taught me a bunch of things while I was growing up. Momma’s are like that.   What didn’t stick was reinforced by Dad...sometimes with a belt if need be. That’s what Dad’s do.
 Between them, with occasional help  from other kin like Gramps, GranMa, some uncles and aunts as need be,  they managed to get a few ideas into my hard head.  One of those ideas was”   Do  NOT Lie.....EVER”.  

“No Sir....I can’t”

Lurch just grinned some more....I was a mite afraid I was going to get sunburn from that smile.  Lurch was the only black I knew personal or had ever talked to.  My high school had just integrated  the year before but I didn’t know any of the kids from Booker-T, and there weren’t many of them anyway.  I didn’t take any classes with any of them.  Not to be bangin my own drum but I was fairly academic and they mostly...weren’t.  I had no idea why no blacks weren’t in football that year.  Seems odd now that I think of it, considering how well blacks do in sports .

“Well boy....me and you are going to learn YOU how to drive this here truck....get in”.

So it began.  Lurch, did I mention Lurch was BIG? Stood on the ground outside the truck next to the rolled down drivers window.  He lectured me as to what to do.  Once or twice when I was being particularly stupid or not paying close enough attention he thumped me upside the head.

No big deal.  It worked.  I paid better attention. Lurch’s thumps kinda smarted and once was plenty.

Thinking back on it, that must have been one comical sight.  There would be wailing (from me), and shouting, (from Lurch) and gnashing of gears.(from the mistreated transmission)

This went on for some time.  Eventually I got so I could start the truck, stand on the clutch, ease it into first gear, and GENTLY let out on the clutch...and get it to rolling.  Most of the time....without stalling.  

After a while more I was even steering and driving in a circle.  Grain Elevators tend to be located on large properties and we used a bunch of it.  There at the end, after only a couple or three hours, I was steering in a circle and shifting gears.  Lurch was mostly standing in the middle of the circle , shaking his cane at me and shouting great obscenities.

We were having a marvelous time.


“Ok Boy! You FINALLY got it figured out....good enough” Said Lurch    “now follow me.”.  and Lurch hobbled over to a company pickup...an  automatic now that I think on it...and got in.  He then drove slowly past me....turned onto the street and drove away.

I had to follow him.  Piece of cake.

Only took me three tries this time to get rolling and when I finally did get rolling  the truck was hardly bucking.....much.
I was almost going twenty miles an hour in third gear when we came to the (only) stop light on that side of town.  So I got to stop.

Stalled the truck again.

Light turned Green and I started...or tried to start...and stalled again.  And again.  A carload of girls was behind me and they, came around and  passed, laughing and waving.

I didn’t care.  I was a truck driver.  Trucker’s are above such petty distractions.

Next green light I got though it, and eventually I was rolling along at maybe forty or fifty miles per hour, just about as fast as that old grain truck would go.  The speedometer was broke so I really didn’t know. Come to think of it just about everything ON that truck was broke.  It would run and that was it. After a while the pick up with Lurch in it slowed down and turned off on a dirt road.

Naturally I missed a gear.  Naturally I couldn’t get it back IN gear...so I had to stop.  Then I stalled it a few times getting rolling again.  By the time I got rolling good Lurch was no where in sight.  This takes some doing because on the high plains of Texas you can see a LONG ways.

Since I’d last seen Lurch going THAT way....I did too.  Eventually I came up on him stopped besides a mail box with the name “MaHooney” on it.  Lurch was patiently waiting.  When I got there he got out of the pick up, limped over to me and said

“take the truck over beside the barn, park it, and come on back here”.

I did.  No need to mention the gear jamming, clutch dumping or engine stalling’s that all that entailed...or the fact that Lurch was laughing so much he bout peed himself.   I got er done. Good enough.


And THAT, was how I learned to drive a truck.  I didn’t hardly much drive one again for years…when I was overseas in the military.


Shooting at the Shopping Center or...don't scare the old folks.

The old trucker didn't want to do this.  He hated shopping.  He hated shopping centers with a passion.  He had to though.  He was out of cat food. Bubba didn't have any more 'Stinky Food'  Bubba got grumpy without his 'stinky food'.  A grumpy Bubba was an ornery Bubba.  Life got real exciting around an ornery Bubba.  Cord O'Connor, the old trucker, didn't need any excitement.

Truck-stops and with their so-called 'convenience' stores sometimes carried dog food.  Very damn seldom did they carry cat food.  If/when they ever did they charged way too much. Cord hadn't restocked in months.  He REALLY hated to go shopping.  CatFood and CatLitter were about gone as were baby wipes, bottled water , socks cigars and t-shirts. (the old man also HATED to do laundry.  He'd buy new t-shirts before he'd wash them.)  

So.......a trip to WalMart was inevitable.  He still hated it.  The idiot four wheelers (automobiles)   would NOT give him a break.   They cut right in front of him, got RIGHT behind him, zipped past with no warning from either side and turned, stopped and backed up with no rhyme nor reason.  Wal-Mart parking lots were hell.

He'd finally found a place out on the back side and parked his rig.  Luckily he could enter the supercenter through the  Automotive section....right past gardening.  Pet Supplies and Hardware were right in that area so he shouldn't have to brave the main store, much less the adjacent mall. He wouldn't have to deal with soccer moms and old ladies.  He'd just get his stuff....and get out.  Shouldn't take too long.

Cord had done his shopping and  was in line with a bunch of other old farts at the check out counter in automotive when he heard the first shot, and  then the screams began. He glanced up at the monitors behind the counter. For some reason that's where the monitors were in many Walmarts, perhaps that's where the night watchmen sat? One monitor showed a gunman.  Apparently this dingbat thought he was another Holmes, the guy who shot up the Movie Theater in Aurora Colorado a while back.  He was decked out in a similar fashion  No gas mask though..

Cord sat there for a second thinking.  This wasn't any of his business.  He could pay his bill and push his loaded shopping card on out the back way to his truck and probably drive on out of there before things got all snarled up.  It wasn't his kids, his friends or his relatives getting slaughtered. Hell he wasn't even in his home state.

Cord shuddered and shook himself like a dog shedding water.  

"Oooh Rah!" he muttered....then louder "Oooh Rah!" he said louder.  The old farts had been looking at the monitors also and now looked at him. "This aint right" Cord muttered.   "This is wrong...I'm gonna stop it.  Ya'll with me?"

The old guys just stared at him for a second then caught on to what Cord was saying.  "I'm gonna put a stop to this or die trying" Cord repeated.

Cord looked at the Knife Display on the counter, then at the clerk. "Gimme a couple of those he said"  the clerk did.  Cord turned around and headed toward the gunfire.  "let's see how well he shoots with a gizzard full of cold steel.'

Some of the other old coots followed him.  Some of the young guys just kinda stood there wondering what had just happened.

 Cord sprinted as hard as he could till he got closer then he  dropped to a crouch and continued to move TOWARD the disturbance, staying behind cover as he went.  Some of the other guys were with him off to one side or the other.  Hell there was even an old fart in an electric  wheel chair zipping right along, making his way toward the disturbance...what the hell was he carrying anyway?  It looked like a damn spear.  Where did he find a spear in walmart?

Didn't matter...he was getting closer, it was a BIG fricking store.  A WalMart SuperCenter they called it.  The old man snagged a shopping cart full of canned goods that had been abandoned as he went by it, then he swung it around in front of him, pushing it ahead for cover. Some of the other guys saw what he did and did the same thing.

It seemed like hours, but could only have been a minute or two, before he come upon the disturbance.  The punk had a carbine and was shooting people. A whole group of people had jammed a door trying to get out and the punk was standing behind them calmly shooting one right after another as they were trying to flee. It appeared that all the electric doors were out order and there was only the one manual door.  Everyone was trying to get through it at once.  Several people were on the floor, some shot and some trampled.  Can't have that.

A sniper attack is a form of ambush.  The best way to handle an ambush is to fight THROUGH it.  In other words attack.  Cord intended to do just that.  He had no weapons other than the knife he'd picked up at the counter...and some canned goods.

The old man pulled a can of green beans out of the shopping cart he was pushing  and threw it at the gunman.  Cord hadn't been a ball player or anything in school but he could chunk a rock with the best of them.  A can of beans fit his hand just about like a rock and did just as good a job. He hit the gunman upside the head.

It got the gunman's attention, which was the plan.

                            *******

The gunman turned and was astounded  to see several fat men huffing like steam engines, each pushing shopping carts from which they were extracting canned goods and then throwing them at him.  About that time another one of the old geezers got the range and a can of tuna smacked him in the nose...breaking his eye glasses. The old codgers were bearing down upon him like a wall of lard.  He immediately turned his gun upon them and began shooting.

And missing.  He was no longer shooting fish in a barrel.  He was shooting at moving targets and taking incoming, after a fashion.  After being beaned by a can of beans, tapped by a tuna and conked by other odds and ends he was having a harder time concentrating on his shooting.It didn't help that he wasn't that much of a marksman to begin with.  It looked a lot different in the movies.

Damn Shopping Carts.  He had to shoot the shopping carts to get at the geezers pushing them.  The shopping carts were full of groceries. His .223 round that the news media had called "powerful" just didn't seem to penetrate all that well.  His shots were deflecting ever which way.

He got one, or at least the guy fell down.  It was hard to tell.  They were coming AT him.  This wasn't fair.  They were supposed to run. It was almost as if the old farts knew what they were doing.  They were using infantry tactics against him.   While he was aiming at one geezer who ducked  behind a shopping card the others would move forward...throwing things.  He was getting hit on a regular basis now. It HURT.   

He had tomato paste running down over his face, and spaghetti.   He couldn't SEE.  Not only that but some of them had stuff in their hands. Not just can goods.  Knives, baseball bats, sledgehammers and garden implements.  He didn't like that at all.  He didn't aim any more as he fired shot after shot. They didn't stop coming..surely he was hitting them?  Wasn't he?  

He was getting rattled. He was beyond rattled.  Some of his shots went straight up...into the ceiling. Some into the floor.  This wasn't going as planned.  He should have gone to the School.  Yes...he should have targeted the school....it was a no gun zone. Kids and teachers didn't have guns..  That would have been better.

But these old guys  weren't using guns.  They were using canned chicken noodle soup...and ash trays...and ball bearings. and baseballs. One of them threw a hatchet at him.  

They were getting closer...

The gun jammed.  The hundred round double drum magazine that was supposed to be SO lethal....jammed.  The old geezers were only a few feet away...closing fast even though they were huffing and puffing like steam engines.  They were going to get him.  It wasn't fair.  He dropped the 'assault rifle' and grabbed at his pistol...unsuccessfully ducking Delmonte and Campbells soup cans.  They were raining those damn cans upon him...they all had the range.  Cans HURT when it hit his elbow...causing him to shoot himself in the calf.

That was it.  The bullet had done some serious damage.  He could barely stand up and it HURT.  This wasn't supposed to hurt.  He wasn't supposed to GET hurt.  He supposed to hurt THEM. Then he was supposed to peacefully surrender to the police and be a hero. The anti gun crowd would be in love with him.   It wasn't working that way....he turned to run and ran right into a sharp stick held by an old man in a wheel chair.

               *****************************

It was an electric wheel chair and the rider had zipped around behind the gunman while flanking the other old geezers.  The rider was holding the 14 foot  extendable paint handle like a knight would hold a spear. He'd sharpened the end of the handle with a knife and he had a pointy stick.  The Geritol knight had a pretty good roll on and was moving pretty fast when the gunman turned. The stick kinda skewered the gunman. Apparently that wasn't real armor he was wearing.

That shocked the gunman pretty bad..having a spear go right through the guts tends to do that.....he stopped,  dropped his gun and started caterwauling.  Last thing the gunman ever did.

The old codgers swarmed him.

They Hit him high and they hit him low, they smashed his nuts and they shattered his elbows.  Several old men and by god a woman or two had various types of tools, kitchen utensils and garden implements,not to mention knives,  and proceeded to beat and cut the gunman to a bloody pulp. Even with the crowd holding him up the gunman slowly fell over and hit the ground.

 The old trucker was some distance back with the shopping cart attack crew.  He saw one little lady swing a golf club, it might have been a five iron,  and scoop the punks eye right out.  The eye went sailing across the room and stuck to a far wall. She didn't stop, she hit him repeatedly. Nose, other eye, both gone...then she began putting divots in his forehead.  Both cheekbones were smashed....teeth were all gone. The old lady was screaming

"Shoot at MY grand baby  will you"...as she pounded his head to goo....

The crowd closed around the gunman.  The trucker could no longer see what was happening.  Some of those Grandmas KNEW how to take a chicken apart.  The gunman was just bigger. There were several grandmas.   Blood flowed on the floor.

Approximately five minutes had elapsed since the first shot.

When seconds count the police are only minutes away.  Sirens were beginning to sound from outside.

The old trucker turned to go.  No need for him to hang around here any longer. This wasn't his town any more than any other town was.

He'd just take his cat food and get the hell outa dodge.

Teleprescence Trucker
The Ten Axle Beam hauling the D-10 Cat pulled into the job site.  It rumbled around and stopped.  It was a STRANGE looking rig.  Not at all like what the customer was used to seeing.
And it got worse.  This THING  dropped down from the side of the Cab.  It got out of a compartment...like a closet.  It looked kind of like a guy in a suite of armor...but "cute".  As if it were purposely designed to be inoffensive looking....NOT scary.
The little robot (what else could it be?) walked over to the supervisor....and looked up at him (short robots aren't near as threatening).....
"where do you want it?" the little machine asked.
Bemused...the supervisor kind of waved...."over there....where ever"
"Ok" said the cute little robot..."be done soon...you want to sign now or later?"
"Oh...I'll sign now...it doesn't matter" said the supervisor.
"OK" said the robot "holding up an electronic tablet..."anywhere will do"
The little robot then positoned itself such that it had a good view of the rig...came to a sort of parade rest....and waited.
The rig pulled forward a bit...then backed up a bit...then stopped.
Two MORE Robots dropped down from the Cab.  These did NOT look friendly.  Metallic Hulks...they were.....HUGE.
They, in conjuction with the as yet unseen driver,  began the unload process.  First the pony motor on the trailer was started, and the air in suspension in the trailer was inflated.  The trailer, and it's load was thus lifted....about three foot up.
The two "hulks" then removed LARGE pieces of lumber from the trailer and placed them under the tracks.
The trailer was then set down...not too far...and the Hulks began unchaining the load.  Chains removed the trailer was lowered till the Cat sat entirely on the lumber....and the trailer continued to lower...until it sat frame on the ground.
The Hulks lumbered around...doing this and that....and the tractor and the Jeep pulled forward....the jeep was then detached and left over to one side , out of the way. The tractor then backed  under the trailer...the Hulks did this and that and the tractor with the trailer neck, pulled away.
The Two Hulks then went to the rear of the neckless trailer/stinger combination and positoned themselves at the rear.  At some unseen signal the two began to pull.  They pulled the trailer/stinger back...back...until the Cat was sitting, on lumber, by itself.
The little robot then approached the bemusd supervisor.  "Do you want to have one of your guys move it somewhere or do you want us to?  "..
"Oh.." the suspervisor gulped..."I think we can handle it"..
He turned, to see his whole crew just standing there...watching.
"Jim...move that Cat over to the holding area...the rest of you YaHoos get back to work...haven't you ever seen a truck unload before?"....he said.
One of the hands climbed up into the cab of the Cat, fired it up, and carefully drove off the blocks...then clanked and clattered over to where it was to be parked.
As soon as the Cat was out of the way, the Hulks lumbered over to the jeep and pushed it onto the trailer,padding it appropriately with the necessary lumber and securing it with chains. ....The truck then backed up to the trailer and the neck was re-attached.  The two hulks then fiddled with the rear of the trailer and detached the stinger....then standing on either side they lifted it straight up.  The driver then backed the trailer under the suspended stinger.  The hulks sat it down and chained it in place.
Making sure all lumber, chains, securement devices and whatnot were properly stowed and secured .....  The robots then climbed into the tractor which then pulled out of the yard and left.
The driver was never seen.  Just as well.  It was difficult for him to deal with people.  Being a parapalegic and horribly scarred from a childhood airplane crash he avoided people as much as he could.  He would rather deal with them via his telepresence robots...


Medicine Wheel.


In the  dark of the  night in the forsaken wastes of the southwestern united states there  lies a Petroform. There are thousands of such "rock art" formations scattered throughout the continent and more thousands throughout the world. They'd always been there since before living memory of the local peoples.
This one began to glow.....
.......starting as a faint luminosity barely discernible by the naked eye it got brighter and brighter. Had one the resources it might have been instructive to note that vastly greater energies were hinted at in the sub and supra visible spectrum than were visible to the naked eye. The Light was faint at first but then rapidly  increased in brightness. Colored light began to trace the shape of a portal. A portal the size of a truck shop door...if not somewhat larger began to appear.  First nebulously then increasingly bright and brighter and brighter yet....to crescendo, in absolute silence with a strobe of blinding brilliance.  It was as intense as the flash from a nuclear device, with no heat, shock nor sound.   Almost faster than the eye could follow, a shape emerged from the ray traced portal and sped away across the plains...... accompanied by the sound of a great wind.


The portal vanished like a popped soap bubble....and the petroform’s glow diminished and went away. Shortly it was as if nothing had happened.


***


Several hundred miles from the speeding shape a convoy carrying military equipment was rumbling down that same highway. It was a hi value convoy and had armed escorts both on land and in the air, it even had satellite surveillance.  The  instruments of the command truck noted the anomaly.
.
"We got a massive Electro-Magnetic Pulse behind us Cap'n" said the signals sargent.  
<yadda yadda...various Techno-chatter , baffle-gab, mil-speak , as would be expected. then a flight of BlackHawk Helicopters is dispatched to investigate, lethal force is authorized at the flight commander’s discretion>
****
A trio of BullRacks were rolling westbound across US Highway 50 in western Utah. Unknown to them they are   between the "anomaly and the convoy. . They were, as usual for cow-haulers, overloaded and speeding. The longer cows were on-board the more weight they lost. The more weight they lost the less the cow-haulers got paid. It was in the best interests of the cow-haulers bank account to absolutely minimize the time interval between loading and unloading. Triple digit speeds helped them achieve that goal. With the war of secession in full swing no one worried about speed limits.  The important thing was to get the job done. The beef they were carrying was destined to feed the resistance forces of the Second Republic of Texas.  The rally point was sparks nevada.  This trio was attempting to avoid the interstate and the hellfire missiles of Bambi.


This stretch of Highway 50 was conducive to high speeds. As far as one could see in front, and equally far behind, horizon to horizon was flat as a billiard table. The highway was straight as a ruler. Normally there wasn't any traffic. Not this morning.


Moving along at speeds in excess of one hundred and ten miles per hour, spaced about a quarter of a mile apart...the trio was being overtaken
.
Quickly.


The driver of the rear bull rack first noticed the pursuit in his rear view mirror. He immediately informed his buddies using the CB radio.


"Hey ya'll" he said "...something coming up from behind ...REAL fast...it's gonna pass.".


" I wonder if it's the dawg" said one of the other drivers..." I heard he might be out....mash your motor...we got zero chance of keeping up with the dawg  but he's a hoot.  Make him work for it.".


So they did....each Peterbilt was powered by tricked out Caterpillar engines which displaced about a thousand cubic inches, and put out over six hundred horse power. Eighteen speed "double over-drive" transmissions and 3.23 "rears" provided a theoretical speed of over one fifty miles per hour. They had no idea how much more...their speedometers "bottomed out" at 120....and they were going faster than that.


The over taking apparition was brightly lit. Other truckers might have  thought it was an aircraft the way it skimmed along close to the surface of the highway. These guys knew better.  The dawg was out tonight and prowling. It rapidly overhauled them.  It was no "chicken truck". It was aerodynamically shaped and  had no wheels.  It levitated a foot off the ground and  there was no engine noise.
Just the wind and an ominious hum.


An observer properly located, say, on one of the blackhawks vectoring in from the convoy,  he would have observed three bull racks, hammer down, engines bellowing with smoke billowing from their twin stacks, screaming across the asphalt going as fast as they could go. Behind them and rapidly overtaking them was another, very odd looking machine which was DECELERATING so as not to pass the trio at too great of a speed. Upon catching up to the semi's the apparition strolled past them slowly....if one might consider a hundred and fifty miles  to a hundred and eighty miles an hour to be "strolling".


Looking out his window each trucker saw , as they were each  passed, a vehicle unlike anything they had ever before seen...and they were veteran drivers of many years.  They'd heard of him though.  It was the dawg. Road rumor and driver legend had it that the dawg truck prowled the desert.


Visible thru the passenger side window of the high speed monster....swear to gawd...there appeared to be a humanoid with the head of a bulldog.....an Old English Bulldog.. It was serenely looking out it's window  at the slower trucks as they were passed. ...it was wearing an eye patch, a derby hat ...and smoking a cigar.
As each trucker was passed the driver hollered, hooted and yelled...and blew his air horn. The dawg waved, with one finger as it sped by.  It was hilarious.  The truckers were laughing so hard they could barely stay on the highway.


When the monster wagon passed the trio of straining bull racks....and was a safe distance ahead.... it accelerated.


RAPIDLY.


Within  minutes is was out of sight ...over the horizon....with a flight of Blackhawks screaming after it


***


"That was cute" said the driver of the alien machine...who...in a bad light...might pass as human until his bulldog head and face became visible.


"Ain't it just?" growled the other bulldog smoking his cigar. "gotta do something on this run to keep from going crazy."


" Too late.  " said the driver. ".... past that point"


" up your nose with rubber hose " said the pasengerr.." uh oh"


"In times like this Uh-oh is not helpful" said the bulldog driving the machine.


"local aircraft....they see us and are approaching"  said the passenger..
"Uh Oh works in this case " said the driver... scanning his instruments.


***
"There went the neighborhood"  said the bulldawg.


"Yeah...gitting crowded for sure..." said the driver.


"how you on their electronics? " asked the dawg...can you control them?'


"you kidding me? ...piece of cake"


The Bulldog  with the eyepatch got a positively evil grin on his face..." just what I wanted to hear...let's have some fun"
(first the lead black haws buzzes. them...the  bull dawg leans out the window and shoots at the helicopter with a six gun...and hits it...and a big old suction cup arrow sticks to the windshield of the lead helicopter.
the helicopter shoots missles at the monster truck...oddly enough the missles loose lock and run out of control....more oddly their com trails are sky writing great obscenities in the air...before detonating......  dawg shoots  another helicopter with another suction cup projecile...this one with a sign on it...unfortunately indecipherable.
These types of incidents continue.  The blackhawk squadron...laboring a little bit to keep up with the speeding monter truck...try thier best to destroy it.
The monster truck shows zero sign of being in any danger and is contempteuous and mocking of their efforts. It's playing with them.
...but oddly enough makes to attempt to harm them....
And suddenly they are approaching the convoy like a base ball approaching a bedroom window...


***


The old trucker hated being up this early. He normally didn't get up until AFTER sunrise. But he was in a convoy. He normally ran alone but the company he worked for made him an offer that he could NOT refuse...but he half-wished he had....Damn Co-driver.  The convoy was in a big hurry to get to the customer. The convoy was running hard and running 24/7.  They'd just hit the road again from a brief fuel stop. They had their own tankers.  The customer wanted his cargo in the worst possible way.  There was, after all, a war on.


Cord had kicked that damn ya-hoo of a co driver OUT at the fuel stop.  Had about enough of him....Cord would drive the rest of the way alone. It wasn’t like he had to worry about DOT logs or hours of service regulations any longer...not with a war on.


Checking his rear view mirror from time to time as he normally did the old truck noticed a speck far, far behind him. Just about at the horizon. The rest of the convoy seemed oblivious.


The speck grew at fantastic speeds, growing enormous and passing......almost grazing the Old Man’s Rig.


..........and a tunnel opened in front of him, of them........
.......and the monster Leviathan roared into the tunnel at five hundred miles per hour...and the heavy haul KenWorth was pretty much sucked in along with it....the old man at the steering wheel of the kenworth was fighting for all he was worth to keep the Kenworth  from overturning...


.........the tunnel shut soundlessly...
.
The BlackHawk squadron buzzed the convoy...everything looked normal.  No damage.


Except that one truck was missing.


***


For just a few moments Cord O'Connor, the old trucker, was dazzled sightless by the exit flash from the portal as he exited. He experienced the free fall. . This came as a surprise to him. He was at the controls of a 180,000 pound semi truck, not something that would normally fly.


It was flying though but poorly.  It wobbled dangerously.  It had taken the launch poorly.  The road had made a banked  curve to the right almost immediately after exiting the portal.  Being dazzled by the flash Cord hadn’t seen the turn and had driven straight ahead.  The bank of the curve had acted as a launch ramp and the 189,000 pound twin steer, tri drive Kenworth Heavy Haul tractor pulling a five axle oil field trailer loaded with a Heavy Maximium Mobility Transport (HeMMT)  in Command Center configuration....


….......flew through the air.


So, intellectually he was having a difficult time wrapping his head around the idea that he was totally weightless. Just as his hind brain began to grasp the concept, gravity kicked in....HARD.  Just as his eyesight returned they landed...poorly. The truck was passing over a sand dune and beginning to roll when the rear wheels of the trailer impacted the dune.  The suddend drag snapped the articulated vehicle straight and slammed all forty wheels into the ground.   The truck hit the dune at 110 miles per hour. It impacted hard enough that a big splash of sand arose from boths sides of the machine.. Cord’s  knees took some of the impact, and his chest as he slammed into the steering wheel, and the four point seat belt and  the aired up chair even more. He still felt a few of his bones crack and he had to spit out a tooth, but so far he was still alive.


So far.


The engine no longer running. It was dead.  When that light  had flashed like a nuke the engine had quit.  It was still in gear, meaning he still had power steering and the air brakes worked...now that the wheels were on the ground and all the pumps were being turned by the driveline.  He feathered the brake pedal, not wanting to jackknife  until he noticed , dead ahead at what looked way too much like the edge of a cliff.


 The cliff edge was MUCH too close ahead of him, and closing fast. A jackknife and the subsequent roll might be preferable to going over the cliff.  He pulled on the Johhny bar and locked up his trailer brakes. The trailer brakes grabbed....hard.  He was now pulling a plow.  The tractor's wheels were turning so he could steer a little.  The trailers wheels were all locked up  and digging a trench.  Was he slowing ENOUGH? He was rapidly approaching the edge of the cliff.





He began swerving from side to side running over bushes and small trees trying despairingly to slow down.  He pressed down on the brakes again adding tractor drag to that of the trailer, giving it more of that precious receding air supply.  The engine was continuing to compress air, but it just wasn't enough compared to the amount he was using up.  Not even the custom double cylinder air compressor.  He was using air like a hurricane.  


He pushed down on the brake pedal again, watching as the speedometer needle fall and the edge rushing towards him. As the needle hit the 10 mile per hour tick mark the front tires went over the edge. He 'popped the brakes'  thus setting the parking brakes and thereby  locking up all forty wheels. Cord had no control now he was just along for the ride.  


 As luck would have it when the front wheels went over the edge and the skid plates under the chassis hit the ground...they slid for a short distance then hung up on a protruding rock.. That  rock stopped them.  Instantly...like running into a ...rock.  They stopped  barely in time.  The two front steering axles were over the edge, the truck was resting on it's frame and skid plates.... and the three drive axles were still on land. He  leaned back in his chair, and exhaled a deep breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.


He looked into his driver side mirror mirror, seeing that his rear truck axle was sitting right on the cliff edge.


He slowly opened his door, putting on his seat belt in the process and looked at what awaited below him. Directly below was..........nothing. Below that was more nothing.  Nothing went on and on.   It was deep.  He didn't know how far it went, because light didn't go that far, it just turned into a black abyss that seemed to threaten to swallow him up. He stared into the abyss and the abyss stares back.  Feeling a bit of vertigo he pulled himself back into the truck and closed the door.


He'd just sit here for a bit.  Breath.  Yeah....breath some.


“By the Beard of Hillary,” he cursed. He slowly stood up, trying to distribute his weight the best he could across the entire truck.  He didn’t like where he was one bit.  He moved with great care into the sleeper. His Saiga .308 had fallen between his bed and the cabinet on the driver side. He was  grateful that it hadn't gone flying out of the shattered window and into that dark abyss.  It seems he'd got way too friendly with a tree or two, it had NOT been a smooth ride.  In fact, he noticed...all the windows were broken or shattered.....and there was glass everywhere.  


Cod  was careful as he slung his weapon  over his right shoulder, it had a loaded magazine in the receiver. What good was an empty gun, after all?


Next he opened the top cabinet on the right side, ever so slowly... fearing that any little move could send the truck flying off the edge of the cliff.  He reached into the cabinet and slowly pulled out an Army ruck pack that he'd picked up some time ago at an Army surplus store. The pack itself was rated to hold 100 pounds, his held 80.


It held everything that he had thought would be useful in any sort of survival situation. Just because he was a truck driver didn't mean that he was dumb. Anything could happen while he was on the road. He could break down in the middle of nowhere and not be able to get to anybody. Or he could end up stranded after a flash flood or a bad storm, be 100 feet from civilization yet be completely isolated.  He had to admit though, he hadn’t thought much of alternate universes when he’d packed.


So he pulled out his ruck sack. It contained matches, a few lighters of different varieties, a mess kit, a bit of silverware, enough MRE's to last him a week, a pup tent that was made to hold two people, a space blanket, hand warmers, an assortment of knives, a gallon of whiskey, a holdout .308 pistol along with four seven round magazines, a multi-tool shovel/axe combination, a box of tools, a variety of flashlights and 80 feet of parachute cord. Oddly enough it had no parachute.  He'd never before considered the need for one.


He slung that over his left shoulder. Cord noticed movement in the corner of his eye, turned slowly, and saw his ammunition bandolier swinging on the edge of his armrest. Not knowing where he was, what could be out there, he may very well need all those bullets. It held both the ammunition for his Saiga and for his STI Tactical single stack 1911. There were eight of the 30 round magazines for the AK based battle rifle and six 10 round magazines for the .45 pistol holstered on his hip
.
He was sure glad that he wasn't a Glock nut like some of the people he had conversations with on social networks. Glocks were known for failing, a lot, when it came down to living or dying. Kind of like AR's. There was a reason there were so many damned parts available for them, as you'd need to replace a good deal of the functions if you shot the gun enough. The 1911's, especially by STI, were made to get the hell beat out of them repeatedly and continue to deliver. They would take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.


 He carefully retrieved the ammo and put it and  all these items on his bed..firmly against the back wall and sat down himself.  The Old Man sat there in the truck and considered his situation.  The front end of the truck hung over space.  It was a freaking LONG way down from where he looked out the side window.  He opened a sleeper door and looked out.
Yup.  Way far down.  He hurriedly shut the door.


He wasn't as agile as he used to be. Back when he was a youngster he MIGHT have been able to swing from a door and grabbed hold of something and make his way back to the rear of the cab. onto the catwalk between the headache rack and the trailer.


Not happening now...not with his weight, and the weight of his weapons  and all his emergency supplies.


Swinging out of the sleeper doors was even worse.


Of course he could kick out  what was left of the windshield and climb out on the hood and climb up over the roof...


Sure he could....he could just as easily sprout wings and fly.  With the way the truck felt he certainly did NOT want to get out past the center of balance over the canyon....No....not at all.  Nope...he wanted to stay in the back of the bus...so to speak, far back agains the wall.
.
.......and his mind came back to  "emergency supplies, one each, multi-tool/shovel-axe.


Axe.


He grinned.  There just might be a way out of this after all.
He  retreived his axe and  began to chop a hole in the back of his sleeper.  It was merely soft aluminium , fabric, and fiber glass.  He didn't make a pretty hole but he made a hole. He opened the far side sleeper door and threw his scraps out the opening....


And there he was staring at the front of his, very expensive, cabinet type headache rack, also made of aluminium.  He kept chopping. .  He dumped these pieces straight down between the frame  rails...he still couldn’t even see the bottom. They fell a long, long way.


From inside the headache rack it was damn near impossible to open the thing...until he destroyed  the latches and opened a door.


Now he had unobstructed clearance to get OUT of there. He revoved the air and electrial lines and tossed them over the top...he didn’t want to get them hung up on his gear.  He gathered up his 'stuff' and started to leave...then thought for a minute.
He climbed down off the trailer and carefully set his go-to-hell- bag and all his weapons in a safe location back away from the side of the cliff. He pocketed a pistol .then began to clean out the headache rack.  He had some long chains in there...and some tools.  Like a sledge hammer.  He drug them all out, along with some ratchet binders.
Then he began to look for some sufficiently large trees.  He spotted several. He immediately chained the trailer to the trees and used the ratchet binders to snug it tight. Now he was less worried about the whole thing  falling over the edge.


 Big sigh of relief. Cord opened a thermos of coffee and poured a cup... and sat back to think. Up to now he'd been running on pure adrenalin and just reacting.  Now he had time to make a plan.


He noticed that The war-wagon had a winch, two of them actually....one front and one rear.  Whoever fitted that thing out wasn’t interested in staying stuck..
 
The next step would be to unlock the WarWagon and  move junk out of the cab and see if it'd fire up. Then release the winch and drag the line out to a BIG tree. It was a big spool...perhaps it had several hundred foot of line.


Perhaps that winch would pull everything back from the edge.
.
Right now he'd sip on coffee and think. He scanned the immediate area...and looked up a little.


“By the Lies of Bambi” he swore.” what is that?  Looking up he saw......a........bat?  Hovering there watching him?  How long had it been there?   It was a really, really odd looking bat. Nooooo...it was a small cat with wings, a kitten really......and it was hovering silently...and it was  watching.