This is the sobering tale of the fine line between acceptance of your lot and breaking free (hers) and between sanity and madness (mine).
The 40 ton rig pulled into the truck stop, the door on the driver’s side opened and a shapely leg appeared. The driver descended from the cab and using the wing mirror applied her lipstick. She walked off across the muddy yard towards the pub, she found it difficult to walk in her high stilletos and as she stubbed her toes she was pleased that she had steel toe-caps in her tights, the only concession she made to her trucker’s life. She entered the pub and marched purposefully to the dartboard and chalked flp? (feel lucky punk? ).
She perched on a barstool and ordered a pint of lager and lime, give them a chance for a while she thought. She opened her leather trucker’s jerkin and revealed a thick leather belt around her waist, from it hung a bum bag and on each hip was a holster. From the left holster she took her cigarettes, blue super kings, the only mild thing about her. She took the gum out of her mouth and stuck it under the stool, for later, and put a cigarette in. She took her darts from the other holster and laid them on the bar, she took one of her darts and started to clean the days grime from her nails. She spent this quiet moment reflecting back over the path she had taken.
It all seemed to start with her defeat in a local dart competition, sure her opponent had been a good player but she felt she should have won. To have gone out of the competition before the quarter finals wasn’t funny, she vowed then
“never again will I lose unless I choose”
She was the mother of 4 fine girls and had spent her younger years bringing them up. Now they had all left home and were ploughing their own furrows. Now she would be able to be selfish and this defeat had struck deep into her soul. Nobody could ever understand the anguish she felt. How could she face her old life, she picked up her cigarettes and darts (she would need them to remind her why she had done what she was about to do) and left the pub and to start a new life.
As she drove through the pouring rain in her battered Ford Fiesta she suddenly was hit by the decision she had taken, what could she do now? She couldn’t join the foreign legion but suddenly it occurred to her as she drove, she loved driving, yes that was it she would become a trucker. Yes she could be alone there, the open road wouldn’t let her down.
The next few years were lonely ones and filled with much hard work, training for the licence that she would need to get the big trucks (she wanted the biggest truck she could get). That and the constant dart practice in her small room were her life now.
But that was all in the past now, she sat at the bar, she felt much better after a cigarette and with now manicured nails she felt like a woman again and started a conversation with another trucker Steve who had just come in.
“You smell a bit, what are you carrying?”
“Lovely greeting, I’ve just delivered a load of stinking goats” replied Steve “well they told me they were goats but they looked more like sheep to me.”
“Sounds like you had a load of sheepskin goats to me.” Giggled Sandie
“OK very funny” said Steve “now listen to this story that a café owner on the A1 told me about old Bert.
Bert is in this bloke’s transport cafe about to tuck into a massive cooked breakfast, when a gang of Hells-Angels come in. They steal his sausages, nick his chips, drink his tea and flick ash on him. Our Bert says nothing but just walks out and gets into his lorry. A few minutes later the leader of the gang is talking to the cafe owner.
“Not much of a man was he?”
“ Not much of a driver either, he’s just driven his lorry over your bikes.”
They both sat and had a good laugh, Bert wasn’t a man to be pissed about with. But it wasn’t long until a young dart-slinger came up and accepted her challenge.
Sandie got up and made her way to be dartboard. It was still early, this would only be limbering up, she would only earn a mobile phone or a gold chain out of this but it would help her loosen up for the big boys later. She enjoyed these tussles, it all depended on how much she liked the challengers as to how much they lost, one flash bastard left without his trousers. However people who were betting to feed families usually won.
As the night wore on and the car park began to fill with flash cars she changed her drink to vodka and coke, a harder drink for harder competitors.
The stakes were high (the pork chops weren’t very nice either), this was where she made her money, smuggling fags and booze weren’t so lucrative these days and she didn’t hold with drugs. She had won many sets of car keys and a lot of money.
Early in the morning the pub finally closed its doors, a tired but happy Sandie left with bulging pockets and went back to her lorry. It was easy to recognise, she knew sun strips were tacky but she liked them, across the top of the windscreen was written
I’m the best truck in town
She patted its radiator and climbed aboad for the night.
Ralph ‘Wheelchair Trucker’ Edmunds