This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental. This story is copyrighted by Azlan Lewis Stories, L.L.C., all rights reserved. Distribution, including but not limited to: posting on internet sites, newsgroups, or message boards, or in book form (either as a whole or part of a compilation), or on CD, DVD or any other electronic media, is expressly prohibited without the author's written consent.
[Author's Note: Though I use real locations, I at times may take literary license. That means I may add, change, subtract or manipulate things to fit the story. So they may not entirely reflect the locality I am using but are not in the realm of impossibility. Also the websites I’ve noted at the end of the story were current at the time of submission and are supplied for your use and hopefully enjoyment. Thank you, Azlan
Questions, Comments about the story can be sent to email@example.com]
© 2013 Azlan Lewis Stories, L.L.C.
It was another day on the road, I had been driving like many days, weeks, months and even years before.
You see, I'm a trucker, a long haul trucker to be precise. That means I take my “load” that is in the trailer I'm pulling with my tractor, that’s what we truckers call our semi cab, over long distances, say two or more states away from it’s point of origin to where it is to be delivered. Then someone unloads my trailer, signs the bill of lading and I'm back off to pick up another load.
Oh, I guess by now you are wondering who I am? My name is Scott Thomas Winslow, I'm 38, I'm not married, never have been. I don’t have a girl friend. I don’t have any children. It’s not that I didn’t want any of that, but being on the road having any of that wouldn’t have worked. I would never see them, at least not very much. When I was 18 I didn’t want to go to college, but I wanted to travel. My father told me, you either go to college or get the training to do something, I will pay for either one of those or you get a job. Well, my father was a fair man, he’d said the same to my brother and sister before me and then the same offer to my two younger siblings.
So with the idea I wanted to travel and knowing that I had two younger siblings that would likely get that same offer, I told my dad I would like to become a commercial driver, something not too costly for him.
My father never argued against my choice. He told me of all the options for me, the positives, the negatives of all that can come with being a commercial driver. He even told me about the drugs that could come my way. After he told me that, I was still unwavering in my choice.
So that’s what I learned: to be a commercial driver. It was an easy time, it wasn’t long before I had my C.D.L (Commercial Driver’s License). I wasn’t even 19 by the time I had it. Well, that’s 20 years ago now, I'm 38.
In that time, I’ve bought a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom house, on 20 acres of land, paid cash for it. Since I'm only home 4 days a month, I pay one of my nephews to come by and mow the lawn, take the mail in and make it look like someone lives there more then just 4 days a month I'm really there.
In those 20 years of driving, the federal government has changed the rules for us commercial drivers. One of them was how long we could be behind the wheel. 14 hours on, 10 hours off*.
While many drivers tried to skirt those, it was only a matter of time before they were caught and fined. I always followed whatever rules the feds came up with.
It’s one of the reasons I was one of the highest paid drivers for the company I worked for. When I say worked for, that’s a loose term. I really was my own boss. I owned my tractor/trailer combo. They were just the job broker, and the company that gave me the money for transporting the cargo. It also allowed me to get health insurance at a lower rate by going through this broker company. Because of the high standards I set for myself, I never got tickets, never got into the drugs or into trouble.
I wanted to travel and see the country and I did, I couldn’t do that if I didn’t have a commercial driver’s license.
Well, I was in the northern states this trip. I started in Minnesota (my home state) and headed east. It was half way through Indiana when my trip clock buzzed off, it was 13:30:59(13 hours, 30 minutes, 59 seconds) I had just a half an hour before I had to stop and shut down.
It was late spring in early June, it had been raining all day, not just a light rain but a heavy down pour, one that somewhere, I'm sure, was causing flash floods.
I had made this journey many times before. I knew there was a TA Travel Center off** of I-65 and S.R. 50 in Seymour, Indiana.
My trip alarm had just given me the five minute warning at 13:55:59, when I pulled into the TA in Seymour, IN. I shut down my rig, punched in my Social Security number and password into my trip computer and it switched to 10:00:00, a ten hour count down before I could be back on the road again.
I climbed out of my rig, did a walk around. I made sure my signs were clearly visible and no other issue. “No Lot Lizards, No Passengers, No Exceptions!” I can see it now, “What is a Lot Lizard?”, you are asking. A Lot Lizard is someone that hangs around truck stops, usually women but not always that tries to have sex with truckers, sometimes for money, sometimes for a ride somewhere, they weren’t something I wanted to do with many of them were drug addicted and I did not want that inside my rig.
I ran to the check-in booth, to give the attendant my space number and my TA I.D. number and rig description.
I picked up the well used phone, it rang twice.
“Welcome to TA Center Seymour, Suzie here, Space Number Please” I heard with a slight southern accent.
"Space 24," I answered.
“Are you a TA Travel Center Member?” Suzie asked
"Yes, my TA ID Number is 33562."
“Thank you!” Suzie stated.
“Mr. Winslow, you have 328,241 TA Travel points. Are you still driving the Sterling Blue and Red Rig?” Suzie piped into the receiver
“Yes, Suzie, that is confirmed,” I told her
“Thank you Mr. Winslow, you are logged in and are free to use our shower services and laundry facility. Please enjoy a meal at our restaurant. Enjoy your stay at TA Center Seymour,” Suzie said.
I had put down the receiver, turned around and zip. I blinked. I thought I saw something run under the back of my rig. It had not come out the other side.
I thought, 'Oh, great a dog or worse a raccoon.' So I ran between rain drops back to my rig to get my laundry and shower kit, and to get my metal tire thumper to scare the dog or raccoon out from behind my tractor.
So I opened the door to get the metal thumper out and I a faint whisper. “Finally a warm one, we'll be ok now.”
Well, neither dogs nor raccoons can talk now or this was no animal. I got my tire thumper out and went to the third pair of wheels on my tractor and smacked the tire to make a nice “Thwack” sound. I waited and I again hit the tire, this time closer in on the second tire. “Thwack”
Then I heard a different voice, “Is that going to hit us, Tommy, I’m scared?” It squeaked.
“Nnnnooooo Di Di Di Davy,” the voice of the whisper assured Davy.
Well, I knew then it was young kids I was dealing with, so I wasn’t going to scare them any more.
So I decided to be on the kind side, I was stern yet as friendly as I could be.
"OK, Davy and Tommy, you had better come out from behind there now or I'm calling the police," I told them.
"Pah..pah..pah..pah please sssssir di..di..di..di don’t tttt," stammered Tommy.
Two of the dirtiest boys I had ever seen came out from their short lived hiding place. They were so dirty I couldn’t tell what color their clothing used to be. They were shivering from fear and cold from the rain.
"Ok, boys, so far I'm not going to call the police. Here is what is going to happen," I told them.
"1. Tell me your names;
2. You are my nephews and you are going to call me Uncle Scott;
3. One of you will carry my laundry one will carry my shower gear;
4. You are going to take a shower and I am going to wash your clothing;
5. Then we are going to eat something at Restaurant."
"I…I…I…I’m T T T Tommy," said the taller boy.
"I’m Davy," squeaked the smaller boy.
"Any questions?" I inquired.
"No," was the reply from both the boys.
I handed each one a bag and told them to follow me. Surprisingly they both did.
I told the boys to go up the stairs and to wait for me at the top.
I went to the trucking/convenience store counter. I saw Suzie and asked her for two empty plastic bags. I told her my nephews fell in the mud and need them to hold their dirty clothing so I could take them to the laundry area. Suzie said “Yeah, we got a few puddles out there. Sorry your nephews found them.” Then she handed me the two bags.
I took the bags and met the two boys at the top of the stairs.
We went to the shower rooms. I punched in my TA code into one of the shower room doors and it clicked open.
I herded the two boys into the room.
There were three parts to the shower room, a small changing/sitting area, a sink area and the shower area.
"Tommy, Davy, here is what you two are going to do. You're going to go into the shower stall, remove ALL your clothing and put it in the bag here. Set the bag outside of the curtain and then you two will take a shower and make sure you get all good and soapy and clean. I'm going to take your clothing and wash it while you take a shower. Then I'm going to come back in and you two can get dressed. There is a towel for each of you in the bag with the soap and shampoo. Any questions, you two?" I asked.
“Nnnnnoo,” Tommy said.
Both boys proceeded behind the shower curtain and I heard their sneakers hit the floor.
“Mister, do you want our shoes in the bag too?” Davy asked.
“Yes, boys, anything you had on goes in the bag. Ok?” I said.
“Ok,” they both echoed back to me.
Shortly after that exchange two bags were filled with what little clothing they had.
"Alright, Tommy and Davy, I'm going to take your clothing and mine and go to the laundry center and I'm going to wash everything. I will come back. Don’t worry, I'm the only one that can get in here and Tommy, after I leave, I want you to switch the lock over so it will say 'Occupied' when I shut the door."
So I gathered up the two bags and my laundry and went out the door.
“Ok, Tommy, flip the lock over,” I talked through the door.
I heard a small giggle. "Ok, Uncle Scott, but it’s me, Davy.” The bolt went 'click.' The room said 'Occupied'.
I was pleased it had gone so well this far. Now, what of these two boys? What is their story?
To Be Continued…..
*Current U.S. Federal Government Regulations on commercial drivers (as of 8/12/2012):
** TA Travel Center Website (Though mainly for Truckers/Commercial Drivers. They do have parking and gasoline for non-commercial vehicles and welcome all travelers to most of their facility):