I had been working with Andy, the crazed paranoid driver, for a few weeks now shuttling cars from Florida to Texas and back. Basically, I was serving as "chase" driver to Andy, following him one way then picking him up and driving him back for another pick up. I did not enjoy his company one little bit, but the money was good so I couldn't say no.
He had just delivered a cargo van to Waco, Texas. I was waiting for him in a minivan, which Riff had assigned to follow him. He pulled into the parking lot where I waited driving a large truck, with a trailer attached to the back of it. Andy got out of the car and swaggered over to me. "Good morning, puss face."
"What's this? Aren't you supposed to ride back with me to Ft. Lauderdale?"
"Change of plans, man. I got this truck and trailer to take, so you just follow me back."
"Wait a second, did Riff assign this?"
"No idiot, I got the order from another company. We don't tell Riff about it, right? Right?!"
"What do you think you're up to, Andy?"
"Shut up and do as your told. And don't you dare bring my Aunt Bessie into it." He poked his finger into my ribs. "You know it was funny, and you know just what I'm talking about."
"It wasn't funny at all."
He poked me again. "You have to admit, it was a little funny."
I stared at him with disgust. "Andy, you mixed extra strength laxative in my drink. I crapped my pants, then couldn't get far from a toilet all day."
He bent over and brayed with laughter. "Hilarious!"
"No, it's a rotten thing to do to someone. Especially someone like me who has digestive issues."
"Come on, don't be a prick, it was pretty funny." He began to poke me in the ribs once again, but this time I grabbed his wrist and twisted it. Then I spun him around, pinned his arm to his back, and slammed him face first into the side of the trailer. "Hey man, be cool!"
I was trying to control my temper and spoke softly. "I am very cool right now."
"No you're not, you're acting like a maniac."
I let him go and then pointed my finger in his face. "Do not touch me again. Got it?" I turned on my heel and headed for the minivan.
"OK Sally, see if you are man enough to keep up with me. I was up all night drinking, and I've had five cups of coffee and four of those 5 hour alert shots. I am wired for sound, and don't you forget it."
I began to follow Andy as he took the back roads from Waco to Houston. Once there, he got on I-10 east and we were headed for Florida. I was listening to music and trying to relax, but was still tense over what he had done. I tried to stay clear of this guy, but circumstances brought us together more often than I cared for. He is so volatile and unpredictable. And he brought out a side of me that I didn't like, a perfect example being me throwing him against the trailer. That's not me, that is not the way I behave. But he pushes me so far that I feel something akin to hatred for the guy. He makes me nuts.
Suddenly, I saw the trailer fishtail. Then the truck Andy was driving began to swerve. Both the truck and the trailer were swerving, and each fishtail move made a wider arc. I stared in amazement, wondering what this lunatic driver had done to cause the wild swinging to begin. And then, the truck flipped, followed closely by the trailer. It rolled several times before coming to a stop on its side, and I pulled off to the shoulder and quickly ran for the truck.
As I neared it, I could clearly see that Andy was unconscious inside the cab of the truck. He had what appeared to be a burning joint hanging from his lips. I could smell gasoline, and knew that disaster was just a whisper away. I tried very hard to open the door, but it was jammed shut. So I kicked the window until it broke, and then cleared away the glass so I could reach in. By this time, a fire had started, and I was feeling frantic about getting him out and moving as far away as possible.
It was a difficult task, but I was able to pull him free of the burning truck. That's when I first noticed that his head was bleeding profusely. A woman who had pulled over behind me ran up with her cell phone to her ear. "I'm calling 911," she said.
"Thanks, but I have to get him right to a hospital or I think he might not make it."
"There's one fairly near here. Go down three exits, get off, turn right, and go about five miles."
"Thanks, thanks a lot," I told her. I yelled out my name and my cell phone number as I carried Andy to the minivan. The woman entered my cell phone into her own, so she could contact me or give it to the authorities who would be there soon.
I know that conventional wisdom would be to let the ambulance come and get Andy and rush him to the hospital. But as a driving fool, I can promise you that I went faster and more skillfully than any ambulance ever could. I was determined to save his life if at all possible. Though there was absolutely nothing about this guy that I liked. Not even remotely.
Just over ten minutes later, I pulled up to the Emergency Room entrance and carried Andy inside. I had to wait five hours, during which time the police called me and then showed up at the hospital. Soon after I finished my report with the police officers, the Dr. came out to tell me that Andy would survive, but he was going to need a lot of rest and rehab. "Toxicology told us that he was as high as a kite," explained the Doc. "That may be what saved him."
"He was extremely relaxed, so he didn't tense up on impact. One thing is for sure, though: if you hadn't brought him right over, he never would have survived. He owes you his life."
Those were words I had never heard before. Someone owes me their life. But why did it have to be Andy? I am quite certain that he won't be the least bit grateful, and that as soon as he fully recovers he'll be trying to slip me some more laxative, or worse.