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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Halloween night, and I found myself driving on a dark country highway 65 miles northwest of Austin.  State Capital of Texas and home of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.  And of course SXSW film and music festival.  I was trying to think distracting thoughts so I would not soak up the forebording vibe out on this night of spooks and goblins.  I'm a driving fool and a fearless man... that's what I'm supposed to be, anyhow.

That's about the time my front tire blew out, and my heart jumped right thru my throat and up to my brain.  I swerved hard on this narrow two lane highway, but was able to control the car and get pulled over on the side of the road.  I got out and could see a problem right away:  it was so pitch dark out that I was going to have a heck of a time changing tires.  I got out my trusty flashlight and fumbled to keep it aimed on the tire as I did my task.

I kept on hearing noises from the woods on both sides of the road.  It was more than a little unnerving.  Some of them were louder and more odd than others.  I felt a chill go threw me.  I heard something pop to the left of me, and jerked my head to the side to see.  Then I heard a distinctive crack to the right of me and whipped my head in that direction.

Then just as I was finishing tightening bolts on the spare tire, the jack and crowbar slipped and I jammed my right hand hard.    I dropped onto my butt and grasped my hand in pain, and then I heard it...

Crashing and thrashing sounds coming from the woods.  Unlike any of the other sounds I had heard, this was big and it was moving steadily in my direction. A deer darted out of the woods and across the road.  I jumped up and climbed into the car, locking the doors.  Even in the dark, I could make out the movement of the trees and this huge object moved towards me.  When I caught sight of it stepping from the woods, I thought it was a bear.  Or could it be a really large gorilla?

Or maybe... I grew up being fascinated by the legend of Bigfoot.  Sasquatch.  I always just figured it was a really good story, but I think that this was him.  Or it.  And he is what ran for my car as I started up and screamed away faster than I've ever driven in my life.  With the car trunk wide open and the tools left on the highway.   It sounded like I hit something as I drove away.  It was 30 miles to the next gas station, and I stopped there to check on the tire and see what I hit.

Turns out I didn't hit anything.  But it looked like something had hit me.  On the right rear fender there was a large indention where it looked like a small tree had fallen.  And in the mouldings I saw lots of hairs.  I felt every hair on my neck stand up and salute.  A childhood boogeyman had just become very real to me.  And crossing paths with this terrifying creature would no doubt haunt me for some time to come.

Interestingly, I had just read yesterday that a company called Court Five is coming out with a movie called EXISTS which is about Bigfoot.   Since it is directed by Eduardo Sanchez, who did THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, I am certain that it will be very scary.  I am also certain that I will be squirming in my seat when I watch it, remembering the night that a driving fool had a close encounter with a legend.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I was filling up with gas on a rural highway in Arkansas, on my way to deliver in Fayetteville.  I had been to Fayetteville in North Carolina, but never the one in Arkansas.

A car came screaming by honking, followed closely by a big rig semi truck.  But the truck was getting progressively slower as it neared me.  It had two flat tires and was limping until it came to a complete halt very close to where I was pumping.

A huge woman jumped out of the truck and waddled towards me, screaming and cussing up a storm.  She had a red solo cup in her right hand, and was wildly gesturing with her left hand.  "I've had it!  That's it, no more!  All of them need to be caught and killed."  I did my best to pretend I didn't notice her, but she kept walking straight towards me.  Why oh why am I a magnet for the wacky people of the world?  "Hey you!  That's right, I'm talking to you!  I have just about had it with all you four wheelers."

"You were speaking to me?"

"Who else would I be talking to.  You're just another low down, no account four wheeler."

"What's a four wheeler?"

"You, and all those like you, who drive a car or pickup or minivan or some such.  Those who don't have the skills and pride to drive the 18 wheelers like I do."


"Oh?  Is that all you've got to say?  You don't even have the good manners to introduce yourself to a lady?"

"Hi, my name is Bill Thomas."

She went from outrage to homespun warmth in the blink of an eye.  "Madge Ferguson, seriously damn glad to meet you."  She grabbed my hand in a painfully firm grasp and shook it for all she was worth.  Then she spit into the cup.  I could see she had a very big chunk of tobacco in her cheek.  "Did you see what that fella did to me?"

"I just saw him fly by honking his horn."

"A honk of victory, but that victory was hollow, let me tell you.  He had cut me off, and I don't cotton to that kind of behavior.  No siree bob.  I had to teach him a lesson, but he got tricky with me, and next thing you know I ran over a pile of cut wood on the shoulder of the highway... and well, now it looks like I got me two flat tires."  She spit into the cup.

"Road rage is getting out of hand."

"His rage, not mine, I am a down to earth lady who treats others like I'd like to be treated myself.  Until they cross me.  Do not cross Madge.  No sir."

"Mind if I ask you a question?"  In retrospect, I should not have asked the question.

"I might, but go ahead anyway."

"Sometimes when I'm driving down the highway at 70mph, I come up on two semi trucks one behind the other.  Just as I get to them and am about to pass, the one in back jumps over to the left lane.  And just goes side by side with the other truck at 60mph.  It backs me up and all the other cars that are behind me.  And sometimes they just glide along side by side for ten miles before the one in the left lane finally moves back over to the right."

"Oh, well that's easy.  Some truck have a governor on the engine and can only go so fast."

"Then I wonder why once the truck moves over he speeds up and I have to do 80 to pass him."

She threw her head back and let out a loud guffaw.  "Well then in that case, they're duckin' with you."


"I'm trying to use less profanity.  They's messin' with you is all."


"I don't think they'd purposefully mess with you on accident."

"But why?"

"Cuz they're bored, and cuz we are superior to all you four wheelers.The way you all try to drive all the way up to where the lanes merge into one before a construction site.  That's when we ride the middle line and stop y'all from doing that.  Hell, we're more effective than the police at teachin' lessons."  She spit into her cup.

"I often think of the big rigs as Imperial Starships, and the cars like me are X wing fighters."

"I get that reference, but Darth Vader pretty much crushed your little rebellion, now didn't he?"  She giggled to herself.

"I think his son Luke led the charge to victory and defeated the Empire."

She shook her head and let out a hoot of laughter.  "Boy, it's clear that you need to brush up on your Star Wars.  You got it all ass backwards."  She spit into the cup, then wiped her hand across her face to mop away the juice.

"Maybe we can all just find a way to get along out on the road.  What do you think?"

Madge glared at me.  "You don't want to know what I think.  That's what I think!"

"I just see so much hatred and violence and nastiness among folks every single day.  I pray for peace."

"I'm a praying woman myself, but you are a fool if you think you can make a difference.  Or that any kind of peace is possible."  She sneezed into her hand, and then used the hand to brush her hair back.

"Is there anything I can do to help you, Madge?"

"Yes sir, go catch that asshole in the four wheeler who cut me off and kill him for me.  Could you do that?"  She waddled off towards the mini-mart portion of the gas station, and I topped off my tank and got back on the road again.