Walter Mencken 4 p.m., May 3
- Community Blog
- Tales of Adventure
A Classic Footrace
The most ludicrous spectacle I have ever witnessed in my entire life occurred in the late '90s in the parking lot of the Flyin' Hook on the West Side of OKC (Flying J Travel Plaza, Morgan Road, Exit 140 on I-40 in OK). In those days, the Hook was the Wild, Wild West, with outlaw truckers, CB Rambos, crackerheads, lot lizards, snake oil peddlers, dope vendors, fly-by-night truck washes, chrome polishers, and numerous other unsavory characters and fringe elements of society all collectively wrapped up into one gigantic swirling clusterf#% known to me and my friends as "CIRCUS MAXIMUS." This clusterf#% was so entertaining to truck drivers that I always made a point of shutting down at the Hook for the night, especially on Friday or Saturday night when the place REALLY went off... one giant party and radio bar open all night, a regular CB Babylon with all of the @ssholes listed above simultaneously squawking, scrapping, slinging their wares or plying their trades over the airwaves. Ironically, the lot lizards (i.e. truck stop hookers) had the biggest "chicken radios" of them all, except for the odd driver who had sunk heaps of money into his CB... you knew a hand had a "gen-yoo-wine chicken radio" if he could walk all over every lot lizard in OKC or West Memphis.
My readers are probably wondering what the hell I mean by "chicken radio..." The term "chicken" is used as a modifier in the transportation industry, due to an old rumor which surfaced many, many years ago. It was said that actual chicken-haulers had big ol' motors under the hoods of their triple-digit trucks, that way they could outrun the heller stink... thus all fast rigs became known as "chicken trucks." If a hand spent heller time and money adding lights above and beyond those required by the D.O.T, these were referred to as "chicken lights." Any CB radio peaked and tuned and tweaked to the max, with expensive top-of-the-line antennas and costly added electronic components boosting power and range, automatically became known as a "chicken radio." In other words, ANYTHING in the industry that was WAY OVER THE TOP and FAR EXCEEDED STANDARD REQUIREMENTS had the "chicken" modifier slapped in front of it, just so drivers knew they were dealing with something special. Naturally, this practice has been passed down from one generation of native drivers to the next, and today it is considered a compliment of the highest order when some other hand refers to your light-bedecked and chrome-laden rig as a "chicken truck."
Whenever I shut down at the Hook back in the day, I tried to park in the northeast corner or the middle row of the lot, so I could drink beer and watch the endless parade of chicken lights as rig after rig rolled off the fuel island. Naturally, I had my CB radio on in the party mode, listening and often participating in the Babylon clusterf#% while throwing out an occasional compliment to an exceptionally good-looking rig. Truth be told, after a few beers I was commonly known to key my mike and BLAST hardcore punk trash, bad-ass rock 'n' roll, heller country music, full-on Swiss yodeling, etc., etc., over the airwaves, alternately pissing off and styling out drivers. So, just prior to my witnessing the ludicrous spectacle mentioned in the first line of this story, it was on a typical Friday (payday) night that I found myself parked in the middle row of the Hook, f#%g off and drinking ice-cold beer while savoring that separate reality known as OTR (Over-The-Road) or Interstate Truck Driving. I was about seven or eight beers deep when the show began, so I was feeling pretty good, although by no means actually drunk. My cooler full of bottled beer and ice sat in the companionway between cab and sleeper, and my panel lights softly glowed as my truck idled away with the A/C cranked.
At that time, the Hook was literally overrun with lot lizards---wetbacks in today's Home Depot lots had NOTHING on these working girls, who flitted across aisles in numbers and scurried from truck to truck while slinging their wares. For those wondering how I could tell a lot lizard apart from a regular female driver: when you see what looks suspiciously like a stripper roaming the lot at zero-dark-f#%g-thirty wearing nothing but a thong bikini and stiletto heels, it's a pretty safe bet she's not sportin' a CDL-A (with Hazardous endorsement). The management at the Hook was on a mission to crack down on all of these whores, so they hired an additional security guard to roam the lot in his pickup truck, which was equipped with a CB so this gung-ho rent-a-cop could hear (or copy) all of the lizard-related radio traffic. Naturally, truck drivers resented this show of authority on what was formerly sacred ground, private property and a safe haven where truckers could relax and unwind without any hassles from badge-sportin' kooks of any kind. The general consensus was: "DON'T F#% WITH OUR LOT LIZARDS & DOPE PEDDLERS, BITCHES!!!!!" In retaliation, a running commentary soon evolved on the CB, with the exact location of the idiot rent-a-cop routinely sprayed over the airwaves:
"Security's on the party row!!!" (The party row is the row furthest from the building.)
"Security just passed the fuel island on his way toward the building!!!"
In this simple yet effective manner, the poor bastard in the pickup was unable to catch a single lot lizard in the act of moving from one truck to another... the gals would simply wait until the coast was clear, then hustle to their next assignment as previously determined over the CB. Personally, I didn't care whether the gals worked the lot and plied their trade 24/7/365: as long as they weren't impeding truck traffic by slingin' @$$ on the fuel island or in the aisles, they were good to go, and their presence added a comforting touch to what can sometimes be a lonely way of life. In realistic terms, these gals provided a useful service to those truck drivers who felt like socializing without wasting any f#%g time: whether he took advantage of the situation or not, every driver in the lot knew that by simply keying his mike and throwing down some dough, he could bang some whore in the sleeper of his truck within a matter of minutes, if not seconds. Just knowing this was often more than enough: while countless lot lizards plied their trade and squawked over the airwaves, an equal or greater number of CB Rambos and self-proclaimed comedians extolled the virtues of pornographic movies, stacks of f#%books and pound jars of Vaseline. On top of everything else going on in that CB Babylon clusterf#%, these announcements were absolutely hilarious. In exasperation, the Hook management brought in real OKC cops to assist this poor rent-a-cop, and a new battle plan was formed to rid the lot of its lizard scourge.
The security guard in the pickup had just made yet another unsuccessful sweep of the lot when a driver announced that the guard had now entered the building. In a flash, like some cheesy third-rate magic act, three lot lizards appeared to my right, several trucks away in the crowded lot, and began to angle across the aisle in front of my truck. I figured I would light 'em up for a second or two so the boys could see exactly what was on the table in this sector, and I reached for my light switch in order to do this. At that precise moment, a truck which had obviously just left the fuel island rounded the corner of my row, approximately fifty yards away... one never knows if a truck rolling off the fuel island is going to park for the rest of the night or exit the lot and get back out on the road. I usually kill my headlights either way while in the lot, but this truck still had all its lights on... out of common courtesy, I stayed my hand as it covered my light switch, so as not to blind the driver just in case he or she was actually heading back out to do some more truckin'. The three lot lizards, unsure of what the truck was going to do, stopped in their tracks, out of the cone of the other truck's headlights, but still visible to those drivers nearby. The moving truck came to a halt before it had straightened out in our row... most drivers with an ounce of courtesy know to yield to pedestrians in the lot, unless it is obvious the pedestrians want the truck to pass. A parking lot ain't no racetrack... anyway, the working girls figured the truck driver was stopping in such a courteous manner solely to allow them to cross the aisle, so they resumed their course and speed without another glance at the truck.
This was when things got interesting, if not downright comical... the shotgun door of the truck flew open, and some fat donut-bellied cop came charging round the hood like a f#%g rhino, intent upon busting these three lot lizards and making a name for himself down at the station. Obviously, the OKC cop(s) had approached some female truck driver (I saw her drive past a moment later) and asked her if she would help rid the lot of these whores, and the truck driver had agreed... problem was, the cops had chosen this fat dude as their front man in this 007 stealth operation, and the poor lipid-and-cholesterol-laden sod was no Ben Jonson or Usain Bolt, I assure you. Caught off guard, the three lot lizards took one look at the rhino---pardon me, the f#%g cop---bearing down on them, and they scattered like cockroaches, with the two flanking lizards vanishing faster than Harry Houdini or David Copperfield EVER f#%g did. This left the lead lot lizard, a statuesque and shapely gal in stiletto heels who didn't look bad at all, alone to face the charging rhi... um, I mean cop. She literally jumped several inches off the pavement, stiletto heels and all, then took off like a scared rabbit with a pellet or two of buckshot in her side, jinking and weaving while running in that goofy manner which can ONLY be done and visibly perfected in stiletto heels.
Thus began the most ludicrous and comical spectacle I have EVER had the good fortune to witness... the classic footrace between the stiletto-heeled lot lizard and the fat donut-bellied cop, who steadily charged after his criminal prey in a rolling fat-@$$ed heart-attack-inducing kinda way, accoutrements flapping and flying in every direction as the noble officer relentlessly pursued his quarry. I almost spilled my beer as I laughed out loud at this ridiculous sight... as far as I could tell without the benefit of actual Swiss timing, the lot lizard was holding her own, if not actually gaining on the fat donut-bellied cop. Seconds later, she ducked between trucks on my row, half a dozen trucks down on my left side, and the cop ran directly in front of my hood as he raced to catch up... shaking my head, I took a long pull from my beer and laughed out loud at the comical situation, with a "WTF is next???" truck-driving attitude. Little did I know that the REAL SHOW was about to begin... when the two individuals involved in this footrace disappeared to my left, I figured the entertainment was over as far as the footrace was concerned, but that was not the case. When the two erupted from between parked trucks in the next row, truck drivers took up the narrative like regular broadcasting professionals...
Perhaps my readers have played the ponies or visited a racetrack in the past, and can recall the commentary given during each and every race? Particularly those obnoxious wannabe-Australian poser wanks and their cheesy little affected horse-racing commentaries? Well, that's EXACTLY what ensued as the classic footrace burst forth into the next row... God-damned pesky truck drivers with NOTHING better to do keyed their mikes and gave the rest of us a running commentary on the situation. Their remarks went something like this:
"AND THEY'RE ROUNDING THE HOOD OF THE YELLOW KW........."
"THE LOT LIZARD IS IN THE LEAD, WITH THE FAT COP TRAILING BY SIX LENGTHS......."
"THE LOT LIZARD POURS IT ON AS SHE HEADS FOR THE FUEL ISLAND......"
"THE FAT COP GETS HIS SECOND WIND WHILE NARROWLY AVOIDING A FUEL SPILL......."
"AND IT'S THE LOT LIZARD BY SEVEN LENGTHS AS SHE CLEARS THE OUTER HEDGE......."
Needless to say, by this time I was rolling on the floor of my cab, laughing my @$$ off at this classic turn of events. Every other driver on the CB was clearly doing the same, judging by the countless humorous comments following the classic footrace... I never saw the end of it, but I didn't have to see it, since my fellow truck drivers had been kind enough to provide me with the information. THAT'S what I really liked about truck driving back in the day, before the industry was ruined by trucking and insurance companies trying to cram two wetbacks with fake CDL-As into every truck, making minimum wage while endangering the American motoring public. There was a camaraderie, a sense of all being in it together, that ya just don't find nowadays. The Hook on the West Side of OKC is now quiet as a church, partly due to the success of the management in ultimately clearing the lot, and partly due to the fact that half the drivers out there now can't speak a word of English (didn't need to in order to purchase a fake CDL-A from one of their wetback brethren already "anchored and established" in this country, and probably working for the DMV). I'm sure glad I went trucking when I did and caught the "glory years" of the industry, when sleepers got large and the country still belonged to native resident taxpayers, instead of scumbag politicians and grasping foreign cockroaches.