I found myself sitting in an Italian restaurant in Atlanta Georgia, not an obvious pairing. At the table sat a truck driver in his late 30’s, a service technician who calls a Tennessee farm his home, a 20 something year old who married the daughter of a large company’s owner, myself of course, and then there was Ron.
The Tennessee man, sometime after appetizers were served, with a half grin on his face, asked, “Hey, Ron, where’s your truck?” To which Ron responded by rolling his eyes, and then looking over both shoulders, as if someone should help him out. The rest of us had no idea what was going on. “Well I believe that man still has it,” he eventually offered. Ron squirmed in his chair as the rest of us looked back and forth between he and Tennessee. This time with a complete smile, the technician motioned wide with his hands and said, “Aren’t you going to share?” So Ron did.
“Well (Ron starts many a sentence this way), I got this truck for work. I thought it would be good to have something reliable and besides, I was taking on an apprentice and I just figured that it would be easier if I let him use the truck for work. Thataways he could just meet me at the site and I wouldn’t have to pick him up all the time.
So the second day we are working together I show up and he isn’t there. Now mind you this is about a day’s drive out so I don’t think too much of it and I just wait. After waiting about three hours I call his phone and I get nothing. Two hours after that I finally get him and he says he’ll be right there he just got behind. Now by this time it’s late so’s I just tell him to meet me the next day.
The next week He did it again. On the third job I said to him that we were to go to a place that was hard to find so we should just ride together and I went and picked him up. We met up and I said something about wanting to drive that truck so we both got in it and we took off. Now we hadn’t said anything about the other times, and I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do so I decided to stop and have some breakfast. I told him to get whatever he wanted when we sat down, and we ordered, and then he goes to the bathroom. Three hours later I’m still sitting at the table by myself. I can see the truck sitting in the lot, I have the keys, and now I’m getting worried. I look in the can, walk around outside, and there is no sign of this guy. I’m worried because we are hours away from anywhere and I don’t know how he’s going to get home. Well, so I went and did the job and drove home.
The next day I go with my girlfriend so I can pick up my other truck where we had left it. When she hopped out to drive it home I started to go through the new truck to see if he had left anything. He had so I packed it up and sent it to Tennessee in the mail.”
We were amused by this tale and looked over at the technician for the resolve to this yarn.
“I don’t know why Ron sent it to me (Ron shrugged his shoulders at this as if he didn’t know either), but All I know is a get a box with a burnt tin can, a crack pipe, and a rock.”
The table erupted in laughter, the truck driver nearly falling off his chair. We caught our breath as best we could, and went about chatting and eating lasagna. Every now and again the truck driver would giggle and shake his head. During one such instance he caught himself short, looked serious, then looked at Ron and asked, “So who has the truck?”
“Well, my girlfriend has a son who is kind of a bum. He stays with us sometimes but he just can’t keep it together. I comes home one day and the truck isn’t there. I’m beside myself because I can’t find who took it. I call, and I look, so eventually I call the police. I do a report and all and a couple days later the Sheriff calls me and says, Ron, you aren’t going to like this. We sold your truck.
I don’t even understand what he said so I ask what he means and he explains; well, the bank had to repossess it because the payments weren’t being made. Once they got it back they sold it at auction. That was a week ago. Now I’m sore and say I can’t be late on the payments cuz I paid cash money for that truck. To prove it I go back into my files to get the title and the title isn’t there.
Turns out this guy, my girlfriend’s son, broke into the house, got the title, had the title changed to his name, notarized and all, then went to the bank and got a loan on my truck. Now he hasn’t even got the keys, the truck is sitting in my driveway till the day the bank repo’d it from my house when I wasn’t there. So all this time I’m looking and he’s out spending my truck money and someone else is driving the truck.”
At this point we are all doing our best to stay in our chairs and keep our meal from not being laughed back out onto the table. Ron is just shrugging his shoulders while the truck driver is hugging him and thanking him for the best dinner conversation he has ever had.
We stumble from the restaurant back to our cars; me to my van and Ron to his old truck. The truck driver hasn’t had a drink at all that night but has to be helped to the car, still doubled over with laughter. I looked over at Ron and asked what he ever did about the truck.