Monday, May 01, 2017

The Rookie (Part One)

I am working on a collection of short stories about truck driving. The one excerpted below is the first one I've finished. I plan to submit them for publication individually and then publish them all together in a single book.

Here is the first part of "The Rookie."

It was a Sunday afternoon in October. Vance Brigham wasn't used to working on the weekend yet. He'd gone through truck driver training in June, learning to back what seemed like a huge rig between a couple cones at a 45 degree angle. Blodgett, one of two driver trainers, he of the grizzled, tall skinny variety, who smoked every free chance he could get and had 20 years experience, warned the class, "There's no such thing as nine to five in truck driving." He wasn't lying. A driver's schedule depends on the delivery. Some guys will find a way to regulate their schedule. But not rookies.

This greenhorn inescapable truth of truck driving is why Vance was pounding gears down I-80, escaping Chicagoland, housing tracts finally giving way to corn fields, on a Sunday morning. Some mom and pop out in Bum Flippin' Egypt had a live load appointment with his name on it.

But weekend work was still work. And Vance was glad to have a job.  Traffic was light. A breeze was kicking up some warm air, but the leaves were still wet and clumpy from a long overnight rain. He got off at the exit and took the four lane state highway towards downtown. The truck GPS and his phone directions concurred. Take a left on Biloxie and the shipper should be on the right half a mile down.

Vance put on his signal, but as he made his turn, he was wary and slowed to a crawl. Houses on both sides of the street. A neighborhood. No place for a semi. These streets were TIGHT. But there were no signs indicating "no trucks" or weight limits.  And he could see, off in the distance, a squat blue warehouse with a yard and two docks. The shipper. The destination. A mom and pop street for a mom and pop shipper.

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