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The Boxer Drifter Wayne Dale

Story ID:6064
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:retired
Story type:Story
Location:Hemet CA USA
Year:2000
Person:Still Driftin, Chelsea Kansas Kid
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The Boxer
Epilogue of “The Drifters”
Wayne Dale

When Tubbs paid Wayne his wages, $500 bucks, he decided to hitch hike back to Texas. Wayne had placed his money in his socks. The twenty-dollar bills made his ankles look swelled. He tried to keep his pants pulled down over the bulge in his ankles.

He had his clothes packed neatly in a cardboard box with a rope around it to loop over his shoulder making it easy to carry.

While he was thumbing a ride on the road, it started raining. The cardboard box got wet and started to come apart. A farmer stopped and asked Wayne where he was going. He told him home. The farmer told him to get in. The soggy cardboard box fell apart in the pickup. The farmer said he had a gunny sack that he could use to carry his clothes in. Wayne thanked him and transferred his clothes in to the sack.

The farmer entered a small town and told him that he was going no farther. Wayne thanked him for the ride and got out in front of a small café.

He went inside the “Honey Bee” café to stay dry and get something to eat. When he entered, he saw three stools and one booth. The small café was really small. The waitress, Honey Bee, asked him what he would like. He ordered the blue plate special. When the food came, he couldn’t recognize the chicken fried steak from the mashed potatoes. The food tasted good and when he finished; he ordered a piece of apple pie. The apple pie looked like the chicken fried steak but tasted good. He paid Honey Bee and started out to look for another ride.

As he stood waiting for a ride, a car with a couple guys inside pulled up. Before he got in they jumped out and started to take his sack. Wayne having been a boxer knocked them out without breaking a sweat. The sheriff pulled up and saw the two toughs lying on the street. He asked Wayne what happened. He told him they went for his sack and he stopped them. The sheriff thanked him and drove him to the city limits where he could go on his way.

A huge truck started slowing when he saw Wayne and stopped and asked if he needed a ride. He got into the Peterbilt truck and settled back for a long ride. The truck was roomy and comfortable and he wished he could make it to Texas in this rig.

This driver was a big man and he was a talker. He told Wayne how he got lonesome riding the highways alone. He had his CB radio to keep in contact with the other over the roaders but it got boring in the truck during the long hauls. The driver told about how his wife had died and his 12 children depended on him to send money for their board and keep. The driver got all teary eyed and blew his nose a couple times while telling the story. He said that he didn’t have enough money to send a birthday present to his youngest. Wayne felt sorry for the guy and gave him $50.00. The trucker thanked him as they pulled into the truck stop.

The trucker went inside and Wayne looked for another ride because these sob stories were getting to him. Some gal in a Kenworth asked him if he wanted a ride. He said yes and got in. The truck reeked of cheap perfume but it was dry and warm.

She asked him if he had gotten out of that red Peterbilt and he said yes. She told him they called the driver Weepy because he was always crying. Wayne told her he had a right to weep. He told me the story about the 12 children and the dead wife. She laughed. “He has never been married and has no kids.” The guy used this guise to get someone to loan him money. “He is a liar.” Wayne didn’t tell her that he gave him fifty bucks.

She showed Wayne how to shift the fifteen-speed transmission and he got behind the wheel to drive to spell her off. He started three times and killed the engine all three. She told him what he was doing wrong and he made it onto the interstate.

When he got up to 80 miles an hour, she disappeared into the sleeper. He started to relax and enjoy the view. Sitting this high off the road, he could see for miles. The hum of the tires and the purring of the engine lulled him into a thoughtful mood. He thought about home, his girl, his old mother and how he would like a big piece of Mom’s peach cobbler.
He could see why driving a big rig was exciting, as cars with kids passed him the kids wanted him to blow the big air horns. When he did the kids would clap their hands and wave to him. Amber, the owner of the truck never woke up.

As they moved through the Dakotas, he was glad to get such a long ride. Amber came out of the sleeper and asked him if he wanted to catch a few winks. They changed and Wayne crawled back into the sleeper and went to sleep. When he awoke, they were at a truck stop in Nebraska. They got out, showered, ate dinner and climbed back into the rig, and started south again.

Amber said that some car was tailgating them. The car pulled alongside. The guy in the front rolled down his window and yelled something obscene to Amber, and she turned red. Amber was a pretty blonde but the obscenity was out of order. The car pulled alongside again and Amber told him to hold on. The car came along beside us and she started crowding him off the road. The driver fell back and when he got even with the wheels on the 40-ft. trailer, she jerked the wheel, the trailer hit the car, and it went off the road into the ditch.

He told Amber that knocking the car into the ditch was uncalled for. She stopped in the middle of the road and told him to get out. He did.

As he watched the Kenworth disappear down the road, he wished he had kept his mouth shut.

It was cold and damp. It had stopped raining but there was a chill in the air. A pair of headlights appeared coming toward him. He stood up with his thumb out. The car stopped and he got in. It was warm and he could smell coffee, he thought how good it smelled. The guy behind the wheel said he was a traveling salesman. He said that the stories about the traveling salesman weren’t true especially about the farmer’s daughter. The salesman asked him if he would like a cup of Joe and he said yes. He poured him a cup with cream and sugar. He liked it black but it was delicious and he started to warm up.

The salesman pulled into Salina, Kansas, and he stopped at a Motel 12 on the outskirts of the city. He told him he could share a room with him and Wayne declined. He took the room next door to the salesman. After he showered and shaved, he hit the hay. Wayne woke up early in the morning and noticed the police outside the motel at the room that the salesman had taken. With the lights out he cracked the door and heard the coroner tell the sheriff that the salesman had been killed. They were discussing the guy that rode in with him. He dressed took his sack and left out the bathroom window and headed for the road.

He walked into the all night café and stashed his sack under the booth. The waitress came to him and said “my name is Ezmerelda” “May I take your order.” The sheriff came in and ordered a cup of coffee and Wayne was scared that he would take him in for the murder. His tongue was glued to the roof of his mouth finally, he said “Apple pie a la mode.”

He didn’t remember eating the pie, he was as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof. Ezmerelda noticed and gave him his ticket. She pointed to it with her pencil and he could see scribbled on it “my place is next door, the key is under the door mat.” He left his sack he paid and walked out. He went next door, found the key, entered and sat down on the floor and wondered what to do next. He knew they would think he had killed the salesman and he was sick with worry.

The door opened and the waitress had brought his sack with her. She drew the blinds, turned on the lights and asked him what the matter could be. He told her his story and she believed him.

She made coffee and they sat up and talked the rest of the night. She told him she was a farmer’s daughter and not to believe the stories about the traveling salesman and the farmer’s daughter. They just weren’t true. She told me living on the farm was the pits. She said she could make more money in tips per night than her Daddy could make in a month on that farm.

The sun started to come up and she said she had to get some sleep. She only had one bed and he would have to sleep on the divan. She went to sleep right away but he had trouble falling asleep in the daytime. He couldn’t leave until it got dark that night so he had nothing to do but sleep.

He could hear Ezmerelda snoring in the next room. It sounded like four young pigs drinking slop out of the hog trough. It was so bad he almost left in the daylight but he sweated it out. The snorting stopped in the next room and Ezmerelda came out in an old chenille robe, hair down in her eyes and breath that would stop a freight train. Any thought of getting to know this woman better just faded away.

Ezmerelda told him to take the keys to her car and head on down to Texas. He couldn’t believe his ears. This woman trusted him with her car for a seven hundred-mile trip how nice. One catch he had to take her along.

He told her he could not do this, but thanks anyway. She said to him if he didn’t take her, she would call the Sheriff.

They left that night and drove all night. They stopped at a Motel 13 in Amarillo, Texas and he was so tired he did not hear Ezmerelda snoring. They ate the next morning and he got home the next day. Ezmerelda fell asleep in the car. He parked the car and started to sneak out and take a city bus to his Mom’s house. He felt guilty and got back into the car and drove to his Mom’s house. When they arrived, he introduced Ezmerelda to everyone.

His Mom started planning the wedding and he had to go through with it. After all Ezmerelda had saved his bacon and he owed her. They lived happily ever after.

He had her nose worked on and she doesn’t snore anymore.
Monte L. Manka 1-29-00

P.S. The next morning he was reading the Morning Bugle Herald. The headline was “Murder Solved.” The story was about the traveling salesman. Some farmer had found him and did him in. Maybe it is true about the Farmer’s Daughter.?