After Harry, Clarence stood and told his story.
I rode with my Dad when he was on a long Haul. I made up my mind that I would buy me a “Kenworth” tractor and follow in my Dad’s footsteps.
Dad and Mom were divorced and I could not figure out why. They loved each other very much but Dad was gone weeks at a time and Mom got lonely. She started hanging out at the local bar and before long some smooth talking son-of-a-gun ran off with her to parts unknown. Dad was hit hard from the loss of Mom but survived and drove from morning til night.
My Dad tried to talk me out of the truckin trade but I had already made up my mind. In the fall, I went to high school. I did not ride with Dad so I could get educated.
I fell in love with Susie Zimmerman. We eloped and got hitched and settled down in a 20-foot trailer. The honeymoon was great. We camped out, went to the State Fair and went to the car races.
I drove to town to see the local banker. I finally got a loan for my new Tractor. After I paid the down payment, bought the necessary licenses, and permits I was in debt about $150,000. With hard work and pulling a full load on the turn-around, I could pay off the tractor in about fifty years.
With the TV, Stereo and big sleeper I could take my wife with me and she could spell me off on the driving. Things were going great. I would no sooner unhook from one delivery I would hook up to a full trailer and head out.
After a month, I could see that it was going to take me sixty years to pay off the truck. The loads were short hops and barely paid for the fuel.
Susie got pregnant right away and decided to stay home and have the kid. I was in New York when Sarah was born and did not see her until she was thirteen months old. I was working twenty hours a day just to keep food on the table and clothes for the wife and kid.
I blew a front tire on the Kenworth and it cost $250.00 for a new tire. The profit for the day was $300.00 this would put me in the red if I blew another tire this month.
The first year was a good year. The second year you could see the wear on the tractor and it needed maintenance more often.
On a trip to Alaska I blew a head gasket and was down for two weeks in a little town outside Anchorage. With the repair and hotel bill and food, I lost two thousand dollars. There was no money to send home this month. I hoped Susie was a good bookkeeper and could make it one month without a paycheck.
When I got home the trailer was empty. I went to the local bar to ask if any one had seen Susie. Jack told me she had run off with some Carney that was with the circus. They had taken Sarah and gone away. No one knew where they were.
Things went from bad to worse. Not only did I lose my wife and kid but also the truck started to come apart. The money was getting harder and harder to come by because the railroad was hauling the containers by the thousands. The Railroads were beating the over-the-road haulers to death
with cheaper rates and all we could was pray for a trailer or container to be assigned to us.
I was losing hauls because the old truck was down more than it was up.
One snowy day on the way to Rosalia, Ks. I came upon a car stalled in the snow. I pulled to the side of the road and walked back to help the driver. When the stranger opened the door I saw my wife sitting beside him and Sarah was asleep in the back seat. This guy had a rat like face, pinched and pale and I could not see why my wife went with him. I hooked a chain to the car, pulled him out of the snowdrift, and went on my way. I did not say good bye to Susie because of the way she left me. When I checked into the HOJO Motel in Iola, Kansas I saw the rat faced guy's car in the drive next to the room I was staying in.
The next morning I slashed all four tires on the Rat Face’s car and left town. I knew that Sarah and Susie would be safe in the motel while Rat face was fixing the four tires. I laughed to myself while I thought how he would feel seeing his tires slashed and not know who did it.
Two days later I pulled into Fredonia to fuel up and Rat Face pulled up behind me and got out of his car and came at me with a tire iron. All I had to fight with was my belt with the big buckle and I hit him upside the head but he kept on coming. The belt buckle cut him, the blood was gushing down the side of his head, and I hit him again. He fell to his knees and I kicked him in the mouth. Susie came up and told me to get out of town before she called the sheriff. I told Susie Rat Face started it and I finished it. She started screaming and I got in the Kenworth and drove toward the Missouri Line.
I drove into Joplin Missouri, stopped at a pawnshop, and bought a .45 automatic and a box of shells. If I was right Rat Face would try to get revenge and this time I would be ready.
I entered the Springfield Missouri city limits, looked in my big mirrors, and saw Rat Face behind me. I could only recognize the old Chevy Rat Face was driving. His head was bandaged because of the beating I gave him at Fredonia Kansas and was looking out two slits in the bandages. I saw two big gorillas riding with him. Sarah and Susie were not with them.
As they pulled up beside me, I saw a gun in the front window pointed toward me. I got the .45 and lay it on the window and as they moved up I fired a warning shot and the Chevy fell back behind me. Rat Face regrouped and here they came again this time I waited and as they pulled alongside I shot the passenger and he slumped over in the seat.
Rat Face fell back, pulled over to the side of the road, and dumped the gorilla in the ditch and the other gorilla moved into the front seat with Rat Face.
The rest of the story is two gruesome to tell. I left my truck on the side of the road with Rat Face and the second Gorilla, hopped a freight car and here I am. I will not tell you my name because if you do not know me you cannot turn me into the police. Each Hobo stood and nodded their heads and extended their hand and said they would be proud to have him as a fellow Hobo. Clarence had found a home and friends. No more worries, no more debts and no more trucking.
Monte L. Manka 12-16-99