August 19, 2018

Truck Wreck, by Brendon M. Marks

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My wife asked, “Are you not a farmer anymore?”
“What are you talking about?”
“They say that you’re a farmer if you look out whenever a car drives by the house, even at night. You used to look out all the time, but you don’t anymore.”
“That’s because I can tell who it is just by listening.”
“Are you serious? Do you expect me to believe that?”
“Well, sometimes I have trouble telling the difference between Mary Lou’s Durango and Amy’s Dakota, but it’s all in the same family, both the vehicles and the drivers.”

“Who’s going by right now?”
“That’s easy, it’s Jerry Lane.”
“You’re right, but how did you know it wasn’t Colonel?”
“They both drive Dodge diesel pickups, but Jerry’s is a ’96 and Colonel’s is a ’98. Besides, they drive differently too. Nobody goes up around that corner like Jerry does.”
“Who’s that now?”
“Another easy one, that’s Janine’s ’76 Ford Ranger, but JD’s driving.”

“How do you know that?”
“They both go into the corner slow and put the hammer down as they come out and go up the hill, but the difference is, JD shifts at about 3500, whereas Janine winds it up to nearly four grand.”
“You can tell the difference of 500 rpm?”
“She loves to hear those glass-packs blat. You know, it sounds like she has a hot water bottle attached to her exhaust pipe. If you just pay attention, you’ll hear the difference after about three times.”

“So who’s this going by now?”
“That’s Lyle.”
“Lyle doesn’t have a stock trailer.”
“That’s no stock trailer. Heck, a stock trailer doesn’t rattle that much unless you’re hauling a load of galvanized garbage cans full of brass doorknobs. That’s Lyle in his Chevy pickup.”

She looked out and sure enough, I was right. “Why doesn’t he get a new truck?”
“He’s thought about it, but gets a cold chill at the thought of paying more for a truck than he did for his house, lot, and first two kids combined. Sarah and the kids like it fine, too. This way they can hear it coming before he’s within a quarter-mile of the house.”

She was still unconvinced. “I can’t believe you recognize every vehicle just by the sound.”
“Well, it helps that it’s a dead-end road, so we don’t get much strange traffic.”
“You don’t call those strange?”
“You know what I mean. We get the same vehicles and the same drivers, time after time. You could do it too if you listened. Every morning when I’m feeding the horses and Bruce goes to work in that Trooper, I don’t have to look up to know it’s him. And if he were driving Beth’s Camry, I’d know it wasn’t the Trooper without looking, too. And speaking of horses, did you notice that our horses never look up when a car or truck goes by, but they’re all looking at us when we come around the corner in our car? They know it’s our car long before they can see it. And every Monday when the Schwan Frozen Food truck comes down the hill and goes to Dorrington’s, I know it’s him. Their dog knows it, too. He starts barking long before he can see the truck.” “Now you can hear like a dog?”

“No, I didn’t say that. All I said was that every Monday morning around nine o’clock a truck comes down the hill and pulls in his yard. How many weeks in a row does that have to happen before even the dumbest dog starts to recognize the sound coming down the hill?”
“You’re saying I’m dumber than a dog?”
“Aw gee.”

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