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, August 31, 2011


The fourth and final part of my trek from coast to coast was anything but all downhill. I left the village in Oklahoma, and after a brief drive through the top of Texas, I had to get across New Mexico and Arizona. Easier said than done in the Ice Cream truck, because it had a governor on the engine. It could not even get up to 70mph. And the speed limit on Interstate 40 was 75mph, so I had a lot of drivers very pissed off at me. All I wanted to do was get out to my destination.

Soon after I had crossed over the California state line, my boss Riff called on my cell phone. “Hey cream puff, why have you not delivered in San Diego yet?”

“Good morning to you, Riff.”

“Answer the damn question!”

“This truck doesn’t move very fast. I am making the best time possible.”

“Well guess what, that’s not good enough for me. Now hurry up and get there so you can get the truck weighed, certified, smog check, inspection, and then registered and tagged.”

“Wait just a second, you never told me any of this.”

“Oh, didn’t I? Well I’m telling you now, little princess. You get all that done and get it delivered.”

“Where do I go to do all of that?”

“That’s for me to know and you to find out. You’re a semi-resourceful guy, you figure it out.”

I spent the next few hours on my cell phone finding all the different places I’d have to go to accomplish this. It began to sound like all that extra stuff was going to take me an extra day, and I was anxious to get to Los Angeles and meet with the Producers who are interested in making A DRIVING FOOL into a TV series. But before I could go to L.A., I had to get this truck delivered. The sound system kicked in, and I began to sing at the top of my lungs “London Bridges falling down, falling down, falling down. London Bridges falling down, my fair lady!”

I also made some calls and found that after I dropped off the Ice Cream truck at a warehouse, I would have to walk a mile, then take 3 buses to get to a train that would take me to L.A. The total trip would be about 6 hours, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. I’d start the process first thing the next morning.

The inspections and certifications were time consuming, as expected. Yet the real nightmare was at the DMV, where I waited for 5 hours in line, then had some serious hassles getting the truck registered. I had to ask for the man in charge, and luckily he walked me through it. When I was done, I knew that I had 22 miles to drive to the warehouse that would end the trip. And it was then, in the middle of the hot afternoon, that the truck started pulling hard to the left. I pulled off the road and got out, just as LONDON BRIDGES began to play again. I examined the tires, and saw that there was a huge screw/bolt of some type sticking out of the front left tire. Great, just great. Another delay. So I called Riff to tell him.

“What did you do? What the hell did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything, the tire ran over it.”

“Oh, you think so? Couldn’t you have driven around it, Susie Q?”

“I didn’t see it.”

“You need to keep your eyes open when you’re driving. Find a Firestone or some place and get it fixed. But do it quick, dammit, and get that truck delivered!”

I found a tire store in short order, and the man who waited on me was very nice and a bit on the hefty side. He asked me questions about my job, and seemed genuinely interested. I explained that I was on a tight schedule, and about how I had to take multiple buses to get to the train. He kindly offered to pick me up at the warehouse and take me directly to the train station. Then the good news came that they wouldn’t have to replace the tire, but could actually repair the damage. This would save me time, and doubtless make Riff happy. If that’s even possible.

Once the tire was fixed, I drove to the warehouse and signed off on the paperwork. I grabbed my bags, and as I walked off LONDON BRIDGES began to play once again. It was as if the Ice Cream truck was saying goodbye to me, and all I could think was Good Riddance.

The man from the tire store soon pulled into the lot to fetch me. His name was Paul, and I was surprised when I got into the car because he was fully decked out as Elvis Presley. Older, fatter Elvis in fact. “Hop on in,” he told me. “I’m gonna take you to the train, then I’ve got an Elvis convention to get to. So I’m kinda in a hurry.” And boy, was he, for I hadn’t even closed my car door before he stomped on the gas and we were flying. He began to sing VIVA LAS VEGAS, and someone cut us off in traffic. “Ooo, did you see that? Payback, baby, payback!” Paul began chasing the offender, and I was holding tight to the Oh My God bar just above the door. Paul cut in front of the guy and slammed on his brakes.

“I guess that taught him,” I said.

“Woo! Woo!” yelled Paul, sounding like a choo choo train blowing its whistle. “The Elvis Express is on the move, and ain’t nothin’ gonna stop us now. I got a hunka hunka burning rubber! Woo! Woo!” And the ride just got wilder from there. Paul turned onto a street and the traffic was stopped, so he quickly turned right into an alleyway, and we were flying along this narrow alley at top speeds. My heart was beating about a million miles per hour, and I hoped that I’d make it to L.A. alive. Then Paul turned on his car stereo, and JAILHOUSE ROCK came on. He sang along with Elvis, and I kept on trying to hit the non-existent passenger side brakes to avoid hitting other cars. We came to another traffic backup, and he turned into a residential driveway and cut across a few yards. Even with the air conditioner pumping ice cold air into the car, I was sweating like a condemned man sitting in the electric chair. I could see the train station one block over, and then Paul came up fast on a car that slammed on the brakes. Paul hit his brakes, and we skidded to a stop one inch from the car in front of us.

“I’ll get out here, the train is over there.”

“No, we’re almost there,” he said.

“This is close enough, I appreciate the ride, hope you enjoy your Elvis party, thanks so much for everything, goodbye.” I was grabbing my bag and hopping out as I said all this, and slammed the door quickly before he could protest further. I walked one block over to the train station, and got there 2 minutes before the train arrived. I rode to L.A., and fell fast asleep on the train.

Once I arrived in the City of Angels, my friend Tim Harrigan picked me up and took me to his house to take a shower. I put on my best outfit, and then Tim drove me over to the office of the Producers. We had a very nice meeting, and they were extremely encouraging. These are true professionals, and they know their stuff. I won’t mention their names for the sake of discretion, but I can tell you that I think the world of them. Not only are they shrewd and savvy business people, but I’m proud to call them my new friends. They told me that had recruited two ladies who are experts at selling projects. And they wanted me to go meet with them that very day.

I got back into the car with Tim and asked if he could drive me over to Culver City, where these two ladies work. I told Tim all about it on the drive over, and he was fascinated. I began to get very excited, but tried to keep from getting my hopes up too high. I found that I was getting nervous about meeting them. This trip had been challenging, but it was turning into a productive and happy ending.

When I arrived at their office, I had to wait in the reception area for a bit until they were ready to see me. Then I was called into their office, and was greeted by two of the prettiest smiles I have ever seen. One look into their eyes, and I could see that these are true pros, determined women who get things done, who make things happen. They believed in me and my project. And suddenly I knew that I could not be in any better hands.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Part 3 of the cross country adventure picks up one day after I left Karen's Cafe in Indianapolis. I admit that the day I left there, I felt bittersweet emotions all day. I care about her so much, but I guess a romance between us is probably pretty unlikely at this point. I'm a hopeless romantic, that's for sure, but she's pretty set in her gays. I'll happily accept the gift of friendship and settle for that.

It would have been most direct to drive west across I-70, but I knew that would take me through some mountain terrain in Colorado, and this Ice Cream truck didn't seem up to the task. So I headed south for I-40, and late the next day I was on the west side of Oklahoma. I saw a lot of Indian sights and souvenirs and such. Wait, I'm sorry, I mean Native Americans. I do want to be politically correct. Anyhow, I love Native American Indians and their culture, I have ever since I was a kid. I loved John Wayne cowboy movies, but I was fascinated by Indians also. When I watched the Lone Ranger, it was Tonto that I found the most interesting.

And now here I was passing Rest Areas and Motels that looked like Tee-Pees, and billboards boasting real Indian blankets. I mean, Native American blankets. (But the billboards said Indian blankets.)

I had come to a dead stop due to a serious traffic jam on the Interstate. I had a headache, and sitting in a jam in the blazing sun only made it worse. After an hour of not moving, we began to creep slowly along. The Ice Cream truck chose this moment to begin blaring LONDON BRIDGES again. When I got over the next hill, I could see that we were being diverted onto an exit road. It took another 30 minutes before I got off, and when I did I pulled over at a gas station and parked around back. I rubbed my sore eyes and took a few deep breaths to calm down. I could feel my blood pressure rising, and that's never a good thing.

After a few minutes of sitting there, I suddenly became aware of a presence in the passenger seat. I turned and saw a big Native American Indian sitting there. It was Chief, from ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, the big Indian who befriends Jack Nicholson. He was dressed exactly as he was in the last scene of the movie. He didn't look at me, he just stared out the window, as if he was contemplating something he saw on the far horizon. "You have to be good to others."

"I... I always try to be good to other people."

He didn't seem to hear me, or to care. He just kept talking, almost as if I wasn't there. "Help other people when you can."

"I do. I will."

"Love thy neighbor."

"I agree."

"You must find the good within you and use it."


"Wherever you go, spread goodness. Plant the seeds of hope."

"I believe that, too"

"There is too much hate in the world, share some love."

"I will."

I was suddenly awakened by a horn blaring. It was my horn, and I realized my head had hit it when I fell on it. I had been sleeping. It was all a dream of course. Only... somehow it seemed very real to me. And the wisdom he was sharing with me really rang true with my own beliefs. I shook it off and started the truck.

The traffic on the small road was awful, because hundreds of cars had been diverted onto it from the Interstate. I was growing weary of sitting in stop and go, stop and go. Then I saw something that caught my attention. On the right side of the road was the entrance to a small village. It looked very poor, almost like a little "Mayberry" just off this back road highway. I needed a break, so I turned into the town.

As I drove along, I saw that most of the houses and buildings were in a serious state of disrepair. The people I saw looked very poor, and many of them had tattered clothes and no shoes. While I am sure that this was not representative of most Native American Indians, this little forgotten village had certainly seen better days. My heart went out to these people, and I wished that I were in a position to help them.

Without warning, LONDON BRIDGES began to play. I moaned in frustration, I was beginning to hate that song, and it blared so loudly my ears would ring. Then I looked in my left side view mirror, and I saw some children running after me. I looked in the right side view, and saw more children. I looked out the window and saw kids coming out their front doors. There were a whole lot of kids for such a small community, and they were following me like I was the Pied Piper.

I pulled over to the side of the road and parked. I got out and found myself surrounded by all of these adorable Native American Indian children. They ranged in age from about 3 years to early teens. And they were all shouting at once.

"Hey kids, I can't understand you."

"Ice cream!" yelled one of them right next to me. They all began to talk at once again.

"No, no, I'm just delivering this truck. I'm not the Ice Cream man. I don't have any..." And then I remembered Karen loading up my freezers the day before. "Who wants Ice Cream?" The kids all screamed. I climbed in the back of the truck and opened the side window. "You scream, I scream, we all scream." I opened the freezer doors and reached down inside to get the many boxes that Karen had so generously shared. I didn't take orders, I just tore open one box at a time and made sure that each child got one. A few of them grabbed two at a time when I held them out, but what can you do? They are kids, they do that stuff. I'm sure I would have when I was a young tyke. And it was all free, which was nice.

When all of the boxes were empty, I sat and watched them all enjoying their treats. It made me feel so good inside to bring a little joy into their lives. And it was such a simple way to do it, something so easy as giving away free ice cream could make them so happy. Their parents watched with big smiles on their faces. Several of the adults came and spoke to me, and thanked me for my kindness.

More and more people came up to me and asked me questions about my journey. I told them about my job. They told me about their culture. One family invited me to dinner, and I decided to stay. Why not? It was truly wonderful. An older gentleman told me that he and some of the other men were going into their sweat lodge that night, and asked me to come along. So after a delicious and unique dinner, I joined them. It was an experience unlike any that I've ever had. I saw things, really cool things, and my mind went to some places it has never been before. And that's saying something for me. I think I actually learned some things about myself through it all.

I woke up the next morning asleep on the ground. I was wearing only my boxer shorts, and my clothes were clean and folded neatly next to me. It was early, and I didn't see anyone around. I got dressed and climbed into the Ice Cream truck, knowing I had to get back down the road on my way to San Diego. But as I left I could picture the faces of the children as they enjoyed their ice cream. That is something I will never forget.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Part 2 of my cross country journey picks up after I left Philadelphia on my coast to coast trek. I drove all through the night to get to Indianapolis to see Karen, the girl I’ll love forever. Even if she is gay and I’m not exactly her “type.” She had called me to say that she had broken up with her girlfriend Cheryl and was shutting down the Café in downtown Indy. I thought I might get lucky and catch her before she headed east to Richmond to her new life.

I arrived in the outskirts of Indianapolis at 6am, and stopped the Ice Cream truck to get some gas. Diesel fuel only. What a joy it was to drive this vehicle, which had no radio or CD player, no cruise control, and had a governor on the engine that prevented it from going over 60mph. To add to my driving pleasure, periodically the speakers on top of the truck would start blaring LONDON BRIDGES, and wouldn’t stop until they were good and ready. The controls inside the truck were obviously hooked up wrong, or some kind of haywire thing.

While I was pumping gas, a proud Black man with a huge Afro cut and wearing a purple suit (like the Joker on BATMAN) walked up and smiled at me broadly. I could see his top two front teeth were missing. “Hello to you, sir.”


“Yes sir, and what a fine mornin’ it is. I see you are a fine gentleman, and wondered how you’d feel about giving me some cash money. I am very hungry about now.”

“All I have is my company gas credit card. I have to cash a check later today, I’ve got nothing.” I held up the credit card for him to see.

The man stared at the card and asked, “Now can you get some cash off of that card?”

“No, just gas.”

“But all I need is $1.50”

This was again one of “Bill’s people,” the uniquely strange people who pop up all over the USA as I travel. I chose to be proactive. “I will say a prayer for you.”

“Say what?”

“I will pray for you.”

“Pray that God is gonna put some cash in my pocket?”

“Pray for your life, for your soul, for your happiness.”

The man suddenly became rigid and devout. “Yes Lord!”

“God loves you.”

“Yes he does!”

“Jesus loves you.”

“I know he does!”

“For God so loved the world—“

He interrupted, “that he begat us a son to die for our sins.”

“Whosover believeth in him—“

“Lives forever and ever in Heaven and walks the streets of gold! Hallelujah!” At this point, the man seemed so jazzed he was bouncing back and forth from foot to foot. “Praise God!”

“God bless you,” I said, and hung the gas nozzle back on the pump.

“Say, you think you might just have 50 cent for me?”

I pulled my pockets inside out. “I got nothing.”

“OK.” He hung his head sadly and walked slowly away. “Have a blessed day.”

I drove on to the Café in the middle of downtown and parked on the street. No one was there yet, but I saw a bunch of packed boxes sitting in the middle of the Café through the front picture window. I waited an hour, and then Karen entered through the back door. When she saw me standing out front, she lit up like sunshine on a fresh summer day. She ran to the door and unlocked it, then jumped into my arms and hugged me very tightly.

“Good to see you, too,” I said, smiling.

“Boy did I need to see you.” She pulled back and looked into my eyes. “You always know the perfect time to show up. And on my last day here, tomorrow I leave for Richmond.”

“My lucky day.”

“Where are you headed?”

“San Diego.”

“What are you driving?” she asked, and I pointed at the Ice Cream truck. “You’re teasing me, right?”

“No, ma’am.”


“Dead serious.” Then as if on cue, LONDON BRIDGES started to play.

“How did you do that?” she asked me.

“The truck did it all by itself.”

“Oh boy, you’ve got a fun ride ahead.”

“You have no idea.”

Karen hugged me again and then stroked her knuckles against my cheek. It felt real good. “I am so incredibly glad to see you. Do you know how much you mean to me?” She leaned in and gave me a quick kiss on the lips.

At that very moment, the back door opened and Cheryl walked in. I had met her briefly once, and to say she was not fond of me would be severe understatement. From across the room, I could see her mouth silently form the words “Oh no.”

Karen turned and was surprised to see Cheryl. “What brings you here?”

“Just wanted to take one last look at the place.”

“Well get an eyeful, because after today its over.”

“I think it was over a long time ago.” There was a bitterness in Cheryl’s voice. She looked at me but spoke to Karen. “What’s he doing here?”

“He was passing through town and wanted to stop and say hello.”

“Well isn’t that just peachy keen, aren’t you lucky having a chubby buddy like this to follow you around like a lost puppy.”

I tried to be nice. “Hello, Cheryl.”

Her eyes were daggers. “She’s gay, you know. You’ll never have a chance with her. Can you get that through your thick skull?” There was a touch of venom in her voice. Karen quickly grabbed her by the arm and led her back into the kitchen area. Their voices raised, and I was uncomfortable about all the shouting. I stepped out the front door into the street. Ten minutes later, Karen came out to join me.

“Sorry about that,” she said. “Things are… well…”

“You don’t have to explain anything. I thought you might be having a bad day, and just maybe I could brighten it.”

“You did.” She took in a deep breath. “You always do. I really do love you. Can you hang out for a while?”

“I’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.”

“You’re westbound, Mr. Bandit.” An idea struck Karen. “Wait here for a second.” She ran back into the Café. I walked over to the Ice Cream truck and opened the passenger door. A minute later, Karen came out carrying a stack of boxes. “Does your freezer in the back work.”

“Sure, I guess so. Why?”

“Open the back door.” I did so, and she climbed in and opened the freezer box door. She unloaded the boxes into the freezer, then shut the lid and turned on the power switch.

“What are you doing?”

“Loading you up with ice cream sandwiches, Eskimo pies, fudgesicles, and drumsticks cones. I was gonna throw them away, so you might as well take them with you.”

“And do what?”

“It’s a long drive to California, you may get hungry.”

I shrugged and nodded. “Guess I better get on down the road.”

She took my hand and squeezed it tightly, walking with me around to the driver’s side door. “Hey, I’ve got a name for my new Café in Richmond.”

“I thought it was Karen’s Natural Café.”

“I decided I like the previous owner’s name for it better: The Garden of Eat’n. What do you think?”

I laughed and nodded. “Sounds good. Easy to remember.” I stared into her eyes. “And you, girlfriend, are easy on the eyes.”

She began to tear up, then quickly wiped the tears from her face. “Wow, I guess I needed to hear that right now. And by the way Mister, when are you going to make some money from these Blogs you are writing? Someone should turn them into a TV show.”

“Someone is actually interested. I’m meeting with them when I get to California.”

She lit up again. “That’s wonderful. You’re gonna succeed, I know you will. And when you get your first big check, you come and find me. I will show you a night that you will never ever forget.”

My eyes got wide. “Would that include toasting marshmallows and making smores?” She responded by grabbing me and kissing me passionately on the lips for what seemed like several minutes. When she pulled back from me, I felt dizzy and the top of my head tingled. I stumbled into the truck and started it up. She chuckled as she watched me drive off, and then LONDON BRIDGES began to play. Again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I had an unusual trip last week, and it may take more than one blog to tell the whole story. Let's just call this one Part 1 of my journey.

Riff called and told me to get to Philadelphia, where a load of small trucks had come in and were to be delivered all over the country. "All hands on deck for this one, fat boy. So move your ass and get to Philly. I'll let you know where it's headed once you're in it."

I arrived at the address he gave me the next morning, and found around 300 trucks parked side by side, row after row after row. They went on forever. It was some kind of fairgrounds, and it was a very hot day with no shade in sight. There were other drivers from my company, but also 20 or so drivers from other companies. Some of them I had met before in my travels. And lurking in the back was Andy.

"You!" he yelled when he saw me. "You again! I thought I was rid of you, but like a cockroach you keep popping up." Andy is always high as a kite, but he was flying much higher than usual on this day. And as he yelled and cussed at me about taking work from him, his eyes rolled up into his head and he passed out. A few of the drivers rushed to his side, but I just walked away guilt-free, for they couldn't possibly know about all of the bizarre encounters I had with this man.

A large bald Black man named Howie stepped up to me. "Say man, you know what we's waiting on?"

"I think we are waiting on the man who has our keys and our paperwork."

"Oh no, I sure do hope it ain't that Tom."

"Who's Tom?" I asked.

"You'll know him when you see him. He look just like Santa Claus."

Just then, a beat up trashed-out cargo van came bellowing across the field, belching black smoke and backfiring as it went. The van was parked, and Tom slid out. And darn it if he didn't look just like jolly old St. Nick.

"All right ladies, I'm Tom, and you better listen to me good cause I'm only gonna say this once." He didn't seem too friendly right off the bat. Also, I looked around and didn't see any ladies, only gentlemen. "I'm gonna call off your name, you shout 'YO' and I'll give you the number of your truck and the row its in. Got it? Good!" He looked at the clipboard in his hands. "Roosevelt?"

The Black man I had been talking to said, "Yes sir?"

Tom threw his clipboard on the ground. "No, no, no. I will not allow it to be one of those kinds of days. I'm not a sir, I'm a working stiff. When I call your name, you say 'YO' and nothing else. Got it? If you do not comply and say 'YO' there's gonna be a world of trouble. You will piss me off, and believe me, you do NOT want to piss me off." He picked up the clipboard. "Let's try again. Roosevelt?"


"Truck #323, row 15. Jackson?"

"Yo," yelled a senior citizen.

"Lower your voice, Jackson, this isn't a shouting match. Truck #544, row 18."

"Question, sir?" asked Jackson.

Tom dropped the clipboard in disgust. "Oh goodie, first thing in the morning and we have a comedian in our midst. Whoop-dee-doo. Let me stop everything, let me stop the whole process so that this old geezer can ask me a stupid question. Go ahead, old timer, ask away."

"How are the rows marked?"

Tom picked up his clipboard again. "That has to be the most pointless and idiotic question I've ever been asked. You don't deserve the courtesy of an answer. Figure it out, dammit!"

Another man spoke up, "Pardon me sir, but--"

Tom interrupted by pointing towards the man who spoke. "I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that. You must follow rules and protocol or we're gonna be here all day. Thomas?"

"Yo, and a good morning to you sir," I said as cheerfully as possible.

"OK, now I am officially pissed off good and proper. Who in the hell do you think you are being friendly and familiar with me?"

"Bill Thomas, at your service."

"Well let me tell you something, joy boy, you are in truck 231 in row 11, and I better not see you or hear from you again if you know what's good for you. Get me?"

I walked off and started the nearly impossible task of finding Row 11. The rows were not properly marked, and things seemed disorganized in the extreme. Once I found Row 11, I walked up and down it five times, unable to find my truck. I walked all over until I found Tom again. He was looking through a big box of keys. When he turned around and saw me, he said, "Oh no you don't! You are thinking of asking me a question, I just know that you are, but that would be a huge mistake. I am in a royal bad mood, and I will bring the wrath of hellfire down upon your head. Would you like that, lard ass?"

"No, sir, but--"

"You're speaking, you are still speaking, and that is a terrible thing to do to me. You realize how many drivers I'm dealing with? How many trucks I have here ready to go?"

"I can't find my truck."

"Dammit, boy!" He leaned in close to me, dripping with more sweat than I was. "I gave you the row number and the truck number. Now go and find your truck and don't you dare think about bothering me again. Got it?" He stormed away from me cussing loudly as he went. He looked exactly like Santa Claus, but I couldn't imagine that he'd shake when he'd laugh like a bowl full of jelly. More like he'd shake like an earthquake then spew molten lava.

There was nothing I could do but start looking up and down other rows. But there were a whole lot of trucks to check out. And the heat was getting to me, my high blood pressure gets bad when I'm in such an oppressive heat for so long. Whew! Plus my low blood sugar was demanding that I eat something, but there was nothing nearby. I pushed myself hard, and watched as an ambulance drove up and picked up Andy. I guessed that all the speed he takes finally caught up to him. And I thought I was having a hard time of it in the heat.

After going through every single row of trucks and not finding mine, nearly two hours had passed. I went back to find Tom, and stood a few yards away from him as he was bent over in the back of his van. He pulled his head out and saw me standing there, and his face turned red. "I thought I warned you to stay clear of me, butterball. Well guess what? I got no love for you, in fact I hate you with every fiber of my being. You are trash, you are filth, you are the bane of my existence."

"I just want to find my truck."

Tom grabbed me by the shoulders and spun me around. "See all those other drivers out there? They just want their trucks, too. Why are you so special? Why do you deserve #1 premium service? Huh? You got some warped sense of entitlement? I don't want to hear one more word out of you, not one more word. You got that? Just one more word and watch what happens. You got it?"


"That's the word, now you done it!" He began poking his finger in my chest. "You just went to the very back of the line. I'm going to make sure to help every one of these drivers here before you. You will get my help only after everyone else is done and gone. How do you like that?"

"I've looked at every truck on this lot and mine isn't here."

"You're still talking? You're a freakin' miracle, you are so stupid. Don't you know when to keep your fat mouth shut?"

"I'm already at the end of the line, I've got nothing else to lose. So where do I look?"

"Start with the row I gave you, and then check every other row. Your truck is here."

At that moment, an ice cream truck came rumbling onto the lot from the street. It was playing LONDON BRIDGES over and over again. A man parked it and jumped out. "Hey boss."

"What are you doing here, Jose?"

"I brought you this truck you forgot."

I walked around to the other side of the truck and found the number: 231. "This is my truck, I'll be going now."

"You're not going anywhere til I say so."

"Call my boss and complain. I've been here over two hours searching for this truck which wasn't even on the lot."

"You are full of crap."

"And you're even fuller, Mister Tom. Have a good day." I started the truck and drove off. Tom threw down his clipboard and cussed, saying some cuss word combinations that I've never even heard. Then he started to run after me, but quickly ran out of breath.

Riff called me an hour later. "What the hell did you do, cream puff? You caused quite a stir at the truck lot."

"There was an evil man working there who gave me an especially hard time. My truck wasn't even on the lot, and I searched for it over two hours. This guy was a piece of work."

"Yeah, that's my cousin Tommy. He's got a hot temper, but I love him like a brother."

"That guy was your cousin?" It figured, nasty gruffness seemed to run in the family.

"You've got five days to get that car to San Diego."

My heart jumped. "I'm going to the West coast?"

"Yep. Andy was going to do it, but apparently he is in the hospital suffering heat exhaustion. Don't wreck the little ice cream truck."

"Bye, Riff."

Well, it was literally a coast to coast run. I had been told recently that I'd only be going up and down the east coast, so this would be unique and fun. I smelled adventure ahead. But I hoped it would get smoother along with way, because it started off with a guy who looked like Santa but acted like the Anti-Christ.