About Me

I feel the wanderlust and the call of the open highway. Which is good, because I drive cars for a living. But I'm a writer, and someday hope to once again make my living using my writing skills.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Valentine's Day was the Monday before last, and I found myself feeling sort of blue. It has been some time since I had a Valentine I could call my own, and I admit to being a hopeless romantic. I can deal with having no steady girlfriend normally, but on this one day each year it can be tough.

As I drove through the state of Tennessee, I pulled out my cell phone and decided to call Karen at work. I dialed the Cafe in downtown Indianapolis, and had to explain myself to an employee who clearly screened each call very carefully. I was put on hold for ten minutes, and finally Karen picked up.

"Happy Valentine's Day, sweetie," I said.

"Who is this? Why are you bothering me?" she responded.

My heart sunk. She didn't even know it was me? "Karen, it's Bill, Bill Thomas."

She laughed. "I know it's you, Bill. Just playing around with you."

"Oh, good. I thought you forgot me or something."

"I could never forget you no matter how hard I tried."

"Please don't try."

"I won't, knucklehead. You're crazy, you know that?"

"I'm well aware," I said. "Listen, I'm feeling a bit lonely, and I was just wondering if... I mean, would it be OK to ask you to be my platonic Valentine?"

She snorted. "Platonic Valentine?"

"I know you are spoken for, I know you have a girlfriend. So I'm just asking if I can be your Valentine friend. Please?"

"Bill, Bill, what am I going to do with you. You are such a silly goose. I will be your Valentine, if you'll be mine."

"You mean real honest to goodness Valentine?"

"Yep. No platonic, no Valentine friend. You got me, this is the real thing."

"What about your girl?"

"What about her? She can get her own Valentine. Besides, we both know how much I lust for you."

I was stunned. "What? Really? You do?"

I heard unbridled laughter on the other end of the phone. "You are too much."

"Oh, I get it. Very funny, ha ha."

"OK Bill, all kidding aside, I will be honored to be your Valentine. You know that I love you, and I always will. Now can I get back to work? We're pretty busy."

"Sure, go, absolutely. Hey, thanks for making my day."

"You got it." Karen hung up, and I felt a sense of elation. I knew I wouldn't have a date that night, but hundreds of miles away I did have my Valentine. My first love. And that's about the time I noticed the flashing blue lights behind me.

As I pulled over to the shoulder, I noticed it was an unmarked green sedan. I was thinking to myself, If Only they would be in regular cop cars, I could see them and make sure I was doing the speed limit. But I decided not to share that with the officer. Especially when I looked in my side view mirror and saw him walking up, scowling.

I smiled and held my Driver's License out the window. The officer, wearing what looked like a local county Sheriff's uniform, seemed to be in a very bad mood. "Do you know why I stopped you, sir?"

"Was I speeding, officer?"

"You cut across two lanes, you didn't use your blinker, and I clocked you going over 80 mph. License, insurance and registration please."

I already had the license out and handed it to him. Then suddenly, I remembered that when I picked up this car in Virginia, it had no registration or insurance card. The previous owner just said he had lost it. My heart began beating fast, and I suddenly turned to the officer and asked, "Are you having a nice day, sir?"

His face went from stone to a momentary surprised goofy look as he tried to suppress a chuckle. "I'm having a real nice day, or at least I was."

"Happy Valentines Day to you," I said as cheerfully as possible. And then I picked up my official paperwork from Drivers of America for transporting the car. "Here's my papers, if you're interested. I'm moving this car."

"Wait a second. You drive for a living?"

"Yes sir, I do."

"So do you always drive like this?" he asked as he examined the paperwork.

"No sir."

"Then why were you today?"

"There was a bad accident on the freeway about 30 miles back." I could tell by the look on his face that the officer knew all about it. "It kept me sitting for over an hour and put me behind schedule. Today is Valentines Day, and I have a beautiful girl waiting for me to show up and take her out to dinner tonight. I hate to disappoint a lady, so I guess I got a bit aggressive. I meant no disrespect, and I apologize and am prepared to face the consequences."

The officer handed me back the paperwork. And then he studied my license and nodded his head. "Drive more carefully, and go treat that lady right." He handed me my license.

"Oh I will sir, you can count on that." The officer walked back to his car, and I carefully made my way back onto the freeway. There was no date and no dinner waiting for me, but Karen said she'd be my Valentine and I didn't get a ticket. All in all, a pretty good day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I love the state of South Carolina. It is very beautiful, and the people are all very friendly there. Also, if you head north up I-95, you will see billboards every few miles for South Of The Border, a cheap little amusement park just a few feet south of the North Carolina border.

When I recently delivered a car to Bluffton, SC, near Hilton Head, Riff called to tell me there was a car to pick up in Savannah, GA. "Get the car in Savannah and take it to Detroit. Think you can handle that, Sunshine?"

"Yes, Riff."

"Try to do a respectable job, if that's even possible for you."

"I will."

"You better!" The line went dead, and it sounded like Riff had slammed down the phone. Now I had to find a way to get from Bluffton to Savannah, whereas before I only had to get myself into Hilton Head. As I drove to Bluffton, I called various cab companies and all of them refused to take me. The issue was that they would be crossing state lines, although the total distance was less than 40 miles.

Finally I happened onto an ad that said "SKYDANCER-- we'll take you anywhere." I called and the phone rang for a long time.

"Hello," a voice growled on the tenth ring. "Hello, who is this?"

"Is this Skydancer?"

"Nope, this is Clay."

"Sorry," I said, "I must have the wrong number."

"You looking for Skydancer Taxi?"

"Yes I am."

"You got it, this is Clay. Who am I speaking to?"

"Bill Thomas."

"Hello Billy, how can I help you today?"

"Can you get me from Bluffton to Savannah?"

"Ah, good old Bluffton. I know it well, been there many times. Where are
you headed?"


"Savannah, Georgia? What a beautiful place. It's just down the road a piece. Yep, we can get you there, if that's what you really want."

"Um, yes, it is."

"Good, good, give me the address and I'll be right over."

"I'm not there just yet, I should arrive in an hour."

"OK, why don't you call us when you get there. Then we'll get right over there." Clay hung up abruptly.

After I'd made the delivery, I walked up the block to a Diner in Bluffton and called Clay at Skydancer. He said he'd be right over. And just over an hour later, he showed up. He was in an 1960 Chevrolet Bel Air. Clay was in the Driver's seat, and next to him in the passenger seat was a golden retriever. "Welcome to our taxi," said Clay as I climbed in the back.

I reached up to pet the dog. I can't resist, I really do love dogs. "Hi boy, how are you?"

"Don't touch him!" Clay quickly warned me. "Oh Lord no, do not touch that dog. He can't stand to be touched."

I settled back into my seat. "Sorry, I had no idea."

"Well now you know. Where are we headed?"

"Still headed to Savannah."

"Savannah, Georgia? That's in a whole 'nuther state." Clay began to laugh heartily. "Pardon my pun. But don't you worry, we will get you there. Sit back and enjoy Skydancer Taxi." The dog began to growl. Clay looked over at him and said, "Really? No I don't get that feeling about this guy at all." The dog whined, then sneezed. "You are correct, he isn't much to look at. But he's a human being, so we need to treat him with a certain amount of respect. Right?" The dog barked, and Clay said, "It's just like you to say something like that."

I sat in the back seat riding and wondering about their conversation. "So does your dog like riding in the cab with you?"

Clay turned and looked over his shoulder at me. "Now that has to be one of the dumbest questions I have ever been asked. I started this one man operation when Skydancer my dog suggested it. He told me that we needed to create a business together, as partners. He would be the brains of the operation, and I would do the driving. So far, its worked out pretty good. Skydancer had the best idea that ever entered my life."

I leaned forward to the dog. "Hello, Skydancer."

Clay slowly turned and glared at me with contempt. "What did you just say?"

"I was saying hello to Skydancer."

"Why in the name of all that's holy would you call him that?"

"Isn't that his name?"

"Skydancer was my dog for 15 years, he helped me establish this company. He died a respectable death. This is his son."

I felt badly. "Listen, I meant no offense. What's his son's name?"

"Skydancer 2."

I sat silently for a moment absorbing this. Skydancer 2 turned and looked at me, and then let out a big yawn.

"Oh, somebody is tired today," Clay said to the dog. "Did someone stay out all night last night partying again? Chasing all the bitches in heat in the neighborhood? Yeah, I know about you, you old dog." Skydancer 2 whimpered. "Well you have no one to blame but yourself for burning the candle at both ends. That's how a fella gets worms."

"Excuse me Clay, how long will it take us to get to Savannah?"

"Why, you in a hurry?"

"What? No, I was just curious."

"Curiosity killed the cat." The dog uttered a deep growl, and Clay smiled at him. "Yes sir, I know exactly how you feel about cats. You've brought enough of them home ripped to pieces. Yes you have. Yes you have."

"I never asked how much it would cost for the ride to Savannah."

Clay shook his head. "That's an awfully personal question. I just met you, Billy."

"I think its a reasonable question."

"You would." Skydancer 2 barked very lightly, with a hushed tone. "You're so right, he is one for the books. I don't know how we get so many crazies riding in this taxi. What are your thoughts?" The dog just panted with his tongue hanging out. "You can say that again." Woof-woof. "OK, OK, we can stop for ice cream after we drop off old Mr. Sad Sack here in the back seat. You want hand dipped or soft serve?" Ruff-ruff. Clay giggled like a child. "I might have known you'd say that."

When we got to Savannah, Clay found the address and dropped me off. "Thanks so much for the ride, I really enjoyed it."

"Please don't say that if you don't mean it, Billy."

"I do, Clay. How much do I owe you?"

"Well, I've been talking to my partner about it, and we decided to charge you one dollar per mile. So how about 40 bucks?"

"That's a deal."

"Not so fast... you also have to buy us both ice cream."

I nodded. "Sure, no problem, I'll give you a big enough tip that you can both get double dip cones."

"Skydancer 2 prefers a hot fudge sundae."

"No problem, but I don't think dogs should eat chocolate."

"Mind your own business. To be honest, I didn't think much of you when you climbed in. But Skydancer 2 really stood up for you, he made a case for what a great guy you are. You must have a way with dogs."

I paid them, got my bag, and walked towards the house to pick up my next car. I love all dogs, and meeting Skydancer 2 was a treat. Maybe next time through, Clay will let me pet him.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


On my way to deliver a car in Oakland, CA, I passed through Reno, NV. I was trying to decide whether to go to the casinos and do a little bit of gambling. After 14 hours of driving, I definitely needed a rest and to really stretch my legs.

I pulled into a gas station with a mini-mart attached. I tried using a credit card at the pump, but the pump was not cooperating. So I knew this meant I would have to go into the store and pay. On my way inside, I saw a man rolling towards me in a wheelchair. His legs ended at the knee, just like Lt. Dan in FORREST GUMP, but he had blood smeared all over the stumps. It was a gory sight, and I tried to look away.

"Hey Mister, can you help a guy out?"

"Sorry," I said.

"No, no, don't be sorry, just dig down deep and help me out. Help out
old Wheelchair Freddie."

Normally I try to give people in need a little something, even though I don't have much myself. But I was in a bad mood, I had a headache, and I just couldn't look at those bloody stumps. "Sorry man."

He wheeled himself quickly into my path. "Hey man, I'm a veteran. Don't you want to help
out a vet in need?"

"It's not like that."

"It's exactly like that. What did I ever do to you to deserve this?"

"I'm paying with credit cards, I don't have cash." Which was true, and reminded me that I needed to find an ATM machine after I got gas.

"Wheelchair Freddie is reaching out to you. I'm reaching out to you, man! Don't let me down, please, not again, I don't think I could bear it." He looked like he was about to cry. But I seriously didn't have any cash.

"I'm sorry, Wheelchair Freddie."

"Oh, man. I can't believe this. Wheelchair Freddie is hungry, can't you just feed a guy? I fought for your freedom in some other country."

"And I appreciate it. I admire you and respect you and salute you."

"Sure, but you can't dig around in your stingy pockets and find something for good
old Wheelchair Freddie."

I shrugged and kept on walking, feeling a bit guilty. I went in and prepaid on my credit card, then went to the bathroom. I went out to my car and pumped it full of gas. Then I got back into the car and noticed the envelope sitting on top of my paperwork in the passenger seat. Often times I collect change in an envelope on my road trips so it doesn't slide out of pockets and get lost in the seat cushions. I picked it up and found it quite hefty, containing several dollars worth at least.

Quickly, I hopped out of the car and hurried back towards the front of the store carrying the envelope. But he was gone. As I walked back to the car, I saw something on the side of the building. It was dark, but I could just make out a wheelchair there. As I got nearer, I could see he had his back to me, but was vigorously rubbing his knees.

"Hey Wheelchair Freddie," I said with a smile. "Look, I found a bunch of change, maybe five dollars worth. Hope that will help."

Wheelchair Freddie turned around quickly, and even in the shadows I could clearly see a tube of Vampire's Blood on his lap. His hands were covered in it, as he was putting a fresh coat on the end of his stumps. I remembered using Vampire's Blood (fake blood) when I was a kid to accentuate my Halloween costume. "Uh-oh, looks like you caught Wheelchair Freddie in the act."

I fumbled as I said, "Uh, no, I, here's the, I mean just--"

"It's cool, old Wheelchair Freddie just has to do what a man has to do to get a little money. I find that people respond to blood, it helps empty out their pockets a bit. Know what I mean?"
I nodded blankly. He reached out and grabbed the envelope. "I can still keep the money, right?"

"Uh, sure."

"I mean I am Wheelchair Freddie, I am crippled and in a wheelchair, I need money to eat just like a man with legs does."

"Of course."

"What are you trying to say? You don't think I deserve it?"

"No, you deserve it. I want you to have it."

"Wheelchair Freddie fought for you in the Korean War, and don't you forget it." He looked to be about 40, and I was doing the math in my head about how old he would have been during the Korean War. He pointed his finger at me. "Wheelchair Freddie won't forget this, if you ever need a favor, just look me up. I'm usually right here."

Good to know for future reference that if I ever need help in Reno, Wheelchair Freddie will be there for me, probably with a fresh coat of Vampire's Blood. As I was driving slowly away, I saw him lifting himself using his arms, and then his full legs miraculously appeared from under him. They were somehow folded underneath. He hopped up and began to push his wheelchair away in front of him, as I stared at him with my jaw dropped down into my lap.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


My old buddy Johnny Hazzard is now a successful attorney living in Miami. We went to High School and college together, then he left Alabama to go to law school. He and I stayed in touch for a while, but I had lost all contact with him just after 2001. So I was thrilled when he found me via Facebook. He said that he loved the Blogs, and would like very much to see me next time I'm in Miami.

So when I got a car going there, I called in advance and made a lunch appointment with his secretary. She was a jolly and effusive woman, and said she had heard all about me. She had even read my Blogs, which sort of surprised me. But in a good way.

I arrived at the Law Office in downtown Miami 15 minutes early, and the secretary (Ms. Coral) met me at the reception desk and took me back to his office. Johnny came out and greeted me with a hug, and seemed genuinely glad to see me. "Bill, how long has it been?"

"Too long, Johnny," I said warmly.

"I go by John now," he informed me. "Thank you Ms. Coral, you can take your lunch now." Without hesitation, she grabbed her purse and made haste for the elevator. "Come on into the office, Bill. I have a few things to tie up before we leave. Watch your step, we've been having something of a rodent problem here."

"You look great, John."

"I've been working out regularly at the gym, six days a week. I'm toned and ready for action. You look good, also."

"Thanks, but no I don't. I've been sitting on my butt driving cars around the USA, and living on a diet of Wendy's and McDonald's drive thru."

"Not good."

"No, not good." I saw a picture of his wife and kid on the desk. "I can't believe you finally tied the knot."

"Neither can I, everyone thought I was a confirmed bachelor. Then I met Sheila at the last firm where I worked, and she had the foreboding presence of Darth Vader. Some of my associates swore that when she walked by, they could hear Darth Vader's theme music from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK."

"The Imperial March."

John grinned. "Yes! So naturally I was intrigued, as I have always been by the dark and slightly evil side of life. Then I married her, and it turns out she was really an angel." He snapped his fingers. "Just my luck!"

"What's your son's name?"

"That's Richie, and he's my pride and joy. I never guessed that I'd be a Father. He's a real chip off the old block, five years old and smart as a whip. Last week, we were driving down the highway and Richie saw a racoon laying on the shoulder of the road. He asked me what was wrong with it, and I explained that it was tired so it was sleeping. Richie accepted that explanation. But then a few days later, we passed another animal that was ripped to pieces and spread bloodily along a fairly long stretch of highway. It was another racoon, but you could only tell that by the severed tail. Richie looked at me dubiously and asked, 'Is this one sleeping too, Daddy?' I tell you, my boy is a pistol."

"You have a really nice office here, John."

"This is a great firm, I'm so happy to have landed here. Good folks to work with, lots of interesting cases. You know, I was going to ask you to consider getting off the road and coming here, to work as a runner for us."


"Yes, but then I wondered if you really wanted to get off the road or not? A driving fool must always have new material to write about."

"Well there's no shortage of that. But I would be very interested in speaking to someone about the job."

"Sorry old man, but one of the partners here brought in his own guy. A former personal driver for his Great Aunt. His name is Tyrell, and I have to say he is one of the most affable fellows you've ever met."

"You talking about me?" said Tyrell, as he poked his head into the office.

"Yes we were. Tyrell, I want you to meet one of my oldest and dearest friends, Bill Thomas. Bill, this is Tyrell."

We shook hands, and Tyrell flashed a million dollar smile at me. He was a tall, bald man dressed impeccably. "You both need to watch out for the mice now. I've been dealing with the problem and its out of control. Such a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Bill Thomas. A real pleasure indeed."

"Now Tyrell, don't forget to get those papers out to my client in Homestead before the end of business today," John instructed.

"Oh no sir, I won't be able to do that."

"Beg pardon? Why not?"

"I've got to go to the courthouse today."

"No problem, just drop off in Homestead after you've dropped off at the courthouse."

"Well, its not exactly a drop off."

"Not a drop off at the court house? I'm confused."

"Well, it is and it isn't. You see what I mean?"

John shook his head. "Frankly, I don't understand at all, Tyrell."

"Mr. Hazzard, I don't have nothing to drop off there, I'm going to appear
in court today. But my real concern is the mice, they are big and mean."

"Appear? For what?"

"Its all just one big misunderstanding. I'm a college graduate."

"Can you explain? What are the charges?"

Tyrell chuckled and shrugged. "Home invasion. Can you believe that?"

John was taken aback. "No, in fact I can't believe it. How were you wrongly charged with this crime?"

"I don't know, I wasn't even in the residence."

"You weren't?"

"No sir, not even close."

"Where were you then? Do you have an alibi?"

"Yes sir, I sure do. I was sitting outside in the car at the time."

"So... So you're saying you were at the scene of the crime, but you
were out in the car at the time?"

"Yes sir, with the motor running."

John took in a deep breath. "Why was the motor running?"

"For a quick getaway, just to be safe."

"OK then, so you were participating in the home invasion?"

"Oh no, no, no, not me. I was just doing a favor for some friends."

"A favor?"

"Sir, I have a Bachelor's Degree, and I don't break the law. Some friends asked me
for a ride, and I took them without knowing what their business was. A complete

John looked over at me with a bemused expression. "The partners are going to want to look into this, Tyrell, as I'm sure you understand."

"Can I just say one thing? Watch out for those mice, because they are running rampant around here, and I am terrified of them. That's it, I'm done." Tyrell marched off, very much to the beat of his own drummer.

"Wow," I said. "That was very entertaining."

"Sorry Bill, that was a bit unexpected," John told me.

"No problem, I liked listening to his perspective of the situation."

"It's cockeyed! Enough of this, let me take you to the nicest place
you'll ever eat lunch. It's called --"

John was interrupted by a shrieking sound, which we soon saw was Tyrell running by incredibly fast on his tip toes screaming, "Miiiiiice! Three of them! Multiple miiiiiiice!"

We went and had in fact the best lunch I can ever remember. We reminisced on good times, talked about dreams for the future. John introduced me to something called Lobster Bisque. And we couldn't help but think of Tyrell, terrorized by multiple mice on the same day he had to go to court.