If We Were Having Coffee – August 23/2015

Terminal Territory – a New Beginning



Paul Your Barista

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul; I’ll be your barista today. I’m happy to see you have come for a cuppa and a chat. I am delighted to be back at Willow’s serving you, our treasured readers, a cuppa and sweets while we chat. Please come into the garden and make yourself comfortable. Willow fluffed the cushions on the chairs and set the tables in the garden so we can have a cuppa and chat as we soak up the sun and enjoy the beautiful plants. She has also brought out the heaters so we can stretch our outside tea time further into the fall. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our world-wide readership. Also available is a large selection of spirits for addition to your cuppa or in its place. We can relax amongst the flowers while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. How has your week been?

Well, my week had a few rough moments but things seem to be improving now so all is good. In preparation for writing this post I was pondering restarts and realized that I had told a trucking story while guesting over at Mark’s, about the very first time I pulled into the terminal with my new truck, starting a new job – and my thoughts and feelings.  You  can read it  here. I realized that the very last time I was in that terminal was an interesting story as well and thought I might tell it here, if you’re interested. It actually happened in the second week of October some years ago and it marked a new beginning.

After 6 years of working for the company in Maine I was offered a position with a home town company doing really interesting work – hauling all the stuff that no one else wanted to, or could, haul- oversized, nuclear, overweight, multiple extra axles, escorted, military weapons, biohazards, etc. The company was a specialized carrier – meaning they did what no one else would or could – and elite outfit. No two loads were the same and a lot of thinking went into each load – the reward wasn’t for getting it there the fastest but rather the safest. My forte, so I switched companies. I had worked for them for about 3 months when I had an accident and rolled my truck – just body damage, no load damage or injuries, and while I was waiting for repairs to be done I drove a company truck for a few months.Then one day in Massachusetts, my dispatcher told me to come back to the yard in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia empty- a very rare occurrence. I was in one of the highest density transport corridors in Eastern North America (Boston- New York) with an empty flatbed and I was going to drive 1,000 kilometers (about 660 miles) empty? No, there was something going unsaid here. I told Jennifer – the dispatcher – that I would need money for fuel and food. Typically, I would draw an advance when I had a load aboard but heading back empty I need the cash now. We used a number of fund transfer systems, but most commonly a system called Comchek. They had an account at Comchek and if I wanted funds they would authorize release for whatever the agreed upon amount would be and give me an authorization number. With that and their account number, I could pick up the cash at any Comchek agent – which was virtually every truck stop in North America – and it was debited from their account. Jennifer hesitated and told me to call from Dysart’s – a truck stop in Bangor Maine that we all used prior to turning east to Canada. Flashing alarm bells went off in my head – it was irrelevant where in the universe I was, Comchek was centralized- if I couldn’t get money in Mass, I couldn’t get it in Maine. I had just enough fuel to get to Dysart’s but then would have no money for food or fuel. Typically, I ran close on cash and this didn’t bother me – it was a minute’s work to get cash anywhere 24/7 with a Comchek number – but apparently that was no longer an option.


I grumbled but walked out to the truck and climbed in to head out to Bangor. The trucking part was old hat now and I enjoyed the feeling of the big diesel rumbling as speed built on the interstate. The trailer was empty and followed neatly behind, ever vigilant. I could feel all the normal vibrations and taste the smells that constituted the personality of the truck. It was home now and I was comfortable and alert here. Surprises were rare and easily handled with the experience I had accumulated over the past 7 years. During that time there had been some exhilarating moments, some very sad moments and some excruciatingly hair-raising moments of unparalleled terror. All of it used to shape and guide future behaviour. I was a part of this world now and it a part of me. I could glance at a truck and tell you how heavy he was loaded, if the driver was new or just didn’t care or if I was looking at a professional. Feeling a little under the weather I plugged in Red Sovine’s Teddy Bear to have a pity party – I would never admit to the other drivers that I listened to Red’s music, but when I was down it helped.

Would you like another cuppa. We have adult beverages to add to that if you like. And perhaps a sweet or two? We are going to have some fun here, so get ready. The 239 miles to Bangor passed uneventfully as I pondered Jennifer’s cryptic comment. I used to assess customers’ ability pay for the company and I could smell a cash shortage a long ways away – and this had that stink. Sure enough when I called the office from Bangor, the owner came on the phone and told me to bring the truck back to the yard. I explained that my fuel tanks were empty – perhaps enough for 20 miles and I had no food. Mike – the owner- would give me no more info but just insisted that I find a way back with his truck. He got very blustery and reminded me that I had his equipment and any attempt on my part to do anything other than return it to the yard would result in him taking legal action. That was so out of line – my being an employee driving for him for many months at his request when I was where and when he asked me to be- it was clear to me that they were going bankrupt. He had gone to a route response, without considering the impact of his words. Hmmm, that gave me information and offered options that I didn’t have before. I told him I would get back to the terminal and we disconnected – in many ways.

So, I was in Maine, 450 miles from home with empty fuel tanks, no money for food and the company was bankrupt. No problem. My previous employer, the company in Maine, was about 100 miles away on the route home so I gave the owner a call. I knew that the two companies did business with each other and that my current employer owed Dale – my past employer – for a number of loads, likely $10,000 USD or more. When I got Daleon the phone, I told him I had a deal for him.

“Dale, I am here to make your day brighter.” “More likely you want me to help you, you mean.” Dale could be so cynical. “Well, I may end up getting some benefit, but you will come out the big winner, guaranteed.” “What do you want Paul?” “Mikey is going bankrupt and no one but you and I know yet. I know he owes you and you’ll never get your money – unless of course you have something of his.” “What do you mean Mike is going bankrupt? He has two of my loads right now.” Ahhh, the stakes grow. I explained my request for fuel and food and Mike’s surreal response. “So what do you think that means Dale?” Dale was no man’s fool and had dealt with other companies for years. “You’re right, he’s losing it. What do you propose I do?” He knew I wouldn’t be on the phone to complain – I had a plan or I wouldn’t have called. “Well, you send me $100 for fuel, $200 for food and travel expenses and I will deliver to your yard one tractor-trailer that is the property of our common friend Mike. There is no way he will be able to get at it being as he is in another country and you can hold it as collateral against any money he owes you. If one of your guys will give me a lift to Dartmouth so I can get home, I’ll be happily on my way and you can be assured of getting paid.”

There was a long pause on the line while Dale processed this. “You mean you would sell out Mike?” “Dale, I am obeying orders – he told me to find my own way home and left me 450 miles away with his equipment and no money. I promised him I would get home. He just assumed I would bring his truck with me but if I have to sell it to you for the amazingly low price of $300 then that is what it takes. He has other creditors who would be interested too, I’m sure – it’s just that you’ve been good to me before, so I am offering you this amazing deal first.” Honestly, I should have made a living selling used cars. Ha! “Done. But how do I know I can trust you?” “Come on Dale we worked together for 6 years, you know you can.” “Right. OK. Here’s an authorization number for $300 by Comchek” as he rattled off a number, “When will you be here?” “Give me 2 ½ hours and you will have $100,000 worth of collateral; Don’t mention this to anyone until I am in your yard – if Mike gets whiff he could have the State Troopers stop me. That would be bad for both of us.” Ahhh, co-conspirator of mine,

With a spring in my step, I crossed to the fuel desk, gave them the Comchek number and received my $300. I put in $100 worth of fuel (less than ¼ tank), grabbed somesandwiches to go and headed down the Airline (Route #9) for the terminal.



The truck was purring along, not even caring that it was headed for purgatory through no fault of its own. In fact it felt surprisingly jubilant. I pulled into the same now-familiar yard on a late fall afternoon with the leaves changing in rural Maine. There was a light breeze as I parked in the line-up and grabbed my already packed suitcase to step down from the truck. Dale was standing waiting for me as I crossed the lot and I held out the keys and then dropped them in his out-stretched hand. “There you go sir, as promised, one tractor trailer for the princely sum of $300. The best deal you ever got.” “Tom over there is going to Dartmouth as soon as he is done his paperwork, you can ridewith him.” “Thanks Dale. Oh, and Mike will likely try to steal this back so you should have one of the mechanics remove a critical component or two.” Dale just nodded. That was the last time I ever saw him or the terminal yard where so many memories had been made. It felt like a cheerful parting.


Not long after Tom and I headed out to home. With only 350 miles to go, we took turns driving and chatting and we were in Dartmouth in the wee hours of the morning. I had my girl friend pick me up from the industrial center where Tom was delivering and we dropped my paperwork from my last load at the office and then went home to sleep. The next day, bright and early I called Mike. “Hey Mike, I’m back. Thought you’d want to know.” “Where’s the truck Paul?” Apparently he paid attention to what was, or more specifically wasn’t, in his yard. Ha! “Well, remember I said I didn’t have any money and you wouldn’t send me any?” “Where’s the fucking truck Paul?” “So”, I continued,” I ran it until it was out of fuel and I had to leave it in a safe place, because you know you wouldn’t send me any money for fuel for your truck.” “The fucking truck Paul, the fucking truck –WHERE IS IT?”


I was enjoying this far too much. “Well Mike, I knew you would want it safe so I left it all locked up in Dale’s yard.” “Bring me the fucking keys Paul.” “Well, Dale’s yard is quite small and he needed to keep the keys to move it when he needed to. I thought you would be happy that the truck was safe Mike.” Bwahahaha!

On that note, that’s about all we have room for this week, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and enjoy the garden. Sweets anyone? I hope you didn’t mind the story today, it seemed to mean a new start for me- a Fall new start as so often happens in life. Please join me in thanking Willow for her invitation to tea. We are all happy that Willow is back and honored that you all dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Willow’s other posts while you’re here. Willow is over there serving her guests and chatting it up. Let’s go see how she is today. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you back here for sweets and beverages of your choice again next week.

And of course  the


over at Part Time  Monster  and Gene’O’s



63 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Victo Dolore
    Oct 13, 2015 @ 16:00:54

    I hope to never, ever cross Mr. Curran. Yikes.


    • willowdot21
      Oct 13, 2015 @ 16:05:31

      me either!!


    • Paul
      Oct 13, 2015 @ 16:47:28

      Hi Victo! Thanks so much for dropping by. I was actually being good. Think about it – dozens of trucks scattered across North America with drivers who had all been stiffed of back pay -and no way to trace them (the satellite tracking is the first thing disconnected in that case). Whooo yeee – they get stripped, or used for personal revenue production – no questions asked. And just think about what you could do if the truck were expendable and you didn’t care if it survived the load. There were some nasty options out there – like load it with hazardous chemicals and bury the whole thing – for cash. Selling them for parts could get you $50,000 cash as well.I used to get asked a few times a year if I wanted cash for the truck – a $100,000 truck can be disassembled and sold for $250,000 for the parts – no questions asked. What I did may not have made Mike happy, but it was just taking what I needed – and the rest was sort of “safe”. Ha!

      His Daddy had a very profitable business and was bankrolling Mike. Which meant that there was money to get us home, he just wasn’t parting with it. Which was fine by me – my conscious was clear- he actually went out of business owing me a few thousand, but that’s OK. I just moved and had a new job the next week. That as why I always ran on company advances – it reduced the amount owed so if there were problems my pay was hedged.

      Anyway, I was being nice Victo, believe me. 🙂


  2. Paul
    Oct 13, 2015 @ 16:30:15

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to guest post Willow.I’m praying for the health of your sister – I hope the week brings good news.


  3. cordeliasmom2012
    Oct 13, 2015 @ 16:58:23

    Sneaky little devil, aren’t you. I think Not CM would like to meet you.


  4. kerbey
    Oct 13, 2015 @ 20:20:11

    You are a crafty one. I would have just wound up getting screwed.


  5. Ned's Blog
    Oct 13, 2015 @ 20:22:30

    I will do my level best to avoid getting on your bad side. Especially if that side is your semi-truck. Great read, Paul. We definitely need share a face-to-face brew some time, my friend.


  6. insanitybytes22
    Oct 13, 2015 @ 21:36:31

    Ahh, coffee and a story with Paul! Life doesn’t get much better than that, does it?


  7. pouringmyartout
    Oct 13, 2015 @ 21:53:27

    You never fail to amaze… love the photo…


  8. ksbeth
    Oct 14, 2015 @ 08:45:53

    it could be a short film. and i will always make sure to pay you on time, paul )


  9. Chatter Master
    Oct 14, 2015 @ 10:43:10

    Well, he kind of asked for that didn’t he Paul???


    • willowdot21
      Oct 14, 2015 @ 15:52:19



    • willowdot21
      Oct 14, 2015 @ 15:52:43

      Thanks xxx


    • Paul
      Oct 14, 2015 @ 18:25:51

      Hi Colleen! Thanks so much for popping by for a read. Yep, he owed me that plus more. With the paperwork I turned in (we were paid by the load) plus hold backs, he owed me around $2,000. I could have screwed him a dozen ways to get that (just the wheels alone were worth about $500 each on the truck) and all I took was enough to get me home. He was responsible to the bank for about 25 X $100,000 units scattered all across North America. He may have been pissed off at me because I didn’t give him what he wanted but I’m willing to bet that his bank was happy knowing where at least one unit was and that it was intact and safe. This was the first time he had had a business fail -Daddy was rich – and he was young. He didn’t realize that he had a lot more to worry about than what I did. Ha! I think, in the end he got one unit back intact.

      Thanks for the visit Coleen. Please drop by again. 😀


  10. markbialczak
    Oct 14, 2015 @ 12:02:48

    Great story, Paul. I must ask, which country put you in jail for track-napping, U.S. or Canada? Ha! That’s pretty serious maneuvering with a man’s rig. Welcome back to Willow’s, indeed.

    (By the way, your headline says it’s an August 23, 2015 Cuppa. That makes this look like a rerun, I think.)

    Hi, Willow! Thanks for letting Paul tell this wicked tale of pirating on the highway. 🙂


    • willowdot21
      Oct 14, 2015 @ 15:50:32



    • Paul
      Oct 14, 2015 @ 18:40:10

      Thanks so much for dropping by Mark! Ha! Truck – napping. ha! Hey, everyone knew where everything was – nothing was hidden. Now where I left things may have been inconvenient but that’s not my problem – can’t drive a truck without fuel. Ha! Mikey never spoke to me again after that. ha! No sense of humor that lad.

      The date issue was mine Mark -I gave it to Willow that way in error and she was having such a bad week – i didn’t like to bother her when I noticed it. My error.

      Thanks again for the visit Mark – I am honored.


  11. Exile on Pain Street
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 10:16:24

    Gosh. I’ve never been called a treasure before. Nice. I could get used to it. Does it cost extra?

    What did he expect you to do? Fill the tanks (and your belly) on your own dime? If his company was going under, he probably had weightier matters on hand aside from your belly. Wasn’t that kind of like kicking a dog when he’s down? Was Mike malicious or just desperate ?


    • willowdot21
      Oct 15, 2015 @ 12:33:31



    • Paul
      Oct 15, 2015 @ 13:19:32

      Hey Mark! Awesome that you dropped by – thank you. He expected me to use my own money to get his truck back. His Father bankrolled the company and there was money – they just weren’t parting with it. He owed me about $2,000 in wages and hold backs – he had my money and had father’s money. He had all the toys – the big house, the $60,000 pick-up, the motorboats, etc. I didn’t have an issue with that – but I was not going to use more of my money to make his life easier. He was a nice guy – and he was a user. I didn’t take his truck off line even one mile on the way home. If he had given me money for fuel and food, I would have gladly brought the truck back to his yard. He was just a rich kid who expected people to do what he told them. That’s how they get rich and stay rich Mark – and why you and I likely won’t ever be that way.

      His personal stuff was all in his Dad’s company’s name – he stood to loose nothing. I used what resources I had to get myself home and make sure his equipment was safe. I did accomplish both. If he was square with Dale, there would be no impediment to him just driving his truck home. Again, he owed Dale, because that was what Mike did – he owed people while he used their money for his own purposes.

      Thanks so much for the visit – I am honored and, of course you are a treasure. 🙂 Please drop by again.


  12. Barry
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 11:10:07

    A great story as usual Paul. How many more have you got stored up? I always look forward to reading them.


    • willowdot21
      Oct 15, 2015 @ 12:32:58

      He certainly can tell them!! 🙂


    • Paul
      Oct 15, 2015 @ 13:25:28

      Barry! Great to have you drop by -thank you. I’m pleased that you enjoyed the story.It is fun writing them. To be honest I always think I’m out of stories and then another pops up. Kind of like the little “Whack-a-Mole” game at the fair. Ha! Knock one down and another pops up. As long as they keep coming, I’ll keep writing.m Thanks so much for the visit. Please come again Barry.


  13. ~ Sadie ~
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 05:10:12

    {Laughing} Now that was funny!! “You mess with the bull & you get the horns!!” 😉
    Really glad I came to this one right after I read about your 1st haul. Thanks for the host Willow!


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