You’ll recall last month we left our truckers, T-Dawg McCall and B.A. Grouseman at a philosophical roadblock – with no detour in sight. Let’s take a lurk and see what happened that day at Mamie’s Gas-Up Café.
“Well, be careful climbing any higher than your cab. You may be a creature of light, but I don’t think Mr. Gravity knows that.”
“I know when I’m being kidded, Dawg. And that’s all right, because I know you’re still lost in HEAVINESS.”
“B.A., quit implying I’m just another overweight trucker or I’m going to move to that stool near the register.”
“Sorry, Dawg. Sorry. Don’t move. Look, your order is here.”
Sure enough. The waitress put down a big mouth-watering bowl of sprouts, giving me a pitying look as she walked away.
I grabbed a fork and stabbed something green. It wasn’t bad; the wild honey and apple vinegar dressing was tasty. But it wasn’t chicken-fried steak either. We sat there, B.A. and I, chewing and swallowing, chewing and swallowing until the last bit of chard–or maybe kale, I get them confused–was gone. I felt good, wholesome, positive… hungry.
Between chews, B.A. enlightened me on Scaleology. He’d bellow out a word, then he’d go soft for a few sentences in a kind of lulling rhythm, almost hypnotic. I was starting to get a little LIGHT in the head, when the waitress brought my check. I grabbed it and made off with a hasty “be seeing you” to B.A.
But over the next couple of months I found I couldn’t face another bowl of sprouts with B.A. droning on about checking in at the weigh stations of life. When I saw B.A. leave the diner, I’d skulk inside for a chorizo omelet or bowl of Lumberjack Stew. I felt bad, like I was caught in a love triangle with my best friend and the woman we both loved – Mamie.
Once I was going down the highway when I spotted his rig at a weigh station. B.A. was waving a piece of paper and arguing with a couple of state troopers. He didn’t look happy. They didn’t look like they’d budge. Troopers are probably very heavy in the scales of life.
The fateful day finally arrived though, as I knew it inevitably would. I was on my usual perch at Mamie’s eating a bowl of lamb borscht which Mamie makes with Chioggia beets grown in the restaurant garden in a special plot with Russian dirt. I don’t know how she got the dirt. Don’t really want to know.
“Ain’t seen you in a while, bud,” said B.A. as he sat down next to me.
I jumped. “Why, B.A.,” I said with a big forced grin. “Good to see you!”
“What’s that you’re eating?”
“This? Oh, well, I ordered a bowl of tomato soup but they must have mixed up my order with some–“
“Looks like the lamb borscht. A man that would eat a little ol’ innocent lamb is a man gathering weight in the scales of life.”
“Well, now, B.A., I just–“
“And I’ll tell you what else he is.”
“He’s a man after my own heart!’ He signaled the waitress. “Hon, gimme one of those with extra sour cream!”
She set it in front of him and he started spooning it down, tearing off chunks of the rye bread that Mamie serves with it. I said, “What would Theron J. Hubbub say if he could see you now?”
“Whatever he’d say, he’s saying it to someone else. I handed off Scaleology to another trucker at the next stool about a week ago. I think that thing is like the Monkey’s Paw, you know? The only way you can break the spell is to pass the curse on to some other poor soul.”
“So you’re back to gathering weight in the Scales of Life?”
“And making up for lost time. Back to dodging the bathroom scale and the ones on the highway. Cost me a fortune in tickets!”
“B.A., if you’d just take the time to weigh your load–“
“Oh, don’t start sermonizing, Dawg. Besides, you’re one to talk. Think I don’t know you been dodging me the last couple of months?”
“B.A., I would never–“
“Yeah, you would. And I don’t blame you. Ain’t nothing so grim as a trucker who’s found salvation – whatever form it takes. Me, I’m back to the low road. Um… you wouldn’t happen to… uh…”
“Have a couple hundred dollars on me? As a matter of fact, I do!” I pulled B.A.’s four fifties out of my wallet. Somehow I’d known they were only on loan, so to speak.
He tucked them away gratefully. “Thanks, bud. Got a ticket I need to take care of. I wasn’t speeding, but the honey bear didn’t believe me.”
“Say, I’ve got to do a brake job Saturday and I could sure use–“
“Gee, Dawg, I was planning on going to– Aw, never mind. Count on me. You buying the beer?”
“Naturally. Here, B.A., have a fortune cookie.”
“Mamie had ‘em left over from lunch.”
It was worth it, having to help clean up all the spilled borscht, just seeing B.A. laid out on the floor in a dead faint. Clutched in his greasy hand was his fortune –
You will never escape the Scales of Judgment.