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.

Saturday, December 24, 2016


I had just driven a BMW to Houston and was set to deliver to a Dr. Martin.  I called him and he said he would need me to deliver it to him at the hospital rather than his home, and I agreed completely.  He also wanted it on Christmas Eve, and I was happy to make that work for him.  And he told me he worked in the cancer ward, and that is when my heart sunk.  Just having learned a few weeks ago about my friend Smokey's upcoming demise from cancer, I guess I am still real sensitive about it.  Not dealing well with a close friend who is terminal, and not good for a Christmas I was going to spend alone.

I got to the hospital and went to the fifth floor where Dr. Martin said to meet him.  I asked for him at the Nurse's desk, and they said he was busy and just to please wait.  I stood against a wall just outside a room and tried to stay out of the way.  And then I heard a small voice call out to me.

"Hello?  Hey mister?"

I looked into the doorway of the room I was standing near.  I saw a little bald girl sitting in bed with a laptop opened on her tray table.  "Did you need something?" I asked her.

"Yes please, I dropped my pen and can't reach it."  She held up her arms attached to IV tubes to demonstrate, and I happily scooped up her pen off the floor and handed it to her.

"Thank you very much."  She smiled at me with what must be the brightest smile I have ever seen.  "My name is Heather, what's yours?"

I nodded.  "Bill Thomas, at your service."

"At my service?  Well, now I really feel special."  She giggled.  "What are you doing here?  You don't look sick."

"Just visiting."

"Oh," she said with understanding, "You must know someone here that has the Big C."

"Big C?"

"Yep, cancer."  I was very surprised that she had such an easy, flippant way of talking about it.  "That's what I've got, in case you couldn't tell."

"I, um..."

"Come on, you are on the cancer ward.  We've all got it, we're all fighting it."

I was really impressed by her plucky spirit.  I could tell right away that this girl had moxie.  "How long have you had it?"

"Years now.  I'm ten, and have had it almost as long as I've been alive.  They thought I was going to die, and then I had a miraculous recovery and went into remission.  But now it's come back again, so I'm ready to fight again."

"You're a fighter."

"Yes I am, you bet I am.  And I will win."

"I believe you."

"You better believe it.  Faith is my strongest ally, plus I have God on my side.  The only downside is that I used to get really bored sitting in the hospital.  TV can entertain you only so long."

I pointed a the laptop.  "You've got your computer, so the internet is yours."

"And that is what I do, all day every day."

"What do you do?"

"I use the internet to write a whole lot of other kids with cancer.  I've started my own network, and its growing every day.  I send messages of hope, humor and love to them all.  I tell them jokes, I offer support, and I relate to their pain and their situation.  And they all really appreciate it."

"I bet they do."

"Yep, I have literally hundreds of friends now all over the USA.  And I'm branching out to other countries now.  And you know what?  It feels really good."

"You're making me feel good."

She closed her laptop and looked at me earnestly.  "Were you feeling bad before?"

I felt some shame for feeling badly when this poor girl had it much worse off than me.  Yet she was upbeat and charming.  "It's not important."

"It is to me.  This is what I do, help people out.  Please tell me what's bothering you?"

"I... my close friend is dying from inoperable cancer.  It's very rare and can't be treated, and the doctors says he has less than a year."

"Sounds like he's got the very worse kind of cancer.  There's all kinds, you know."

"So I've heard.  I'm going to miss my friend, and I'm just not handling it well at all."

She sat straight up and said firmly, "Snap out of it!"

"Beg pardon?"

"Get over yourself.  I'm sorry to say, but you are just feeling sad for yourself.  Your friend needs your love and support right now, just like the joy I try to spread.  If you give me his info I will add him to my cancer pen pal list.  But what he really needs is a brother like you."

I was taken aback.  "He is a like a brother to me..."

"I had a feeling," she said.  "Where are you spending Christmas."

"Wherever it is, I'll be spending it alone."

"Oh no, don't do that.  Go to church, go praise God.  Or go find a soup kitchen and roll up your sleeves and help out those less fortunate."

"I've done that before."

"Great, then you know how its done.  Believe me, when you do good things for others, you will forget all about your own problems.  And you may find that your own problems aren't as huge as you thought they were."  She gave me her contact info and made me promise to stay in touch.

As I walked out of the room, I thanked her.  "You really helped me out."


"You helped me put things in perspective.  You reminded me how valuable faith is, and that I can accomplish anything if I put my mind to it."

"See there.  And one more thing-- carry love in your heart and show kindness to everyone."

"Thank you so much."

She shrugged.  "It's what I do.  Merry Christmas Bill, and remember God loves you."

I left with a bounce in my step.  I had been deeply moved and inspired by this young girl who really brought home the spirit of Christmas for me.

Friday, December 9, 2016


I was driving through North Carolina when I got the news.  My friend Smokey was sick and dying.  I could not believe my ears when he told me on the phone, and I had no idea what to say.  This guy who had been like an older brother to me got a serious case of cancer and they found it too late.

As I was dealing with my many mixed emotions, I was also trying to pick up a car from a man who was being very uncooperative.  He had just been fired and was not ready to surrender his car just yet.  But I had been told to pick it up from him the night before, and waited for two hours to meet him.  Then he called to say to meet him at a house first thing the next morning.  So here I was, sitting in the driveway of the house, texting and calling the man but getting no answer.  I had knocked on the door, but he wasn't there.

My cell phone rang.  "Hey, this is Bill."

"What the hell are you up to now, you Pillsbury doughboy Christmas edition?"

"Say who?"

"This is Riff," bellowed my boss.  "Tis the season to get your work done and quit screwing up."

"I'm not screwing up."

"Do you have the car yet, my little crumb cake?"

"No, because--"

"I don't want to hear 'NO BECAUSE' you stupid moron.  I want to hear that the job is done.  And a Sir wouldn't hurt to throw in there."

"The guy is playing games with me, I will call you when I have the car."  I hung up, and my phone rang again almost immediately.  "What is it, Riff?"

"This is Henry Seltzer."

"Oh, hello sir, I am here at the house waiting for you."

"What house?" he asked.

"The house at 6440 Danbury Lane, the address you gave me."

He began to laugh.  "Well how about that.  I gave you my old address.  Why, I haven't lived in that house for five years."

"How about that," I said, not feeling very good about it.

"I'm at 1007 McManus Circle.  Can you get over here quick, I'm tired of waiting."  He hung up, and I looked up the address.  It was on the far side of Winston-Salem, and I was getting frustrated.

As I got close to the correct address, my phone rang again.  "This is Bill."

"Hey buddy boy, its Christmas Carol time."  It was Riff again, and he sounded drunk.  "Jingle balls, jingle balls, jingle in my butt!"

"Riff, put down the bourbon bottle and make a pot of coffee."

"Don't you tell me what to do, you little precocious jack ass brat mofo..."  It sounded like he dropped the phone, so I clicked off.  I pulled into the driveway of the house on McManus, and I saw the man run out the back door and jump into the car.  He started it and began to maneuver in the circular driveway to get out.  I deftly pulled over in a position to block him indefinitely, and he jumped out of the car as mad as a hornet.

"You bastard, you're blocking my way!"

"That's OK, I will get out of your way as soon as we've done the paperwork."

"I'm not ready to give up the car."

"My boss said don't take no for an answer.  The company you worked for wants their car back."

"It's not like its their property."

I squinted.  "Well..."

"This is your job, ruining people's Christmas?"

"No sir, I just have to get the car then go."

"But you have two cars.  How you gonna get both of them out of here?"

"Just leave that to me.  Sign here please."  I indicated the spot for him to sign, and he responded by shooting me the bird.  He held the keys out to me then dropped them on the ground for me to pick up.

Henry gave me a look like he wanted me to disappear.  And then he said, "I hope you get cancer and die."

I drove the car I had come in down the block and parked it on the street.  Then I drove Henry's old car a few blocks away, to a supermarket parking lot.  I walked back, got in the original car, and delivered it ten miles away.  I took an Uber back to the supermarket and got into Henry's car.  It was going up to Vermont, and I was afraid I might run into some snow.

Sadly ironic how Henry had chosen to wish me cancer when I just learned my friend Smokey is dying from it. What a cold, harsh reaction from the man when I was just doing my job.  But I don't want to be sad, I insist on good cheer.  Elvis sang about a Blue Christmas.  And blue is my favorite color.  And bright blue is my favorite shade of blue.  So I'm going to remain upbeat and happy and have a Bright Blue Christmas.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


I had just delivered a car to Brownsville, Texas and was wondering where I would spend Thanksgiving as twilight set in.  It would not be with friends or family, I had none that lived anywhere near me down on the southern tip of Texas.

Donald Trump was recently voted our President, and being so close to the Mexican border I couldn't help thinking about that big wall he promised to put up.  And all the other crazy promises he made, though I hope he is able to come through on some of them.  A lot of people were extremely unhappy about Trump's election.  As for me, I choose to think of the things I have to give thanks for.  It is that time of the year.

I am thankful for all of my friends all across the USA.  I am grateful to live in the USA, it is a privilege to live in a democratic nation where we have the right to vote for whoever we want.  I'm thankful to all the folks I meet out on the road, nutty and otherwise, who keep things interesting and lively for me.  And most of all I thank God for watching over me daily and keeping me safe as I travel.

As I walked down the streets searching for a restaurant that was open for Thanksgiving dinner.  I saw some clowns running down the block and into an alley.  It made me think about my experience with Bobo the bitter clown who I'd met nearly a year ago at a Waffle House.  These clowns looked a lot more energetic than Bobo.

Nearing the alley, I heard shouting.  I looked down the alley and saw the two clowns shoving an elderly couple and shouting threats.  This did not sit well with me, and I marched down the alley to see what was going on.  One of the clowns spun on me.

"Whassup, you son of a mother?" snarled one of the clowns at me.  "We are the Killer Klowns, with a K."

"OK," I said mildly.

"You gots to respect the Killer Klowns."

"Why?" I asked, trying to fully ascertain the situation I was in.

"Cuz we out here doing the Lord's work.  We are punishing everyone we find who voted for Donald Trump."

"Why is that?"

The other Klown turned to face me.  "Cuz we are true Americans.  Trump is gonna sell us out, it's all downhill from here."

Klown #1 pointed at the old couple, who were obviously terrified.  "These two admitted to voting for Trump, and now they need to learn a lesson about America."

"Land of the free, home of the brave?" I asked.

"You got that right."

"Do you guys understand what it means to live in America, and all the rights and responsibilities that go with that?"

"We gonna do what we gotta do," stated Klown #2.

"God wanted Hillary in the White House.  Trump landing there is an afront to God."

"Is that right?" I asked.

"Damn straight."

"I've been hearing about guys dressing up in clown costumes and terrorizing people on the streets for months.  Never heard any relationship between you and politics."

"Never was one till now," growled Klown #1 as he shoved the old man against the wall.

"Don't do that again," I heard myself say, with a threatening sound coming from me but not familiar to me.

"What are you gonna do about it?"  asked Klown #1.

"Too bad you don't have a gun to back it up, Trump is against guns," said Klown #2 as he shoved the old woman.

I pulled a gun out of my jacket.  "Too bad you're too stupid to know that Trump is all for guns.  And I'm going to empty this gun into you guys with pleasure if you don't get out of here right now."  I aimed it at them as if I'd done this a hundred times before and they made tracks fast.

The elderly couple thanked me profusely and even invited me to their house for Thanksgiving dinner.  And I said a prayer of Thanksgiving to God that the Killer Klowns couldn't recognize a starter pistol in the moonlight.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Last week I was supposed to deliver a car to a woman in Jupiter, Florida on the east coast.  Then I'd ride the Amtrak to Orlando where my next car waited to be picked up.  As I was driving down the Florida Turnpike, I got a call from the lady.

"Hi Bill, this is Louise."

"Hello Louise, I was just about to call you.  I'm about three hours away, and--"

"Stop right there, Bill.  I called to tell you that I'm not at home."

"OK, when will you be there?"

"I won't.  Can you bring my car to St. Petersburg?"

St. Pete is on the west coast, a few hundred miles from her home in Jupiter.  I reluctantly agreed, then started calling for bus, train, and rental car schedules to get me to Orlando.  I ran into a lot of problems, because so many people had fled Hurricane Matthew, and now those who rushed to the west coast for safe haven wanted to get back to the east coast.  So travel options were difficult.

Louise had asked me to meet her at a Panera Bread location where she was set to have a business meeting.  I arrived and let her look over the car, and then she signed the paperwork.   "Where do you go from here?"

"Well, I'm trying to Orlando, but most forms of transport are booked solid."

"Exactly, that's why I asked you to come here.  I came on the train to stay with my parents until the storm passed us by.  But then I couldn't find any way to get home."

"I think outside the box, and I'm pretty good at travel arrangements.  I'll just go into Panera and find myself a way there on my trusty laptop."

Louise looked towards the entrance to Panera Bread and saw another woman.  "There's my appointment, thank you for everything, Bill."

I grabbed my bag and went inside.  Ordered an Asiago cheese bagel and hot green tea.  Opened up my laptop in a comfy booth and started looking for options.  As I began to find some possibilities, I overheard the family in the booth behind me.  They sounded a bit desperate, running out of ideas as to how to get home to Cocoa Beach.  After hearing them sound so worried about the condition of their home and being so anxious to get back to it, I popped my head over the back of my booth to face them.

"Hi, I'm Bill Thomas.  I don't mean to interrupt, but I think I might be able to help you."

"Help us get home?" asked the Mom of the family.

"Yes.  I'm good at making travel plans outside of the ordinary, if you're willing to give me a chance."

"More than willing," she said enthusiastically.

Her husband stood up and extended his hand.  "I'm Caleb, and this is my wife Stephanie. And these are the kids."  There were three kids, and they all looked bored and eager to go.

I shook with him.  "The pleasure is mine, Caleb.  Let me see what I can do for you."  I got to work on finding them a way back to Cocoa Beach, and Caleb came and sat next to me in my booth.  Twenty minutes later, I had them booked in a rental van for a one way trip.  It was pretty expensive for a car rental, but they didn't seem to mind at all.  They were just glad for a way back.

As Caleb and his family were getting up to leave, two women came up and introduced themselves.  "I'm Sandy, and she is Claire.  We saw that you were helping those people and wondered if you could help us, too."  And so I did.

This started the ball rolling, and before I knew it there was a small line of people waiting to be next for my travel services.  Anyone could look up travel sources, but I have developed a knack over time of finding unexpected ways of getting around by searching with unorthodox methods.  And it really felt good to help these people out.  Every single one of them was so nice and so grateful.

After I helped the last family, I went back to looking for myself.  Greyhound, Megabus and Amtrak were all booked solid to Orlando.  But I did find a rental SUV at four times the usual rate, which would cost about as much as I had just earned on the car I delivered.  As I was trying to decide what to do, Louise stepped up to me.  "You still here?" she asked.

"Yep.  How did your meeting go?"

"Fantastic, I think this is going to move me forward in the company.  At least I made a good impression.  Seems like you made an impression too, I kept hearing people talk about this guy who was booking travel for people on his laptop.  And I looked over and saw it was you."

"I like to help where I can."

"So do I."

"Hurricane Matthew caused enough trouble, I feel that we should all come together and help each other."

She nodded.  "When times get tough."

"Really anytime.  I keep trying to do good for others where I can, and keep hoping it will catch on and spread."

"I really love your attitude.  So did you find your own transport to Orlando?"

"Not yet.  Still hopeful, though."

"Then why don't I give you a ride?"

"That is very kind of you, but Orlando is going way out of your way from here to Jupiter."

She shrugged.  "So what?  Didn't you just say we should come together and help each other?"

"Yes, but--"

"No buts.  You just helped more than a few people get home, now let me do the same for you."

I wasn't actually going home, just to my next pick up, but I decided to shut up and accept her generosity.  While it took three hours longer than usual to drive the 100 miles from St. Petersburg to Orlando, I had a great conversation with Louise and found her to be funny and quite smart.  And I couldn't help having that feeling again that when times are rough, there's an angel on my shoulder.

Friday, September 9, 2016


I had dropped off a car in Miami and was taking the Tri Rail commuter train up to West Palm Beach where I'd pick up my next car.  This one headed to Dallas.

I looked out the window and thought a lot about driving, about cars, about life.  Get it together, Bill Thomas!, I mentally scolded myself.  Suddenly I had an urgent need to go to the bathroom and got up and started down the stairs to the bottom level of the train.  As I came out of the staircase, a stranger grabbed me by the arm.  "Hey!" he shouted.

"Yes?" I asked.

"I can't ride backwards."

I nodded.  "OK."  I started on my way and he grabbed me again.

"Hey, I don't think you understand my problem.  I can't ride in a seat facing forward when the train is going backward."

"I completely understand."

"Do you?  Cuz I kinda doubt you get the full implications."

"No, I get it, absolutely I do.  But I need to get to the bathroom."

He stood in my path.  "Well how do you think I feel?  I'll be puking and crapping all over the place if I sit facing forward but the train is going back in the backwards direction."

"Then maybe don't sit down?"

He laughed.  "That's easy for you to say.  It's not you who will become sick as a dog."

"I really do have to go."

"Oh by the way, I'm Herb Jones.  I didn't catch your name."


"So Bill, are you gonna try to tell me that you have never heard of this affliction?"

"Nope, never."

"I find that harder to swallow than my breakfast this morning."

"But it's true."

"So you've never heard of seasickness?"

"Well sure, but we're not at sea."

"Exactly my point!  I'm seasick on the train!"

"OK Herb, I really do have to go now."

He walked a circle around me, sizing me up.  "So you're one of those guys, huh?  Only in it for yourself, and the rest of us can just go to hell.  I don't know why I even bothered to share my health issue with you."

I side-stepped him and rushed to the bathroom, barely making it in time.  One thing I agreed with Herb about --  I don't know why he bothered to share his health issues with me, either.

Sunday, July 31, 2016


I needed to get off the highway for a while yesterday, I was feeling weary.  And my boss Riff had been extra testy, I think he must have put too much starch in his underwear.

I stopped at a local diner in Tennessee, because I'd always rather have homestyle dinners cooked than fast food assembly line pasteurized processed food product.  As I sat quietly and waited for my food, I heard the man in the booth across from me as he read to his son.  The young boy was looking with fascination at the pictures in the book.  The father said,  "Now what does the duck say?"

"Meow," said the boy.

"That's right, and what does the horse say?"

"Baa, baa."

"Very good.  And what does the dog say?"

The little boy stopped to consider before answering.  "Woof?"

"No buddy, the dog says Moo."

"Mooooooo," the boy drawled.

"Yes, that's it."  The father looked up and saw I was looking their way.  I quickly averted my gaze, I certainly didn't want to get sucked into this conversation, even though I so often do on the road.  Weird people are drawn to me.  "Hey, you got kids?"

I pretended not to notice.  But he was staring at me.  "Hmm?  Who, me?  Nope, no kids."

"That's a shame.  Kids love to read."

"Keep going, Daddy,' urged his son.

"OK, OK.  What does the pig say?"

"Quack, quack!"

"You got it!"

"No he does not!"  A very large woman in the booth behind the man and boy turned around.  "I can't keep quiet no longer.  I can't stand hearing you mislead this boy."

"This boy is my son."

"That makes it worse.  Why are you teaching him all the wrong stuff?"

"Who is to say what I'm teaching is wrong?"

The woman seemed flustered.  "Well... I just... I mean it...  A dog don't say moo."

"Maybe in your world."

"Maybe in every world in the universe.  Mister, you are crazy."

"Listen lady, I just want to teach my son to defy expectations.  Why can't a dog say moo?  Because you say so?"

"No, because that's just how it is."

"Well I can't subscribe to your narrow minded way of thinking."  He spun and pointed at me.  "What do you think."

I held my hands up.  "I have no opinion."

"Come on man, don't be afraid to take a stand."

"I'm just having a snack, no problem."

"I'd like to know what you think."

The large woman nodded.  "Actually so would I.  You are the deciding vote."

The waitress walked up with my food and I said,  "Could I get this to go?"

The father got very determined.  "Here in Tennessee, we welcome a lively debate.  So I would like to hear your thoughts on child rearing and home schooling."

The big woman slapped her hand on her forehead.  "Oh Lord, you're one of those home schoolers."

"Excuse me, I have to run to the restroom." 

I got up and hurried off, as the father yelled,  "Don't be too long, we have a lot to discuss.  Hope everything comes out OK."

I stayed in the bathroom for a few minutes, then snuck up to the register to pay for my food and get going.  Old McDonald may have had a farm, but I didn't feel like any animal talk or lively debating.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I was driving a car to Orlando on Sunday when I heard the news that chilled me to the bone.  20 killed in Orlando at a nightclub shooting.  And as I listened to more reports come in, the death toll shot up to 50 and 52 more were wounded.  What in the world could have caused such a horrible thing to occur?

When I arrived in Orlando, there was a somber tone everywhere I went.  It seemed as if every conversation I heard in public was all about the shooting.  I felt somehow connected to the community and was feeling their pain.  But I also saw long lines of people waiting to give their blood, and others coming to provide water, snacks and Gatorade to those in the hot sun.  I was deeply moved and very impressed by the sense of humanity, of helping others.

On Monday morning when I delivered the car, I had to call an Uber to get me to the Amtrak station so I could get to my next pick up in the Miami area.  The Uber driver's name was Manuel, and from the moment I got into his Chrysler I could sense his grief spilling out by the bucket full.

"Can you believe it?" he asked me with a thick accent.

"No I can't," I said.

"Do you know what I'm talking about?"

"The shooting?"

"It wasn't a shooting, it was a massacre!  50 people were killed, and one of them was a good friend of my cousin.  Why?  Tell me why?"

"I don't know, it makes no sense."

"Hate, too much hate in the world."

"Yes," I said quietly.

"My son was gay, he told me he was gay but I was too proud to accept it.  I rejected him.  Can you believe that?"

I shook my head.  "Have you spoken to him since?"

"No, but I wish I could.  I want to tell him I was wrong.  I want him to know that I love him, that I accept him no matter what.  I want him to know that God made him special, and he is my son, and I will love him always no matter what."

I paused for a moment.  "You should tell him that."

Manuel began to cry a little, trying very hard to hold back the tears.  "I can't do that.  He died one year ago, a hate crime took his life.  This massacre has brought that back home to me, and I hope that today every gay man and woman knows that their parents love them very much and accept them.  Do you understand what I'm saying?"


"I'm not an Obama fan, but when he spoke about this he sounded very Presidential.  Like he was mad and he wanted answers."

I nodded.  "I think everyone wants answers."

"Why did this maniac's Muslim beliefs lead him to violence?  Why did he want to kill gay men?  Why did he want to kill Latinos?  Can you please explain that to me?"

"I can't."

"Who can, though?  I need an explanation."  He turned and looked directly at me in the backseat, and I could see his eyes were wet and very red.  My heart went out to this man, but I wasn't sure exactly what to say.

"Do you believe in God, Manuel?"

"Yes of course."

"I think at times like this we really have to lean on our faith and pray hard for answers and peace of mind."

"This is really testing my faith.  I lost my son, do you get that?"


"And he died thinking that I didn't love him enough to respect his decision.  Understand me?"


"Why is there so much hate in the world?"

"I wish I knew.  But I have a plan, I try to do something nice for someone every single day.  Even if it's a total stranger, just one act of random kindness.  I believe if every person in the world could do this, inch by inch this could become a better place."

Manuel was quiet for a moment, then looked at me in the rear view mirror.  "50 people died."

"I know."

"My son is dead.  How many other parents are grieving the loss of their child today also?"  He pulled up in front of the Amtrak station.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out $5 to give him as a tip.  "God bless you, Manuel."

He waved away my offer of cash.  "Thank you, but I would rather you save your money and give me another kind of tip.  Can you please pray for all of the people who were shot and killed, and for all their families?"

I patted him on the shoulder.  "I already have been, and will continue to."  I climbed out of the car, but the memory of his words stay with me.  Too much hate in the world.  Hatred towards others because of their ethnicity or sexual identity.  That's all plenty bad enough, but senseless killing and bloodshed?  Why?  I am praying for a better world where we can love each other and support each person's right to live their life the way they choose.  I love gays, blacks, hispanics, Asians, the entire rainbow of diversity.  Because God made us all and I believe He wants us all to love and take care of each other.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


After delivering a car on the outer outskirts of Salt Lake City, I was relieved when my boss Riff told me I was being picked up and taken to my next car.  He said that a big rig truckers wife named Barb was coming to get me and she'd take me 50 miles so I could get a car headed to Florida.

It wasn't long at all before the rain started coming down hard, and an El Camino pulled up and I saw Barb inside.  She was a very plump senior citizen with flaming red hair.  She rolled the window down a crack as I tried to open the door and found it to be locked.  "Bill?" she asked.

"Hi Barb."

"Bill Thomas?"

"Yes ma'am.  Can you unlock the door please?"

"Oh sure, I just wanted to make sure you're Bill.  You are Bill, aren't you?"

"Yes I am."

She unlocked the door.  "Well climb on in, what are you waiting for, its raining?  I want you to know that I'm glad to do this for you, so glad, so extremely glad, it's nothing but a pleasure for me."  I couldn't believe she said all that in one breath.  She hit the gas hard, and I fastened my seatbelt quickly.  "I see you're a seatbelt man, I admire a seatbelt man, I admire any man, well any man who drives cars all over the USA, and if he wears a seatbelt I admire him even more, if you know what I mean."  So I could see that rapid fire talk without taking a breath was her natural speech pattern.

"Do you have the address where you're taking me?"

"Of course I know where we're going, well not really, but I do have the address, its on the whole 'nuther side of Salt Lake, a place I don't go too often, in fact never in my life, but we are going there today, now aren't we?" Barb stopped talking abruptly, just as her eyes shut and her head plopped forward, chin on chest.  Loud snoring sounds came from her, and I was scared to death.  All I could think to do was poke her in the ribs.

Barb came quickly to life and screamed bloody murder, slamming on the brakes of the car with great force.  I was thrown forward, thank goodness for the seatbelt!  "Are you OK, I'm OK, but the question is are you OK, because if anything happened to you I'd die, I swear I'd just die, it would kill me if I scared a passenger, especially one I admire like you."  She stomped on the gas again.

"What happened, Barb?"

"I don't know, I really don't know, I mean my husband Charlie says sometimes I just nod off, but I hope that's not what happened, but I bet it could be, cuz I'm not a betting woman, used to be but no more, and so Charlie, that's my husband Charlie, he likes to bet every chance he gets, morning, noon and--"  Her head slumped, eyes closed, snoring soundly.  I gave her a good poke again, and she screamed at the top of her lungs while slamming on the brakes.  The car behind us nearly rear ended Barb.  "Oh no, did I nod off again, please tell me I didn't, I would be so humiliated, oh please tell me I didn't fall asleep."  She put her foot down on the gas and proceeded.

"Maybe you need some more rest, Barb."

Barb howled with laughter.  "That's rich, oh that's a good one, more rest, like I could get more rest in my house, with my husband Charlie's schedule and my grandkids running in and out, and all the baking I do, I spend half the life in the kitchen, and I'm a darn good cook if you don't mind me saying so, but why would you, I'm only stating the hard cold facts."  She paused uncharacteristically and looked me over.  "So are you a married man?  I don't see a ring on your--"  She passed out again, just as we were getting onto the interstate highway.  I felt a genuine sense of panic.

"Barb!  Barb!  Please wake up!"  She began to swerve across lanes in front of fast moving cars, so I had no choice but to grab the wheel and try to steer us through it.  I poked her again, and she came to life screaming and fighting me for the wheel.  Anticipating her slamming on the brakes, I had steered us onto the shoulder lane.

"Why are your hands on the wheel honey, that's not safe.  There's only one driver in this car."

"I'm sorry Barb, but you were sleeping and swerving."

"Oh no, not again.  This is beginning to get embarrassing, if you know what I mean, but I'm sure you do.  You were just telling me about your wife."  Barb accelerated and steered back onto the highway.

"No, I'm not married."

"You're not married?  Oh listen to me, prying into your business and going places I have no business going, just being a nosey Rosey, but that's just me, I can't help it.  Do you have a girlfriend, or maybe are you a Gay, which is fine with me, though it's none of my business if you don't want to tell me, because the Bible says its a sin to lay with another man, but I don't judge.  What do you--"

Off she went again, just like flipping a light switch.  Instead of getting upset, this time I chose to firmly take the wheel and try to navigate through traffic while Barb slept.  I was doing pretty good, but soon realized she controlled the pedals even as she snoozed, so I got off at an exit ramp and poked her.  She sat upright and screamed loudly, hitting the brakes.

"Why are your hands on the wheel again?" she demanded.

"We are here" I announced.

"What?  How can we be?  This doesn't match the address I have."

"My boss Riff called and changed the address.  This is it, that Auto Parts shop right across the road."

"Well isn't that just like Riff, that old rascal.  He's a scallywag, don't you agree?"

"He's all that and so much more," I said, climbing out of the car.  "Thanks Barb."

I went to the Auto Parts shop and paid the driver to take me the rest of the way once he had a delivery headed in that direction.  For the rest of the day, I kept wondering about Barb and how she lives through a single day driving in traffic.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


I arrived in Spokane, Washington yesterday to pick up a car going to Alaska.  I was very excited, because I had never before been there. My company rarely ever has cars to deliver to Alaska.  My old high school buddy Steve and I have talked about going there together for years, the ultimate road trip.  And yet it has never happened.

I have been to all of the "lower 48" states many times in my travels.  More often than you might think, people ask me if I have ever taken a car to Alaska or Hawaii.  It seems to me that the only way to drive a car to Hawaii is if it can skip across the ocean the way Herbie the Love Bug skipped across a lake like a rock bouncing and skimming on the surface of the water.

My cell phone rang as I got off the city bus at the pickup location.  "This is Bill."

"Hello cupcake."  It was my not-so-charming boss Riff.  "Hello my little marshmallow."

"Hey Riff, I just arrived at the location in Spokane."

"Well good, my little precious."  His voice was thick with sarcasm.  "Now its gonna be very cold in Alaska.  Did you pack your long johns and your footie pajamas?"

"I'll be fine, Riff."

His tone suddenly changed.  "Do I detect an attitude?"

"No Riff, no attitude."

"I think you've been getting a little too big for your britches lately, and I--"  Riff kept on talking but I stopped listening, because a car came flying into the parking lot I was standing in and starting doing donuts at a dangerous speed.  I hung up the phone and hurried towards a brick wall where I could stand safely.  Unless of course this wild driver decided to smash into said wall.

The car came right towards me and stopped just short of slamming into me and the wall.  Then Andy jumped out, and I felt both relief and regret to see him.  He's another driver for my company, and every interaction I'd had with him has been somewhere between bad and worse.  I once saved his life by pulling him out of a car after he flipped it.

"Well, well, well, if it isn't Billy Elliot," he said to me.

"Bill Thomas," I politely corrected him.

"What did you just call me?" he said with menace in his voice.

"Not you, me, I'm Bill Thomas."

"I know that, you think I don't know that?  Good golly, you are a piece of work."

"What are you doing here, Andy?"

"I might ask you the same question."

"Riff sent me to pick up a car going to Alaska."

"Oh, you mean this car, the one I'm driving right now?"

I looked at the Chevy Equinox he was driving and realized that it was the same car I was there to get.  "I'm a little confused."

"Oh, poor baby, he's confused and doesn't know what to do.  Does baby want his bottle?"

"What?  No!  I want to know why you are in my car."

"Wrong, it's my car.  Riff assigned it to me, and I'm headed out to Alaska.  So I guess we can agree that you are screwed royally."

I shook my head.  "This doesn't make any sense."

"Let me help you figure it out.  Riff told you to come get the car so he could teach you a lesson about respect and humility.  And he sent me to get the car so it could be driven up to Juno by a professional driver.  Also, it gives me the opportunity to rub your nose in your failure."

"What failure?"

"Failure to launch!"

"I paid to get myself here to Spokane.  And now I'm going to have to pay to get out of here."

"Boo hoo.  I am so glad that this is causing you a lot of trouble, I finally get my revenge."

"Revenge?  Revenge for what, Andy?"

"For pulling me out of that car when I flipped it."

"It was the right thing to do, but I'm not sure why you want revenge."

"Because if it was my time to die, then I should have kicked the bucket right then and there.  You deprived me of the opportunity."

"To die?"

"You got it.  I could be partying my ass off in Hell right now if it weren't for you.  Bye bye, loser."  Andy burned rubber as he sped out of the parking lot onto the street, nearly hitting two cars and causing them to swerve out of his way.

I was going to call Riff, but thought that would only upset me more.  So I called my friend Steve in Kentucky.  He answered on the first ring.  "Hey Bill, so good to hear from you."

"Hey buddy."

"Uh-oh, what's the matter?  I know that tone in your voice, and its not a happy one."

"You still want to take that road trip to Alaska?"

"Yep, and as soon as I retire we are going to do it.  I'm just glad it will be the first time for both of us, I've been afraid that you'd get a car to deliver there."

I smiled.  "Nope, not much chance of that."

Friday, April 22, 2016


For as many years as I've been out driving on the road, it's almost amazing that I never ate at a Waffle House.  Guess I have gotten into the habit of using drive thru because I can roll through then keep right on going and eat as I drive.  But last week as I passed through Mississippi, I decided to pull over and have an early breakfast there.

It wasn't too crowded when I walked inside.  I sat at the counter, and was looking at the menu when a clown in full costume came and sat down next to me.  "Hungry?" he asked me.
"Yes sir.  Breakfast is my favorite meal."

"Really?  That's very odd.  By the way, I'm Bobo the clown."  I noticed that he seemed somewhat morose, not at all cheerful and clown-like.  "Ever had breakfast for dinner?  Now that is a truly kinky experience."

"Yes, I like breakfast anytime."

"Have you decided what you're going to get yet?"

"No, I'm still studying the menu.  This is my first time at the Waffle House."

Bobo was stunned.  "No way.  How is it possible that anyone in America has not eaten at the Waffle House?"

"It's true."

"I find that hard to believe."  Bobo lit up and started smoking, and I recognized the aroma of marijuana.

"Uh, I don't think it's cool to smoke in here, Bobo."

"Don't worry, it's not a cigarette.  That's what they don't want you to smoke in a restaurant is cigarettes, not weed."  He inhaled deeply.  "Now do you like yours smothered, covered or chunky?"

I had just been looking at the hashbrowns on the menu, and noticed the variations that Bobo had mentioned.  "I was just trying to decide.  I've never seen so many different ways to fix hashbrowns."

Bobo seemed surprised.  "Hashbrowns?  I was talking about women."

This confused me, but I let it pass.  Bobo began to cry.  "Are you OK, Bobo?"

"No I am not OK."  He took a long puff off his joint.  "Not OK at all.  I know what you're thinking, the life of a clown, all fun and games, happy go lucky. Bullshit!  Haven't you ever heard about the tears of a clown?  When no ones around?"

I wasn't sure what to say to this.  No doubt about it, this had to be the saddest clown I had ever encountered.  "Anything I can do to help?"

He got very irate and pointed a finger at me.  "Oh, now you want to help me.  Now you decide its time to reach out to poor Bobo."

"I just wanted to--"

"I know what you just wanted, and it's too little too late.  Where's your compassion, where's your heart?  Is all you can think about stuffing your face with waffles?  Which, by the way, are very delicious here."  Bobo began to sob and ran off, heading straight into the Ladies restroom.  A waitress came over and took my order.  I wondered what in the world was wrong with Bobo the clown, and if he had gone into the wrong restroom by accident. 

By the time my breakfast arrived, I had observed that Bobo was causing quite a stir.  One woman needed to go to the restroom but couldn't, and then the Waffle House manager noticed smoke coming out from under the door.  The police showed up soon after, and they only gave knocking a try once before they forced the door open.  As they dragged a sobbing Bobo out, I noticed he was sucking on a straight glass pipe which I believe is used for crack.  The clown began to kick and scream, but the cops had no problem forcing him into submission.  In a bizarre way, I felt like I was getting dinner and a show.  Well, breakfast and a show.

As you are driving down the highway, stop in and check out a Waffle House.  They are abundant and seem to be everywhere you go, and they make fantastic waffles and hashbrowns.  But if you see a clown headed your way, you might want to take a detour.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


Today I was at the Greyhound station in Richmond, Virginia.  As I've mentioned many times, I dislike riding Greyhound intensely due to many bad experiences in the past.  But I had dropped a car in Richmond, and the bus was the quickest, cheapest, most convenient way to get to Washington, D.C.  I figured I could tolerate a two hour ride.

As I sat in the station, I saw the usual suspects, all manner of odd folks who looked right at home in the bus station.  There was one woman who talked extremely loudly on the phone, broadcasting her personal life to everyone there.  And there was one gentleman having a very animated conversation with the wall.

Most of the passengers seem to use Hefty trash bags as luggage.  Very chic.  And the majority of them do not know the meaning of the word soap.  I have no idea why this is, but I can say unequivocally that it's true.

I tried hard to read the latest JACK REACHER novel, because I find them endlessly fascinating.  Yet I kept on getting interrupted by people coming up to me and asking for money.  Some wanted cash to get a soda, some needed their potato chip fix.  There are times that I feel generous, but this was not one of those days.  I had not been paid in full for the last three car deliveries, and was trying hard to conserve funds.  Which is exactly why I was riding Greyhound.

Some state troopers came into the station.  I was worried that there might be trouble, so after a few minutes I walked over and asked them what was up.  They said they were there for a training exercise and there was nothing to worry about.  I went back and sat down, then watched a man enter the station and walk up to the officers to engage in conversation.  Then he pulled out a gun and the shooting began, and I hit the floor and prayed.  Several people including a cop were shot and badly wounded, and the man who started it all was killed.

Now I have another good reason not to ride Greyhound.  Maybe I should start carrying a gun myself.

Monday, March 21, 2016


After delivering a car in Charlotte NC, I went to the the train station to catch Amtrak to Miami.  It would be a 24 hour ride, and I'd much rather fly, but the plane fares were prohibitively expensive so the choo-choo express was my only option.  Other than Greyhound, which would take twice as long as the train for the same amount of money.  And I don't do Greyhound anymore.

When I got my train ticket at the counter, I was told that we'd be heading north to Raleigh on one train, then get off and get on another train headed south.  After the announcement was made to board, I went out to the platform and climbed onto the train.  I chose an aisle seat, and then pulled down the tray table in front of the empty window seat so I could quickly arrange my things before we got rolling.

Once we were moving, the conductor came down the aisle asking for tickets.  He was a short, stocky man with a slight limp, and when he got to me he said  "Sir, you need to move your things out of that seat so that someone else can sit there."

"I'm just arranging my stuff on the tray table, I'm almost done."

"You will move your things right now, you are preventing someone else from having a seat."

I looked around the train car I was sitting in, and it was only 1/4 full.  "I will remove it immediately if someone wants to sit here."

He suddenly jutted his head towards me rapidly, so that our noses were almost touching.  He seethed as he spoke to me menacingly.  "Tell you what, you will move your things immediately this very moment or the police will be waiting for you at the next station to drag your sorry ass off of this train."

I shrugged.  "OK, but why so hostile?"

"Because I don't like thieves.  You are committing a crime, it's called loss of revenue.  You are taking two seats and therefore preventing Amtrak from selling that other seat.  Are we clear?"

I nodded sheepishly.  He seemed a lot angrier than was necessary, as if I was a repeat offender troublemaker.  I quickly moved all of my things off of the tray table.  I made a few phone calls, and then got my writing tablet and began working on my new book.

After a while, the conductor came by again and said to me,  "Don't think you are out of hot water yet.  I've got my eye on you."  He really left a bad taste in my mouth, I had never received such treatment on Amtrak.

When we got to Raleigh, I noted that there were already a lot of people waiting at the train station.  They were getting on my second train, only Raleigh was their point of origin.  I saw two men on opposite sides of the station both with seeing eye dogs.  I assumed they were blind, as they each had a white cane in addition to the dogs.

I sat next to one of the blind men, and he introduced himself as Tim.  The dog was a beautiful black lab called Dudley, and he reminded me so much of Paulie, the dog I rescued in Texas when I first met my friends Tom and Jenny.  Tim told me that he had never traveled by train, and he was a bit nervous about it.  I offered to help him out in any way that I could.  When the station manager called for all passengers to go out to the loading platform across the street, Tim did not budge.  He said he had been told to stay put and someone would come and get him.  "Would you mind very much staying with me?"

"No not at all, it would be my pleasure."  We talked and he told me what it was like to be blind, and how he could sense things about people that sighted people often miss.  And he said that he loved to read.  "You read?  How do..."

"Audio books.  The U.S. Library of Congress has a great program, and send me books to read.  Well, technically to listen to."

Time ticked by, and I began to get concerned.  "Maybe we should head out to the platform, I'd be happy to help you."

"Thanks, that's very kind of you.  But I was told to wait here and that's what I should do."

"No problem, but it's been a while and I want to go out and check to be sure they don't leave us behind."

He seemed disturbed by this idea, and nodded at me.  "Maybe you should go check, that is very nice of you."

I went outside and crossed the street, and saw that nearly everyone had boarded the train.  The station manager saw me and said,  "Where have you been, you nearly missed the train."

"I'm here.  I was just keeping Tim and his dog company in the station."

"They have already been boarded, and it's time for you to get on as well."

"No ma'am, they are still in the station."

"Sir, you missed something somehow, because I personally got the blind man and his dog onto the train."

She turned and walked off, and the conductor asked for my ticket.  I tried again with him, saying "There is a blind man and his service animal in the station waiting to be escorted onto the train."

He held up a hand to calm me, and said, "I heard what you were telling the manager, and I can assure you that the man and his dog are already on the train."

"Yes, the man with the white dog.  This man is Tim, he has a black dog."

He seemed amused.  "You telling me there are two blind men and two dogs?  Climb on board sir, we have everything under control.  Please get a seat, we will be pulling out in less than one minute."

I took a step onto the train and then turned back.  "Listen to me, I am begging you to have someone check inside the station before the train leaves, just to be sure."

"We are sure."


"All aboard!" yelled the conductor.

I got on and found a seat in the front row right next to the exit door and restroom.  We sat still for a few minutes, and then I saw the station manager bringing Tim and Dudley on board.  They sat right across the aisle from me.  "Where is my friend Bill?" asked Tim.

"I'm right here, buddy," I replied.

"Dudley and I owe you a debt of thanks.  I heard that the train almost left me, but you insisted that they check on me.  I am deeply grateful."

I reached over and patted Dudley on the head, and he licked me.  I settled back in my seat hoping to get some sleep on the long ride ahead.

Friday, February 26, 2016


Last week I delivered a car to a man in South Carolina.  He called me every half hour on my trip there, asking how far I had gotten, what mile marker I was passing, etc.  He had a whole lot of questions, and frankly I felt relieved when I pulled into his driveway to drop off the car so the endless phone calls could end.

I walked up to the front door, and could hear shouting clearly coming from inside the house.  As I reached up to knock on the door, it quickly flew open.  "Mr. Davidson?" I asked.

"Yes, that's me."

His wife aggressively pushed her way next to him and poked her head out the door.  "And Mrs. Davidson too, if you don't mind."

"Hello to you both. I'm Bill Thomas, your friendly driver."

"You got here just in time, Bill," he said to me.  "We need you to help us."

I shrugged.  "Sure I will, if I can."

"This stupid woman I call my wife says that we should all vote for Donald Trump."

His wife nodded and jerked her thumb at her husband.  "And this lunkhead thinks we should vote for Hillary Clinton.  Can you imagine?"

I held up a hand in a cautionary fashion.  "My grandfather always taught me to avoid political discussions."

Mrs. Davidson grunted.  "He was probably a crooked Democrat."

Her husband put his hands on his hips.  "So now all Democrats are crooked?"

"What do you mean SO NOW?  They've always been a bunch of conniving reprobates."

"What about Republicans?"

"What about us?" she asked.

"Exactly!" he spat.

I held up the paperwork.  "Mr. Davidson, if you could just sign here for the car."

"Not until I get your opinion."

"I have none."

This angered the wife further.  "Oh you have no opinion.  You are just one of those uninformed, blissfully ignorant morons who get spoon fed by the drive by media and accept whatever you are told as fact."

Her husband shook his head sadly.  "He didn't say any of that."

She pointed a finger at her husband.  "He didn't have to.  I know him and his kind.  He doesn't care who becomes our next President."

I had to speak up.  "I do care.  But at this point we still don't know who will be the candidates on each side."

Mr. Davidson looked upset and disappointed.  "Well now you're just talking nonsense.  It's going to be Trump vs. Hillary."

"And then Mr. Trump will win," added his wife triumphantly.

"And I will move to Canada."

"You'll be moving there alone."

"Fine by me, you vicious shrew," he said with feeling.

"How dare you call your wife such a thing."

"Just stating the facts, missy.  At least someone in this house believes in women's rights, and that a woman should be in the White House."

"Yes, she was in there once before, but she couldn't make her own husband behave.  How do you think she's going to make America behave?"

"Behave?" he asked.

I slid the pen carefully into his hand and put the paperwork in a position for him to sign.  I was amazed at how he automatically signed without seeming to notice he was doing so.

Mrs. Davidson puffed up.  "He's going to build a wall.  He's going to make America great again!"

"Great for who?" he demanded.

"Thanks folks, hope you enjoy the car."  I handed him a copy of the paperwork and started to leave.

"Where do you think you're going?" his wife asked me.

"You didn't answer our question yet," added her husband.

"And I never will.  I'm one of those guys who still believes in a secret vote, private balloting, that sort of thing."

She looked at me and scoffed.  "He's a commie, don't pay him any attention."

Her husband nodded and gave me a bitter glare.  "I'm going to call your company and say that you were rude and uncooperative."

I walked down the driveway carrying my bag and waved.  Sometimes you just can't please people.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


 It's January 2016, and business had been slow for me driving and delivering cars.  I had a Mercedes Benz to drive up to Philadelphia, and just as I crossed the state line from North Carolina into Virginia it broke down.  I had no idea why.  For someone who drives so many cars, it's amazing how little I know about how they run.  It was coughing and sputtering before it quit completely so I was able to get off at a rural exit and rolled to a stop on the shoulder just off the top of the ramp.

I got out and shivered in the cold as I popped the hood and looked under it.  I don't know what I was looking for, I had no idea what was wrong or how to fix it.  I only know I was very fatigued after having driven from Miami, and it was getting dark.  Luckily a street light illuminated the area where I parked.  I got back into the car and started thinking about all of the adventures I've had driving, but also about how my boss Riff often screwed me over and still owed me over $500 in back pay.

Just as I felt I was about to nod off, I felt a sense of warmth come over me.  I heard a light knocking on my car window, and was startled to see a familiar face looking in at me.

"Hello?" He said.

I knew the face, but could not remember ever meeting this guy.  I rolled down the window.  "Hi."

"Need some help?"

I climbed out of the car.  "Do you know anything about cars?"

"Little bit.  I know a little bit about everything."  He had long brown hair and a beard.  And there was a kindness in His face.

"You look so familiar to me."

"Well I hope so."

"Have we met?"

"Not in person, no.  But I watch you all the time, Bill."

I was stumped.  I did not know this guy.  "How did you know I'm Bill?"

"I know everything about you, you driving fool.  Now who do I remind you of?"

I had to stop and think.  I thought I knew the answer, but it didn't make sense.  "You actually remind me of pictures of Jesus they used to show us in church when I was growing up."

He winked at me.  "Bingo."

"What?  Wait, are you saying you're..."  I trailed off.

"Yes, it's me, and it is a real pleasure to meet you."

I felt numb as I said  "Well the pleasure is all mine.  Is this the second coming I read about in the Bible?"

"No, no, the rapture isn't upon you quite yet.  I just like to drop in on people from time to time and see how they are doing."

" I would think you would save that honor for Presidents or Popes.  Those who are very special."

"You are very special to me, Bill."

"I am?  I can't believe You look just like the pictures I saw of You."

"That's how I am appearing to you because that is what you recognize.  Actually when I lived here on Earth I looked nothing like this.  My skin was darker, I had more of a Mediterranean look.  All the movies they've made about me, they never got me right."


"Far from it.  Jeffrey Hunter did an okay job in KING OF KINGS, but blue eyes?  Come on."

"You saw that movie?"

"If they made a movie about you, wouldn't you watch it?"

"Guess so," I agreed.

"In Ben Hur the actor who played me was never fully seen, but that chariot race was great."

I smiled.  "It sure was."

"Now JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and GODSPELL had some good music in them.  Frankly, I didn't care for Willem Dafoe's portrayl in THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST.  Scorsese is a great director, but that definitely wasn't one of his best.  Just my opinion."


He walked around to the still open hood and looked at the engine.  He began pulling at wires and checking plugs, all foreign to me.  "Jim Caviezel really nailed it in THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, but that was a hard one to watch.  So violent, so real, way too graphic for me."

"It was certainly hard to watch it without wriggling in my seat."

"Now in THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, Max von Sydow was just too stoic and regal for my taste.  Although I did love him in the new STAR WARS movie."

"You like STAR WARS?"

"Who doesn't like STAR WARS?  I wish he had been in it longer, but that devil Kylo Ren did him in all too quickly."

"This is so weird, You talking about movie references.  I love movies."

He smiled and nodded at me.  "I know you do."

"You know what I like?  Me, just plain old Bill Thomas?"

"I know everything about you.  And I love you very much.  You don't realize how special you are to me."

"Am I?"

"Absolutely you are.  I watch you every single day, and love the fact that you try to spread a little happiness wherever you go.  You reach out to help people, even though a lot of them take advantage of you.  But you remain determined and keep right on believing that there is good in everyone."

"It feels like the right thing to do."

He elbowed me lightly in the ribs.  "It is the right thing.  With all the ugliness and hatred in the world, if more people like you would try to spread a little kindness around it would be a much nicer place to live."

"You mean America?"

"Think big, Bill.  I mean the world.  And by the way, my Father is very fond of you also."

"You mean God?"

"Who else would I mean?  I can tell you that He gave you a good heart and a special talent for touching people and bringing them joy.  Both of us watch you sometimes and wonder why you are still driving when you have so much to offer."

"Hey, I'd love to make my living on my writing and making movies, but it hasn't happened for me yet."

"And you know the reason why."

"What?  No I don't."

"Yes you do.  Bill, my Father gave you wonderful gifts He wants you to share with the world.  Get back into the car please."

"Into the car?  Okay, sure."

"And I died to save you.  So do something with your life and your gifts."  As he slammed the hood shut he said loudly "Wake up!"

The car started suddenly and I sat upright very fast.  Wow, what a dream!  It seemed so very real, and yet of course it was all in my mind.  I wasn't sure how the car got started, but I wasn't going to complain, I was going to drive to Richmond and get a good night's sleep.

As I started to put the car in Drive, I heard a repetitive beep coming from the center console.  Sounded like a former employee had left their beeper or cell phone in the car.  I looked inside, and there was a cell phone.  And underneath it was a Bible.  I didn't remember seeing either one of them there before.  How strange... but how wonderful.