The sun shone especially bright this morning. The small crack in the blinds provided an entrance for the warm ray of light that beamed directly into the eyes of Charlie Golding. Charlie didn’t need to wake up this early, he had only gotten to bed around 3 a.m., and after over 36 hours of continuous driving, he really needed the rest.
The kids were up early this morning, all anxious to see their father. This trip had been a long one and both his kids, as well as Charlene, his beautiful wife of eight years, were happy to have him home. As Charlie attempted to get his much needed sleep, the kids had other ideas, and they proved it by hopping on his chest and hollering “Horsie Horsie!”
After breakfast Charlie and his family planned to take his rig to town. He needed to have it serviced before heading out on the next trip, and the kids loved to ride in the huge sleeper out back. With Charlene riding shotgun, Charlie headed to town
The road leading out of Chancetown was pretty much abandoned this morning, Charlie only seen one or two cars on the narrow road, which made him quite happy. The kids sang played games in the back and Charlene dug through the glove box in search of some ‘decent’ music. She found an old 8-track and shoved it into the tape player. Buck Owens’ “Truck Drivin’ Man” cut in on the stereo, and the kids complained that they hated country music, asking her to put on something that was cool and not boring; but what they didn’t realize was the symbolism of the song for Charlene and Charlie. ‘Truck Drivin’ Man’ is what Charlene used to call Charlie when they first met. They would sing the song together over the phone when Charlie was on the road and they needed a connection.
As Buck’s words rang through the cab of the rig, Charlie began thumping his hands on the wheel and singing along.
“Pour me another cup of coffee, ’cause it is the best in the land…” The song never finished.
All that Charlie seen was the front end of an oil tanker, heading directly for him, on the same side of the road. The crash was quick, and in seconds his rig burst into flames. Charlie was thrown through the front windshield and onto the long hood of his rig. Charlene wasn’t so lucky, as her neck was snapped on impact. The kids who played merrily out back also perished quickly, as if their lives were grabbed from them so suddenly that they didn’t even realize it.
The driver of the other rig sat still in the seat of his rig. His neck snapped backward, almost beheaded. The abandoned road now covered with blood, oil and pieces of metal. The forest surrounding the area went from the trumpets of the wildlife to a dull roar, and then to nothing. It was as if all the life in the area had been sucked out, leaving nothing but the dripping of blood and the smell of burned flesh and seared rubber.
And then there was movement. Charlie awakened from the sleep that he would later wish for a thousand times. Shaking his head and looking around, the giant of a man crashed to his knees, crying out loudly.
The door of the truck that had caused the accident hung open, the driver’s arm extended to a clenched fist that held something…a liquor bottle. The guy who had taken everything that ever meant anything to Charlie was drunk. He was driving a tractor trailer, towing a load of gasoline, and he was drunk. Damn!
Charlie looked back at his truck, now an inferno of flames, and seen that there was a body lying across the hood. He rushed to the rescue, hoping that it was the body of his beloved Charlene. Maybe she wasn’t killed in the crash, somehow managing to crawl free of the wreckage.
Loud screams and cries of mercy poured from the mouth of Charlie as he looked at the battered and burned body of the accident victim that lay on the long red hood of the truck. The body belonged to one Charlie Golding, the same person who peered down to look at it.
Surely he must have lost his mind. Any man would have went mad if he had just witnessed the death of his wife and kids, but Charlie was always an smart minded person, a thinking person. No, this wasn’t insanity, it was something else. A chance maybe, to even the wrong that had been done to him.
Rushing to a small piece of mirror that lay on the highway, he peered into the glass, only to see a faint reflection staring back at him. The reflection ‘looked’ like Charlie Golding, but it was a ghostly image. Just then everything began to spin. Charlie fell to the ground with a loud thud and remained there.
When he awoke, things seemed different. The once green leaves of summer were now bright orange and yellow. The air had a certain chill and the wind was brisk. He wondered how long he lay here, and why nobody had happened along the accident.
Looking behind him, he seen what appeared to be his truck, but again, the image was hazy, almost ghost like. The truck,still a tangled mess, began to change shape before his eyes.
What Charlie witnessed was a miracle. The sound of metal being stretched and bent, the sound of glass shattered, and the thundering sound of the diesel engine were imminent, and the once quiet area became an orchestra of loudness. Charlie climbed up the steps that led to the cabin, and looking around, he saw that his family had long gone. It was as time had stopped, and then restarted.
At that moment Charlie decided his life’s mission, perhaps even the reason why he was given the second chance. He would avenge the death of his family by hunting down each person who decided to drive impaired…….
The OK Bar was crowded this evening, the place featured the hottest dancers this side of the Mississippi. When one of the girls began to pay attention to Bobby Rice, he didn’t shy away. She mentioned that she would like to go for a drive, and despite the fact that Bobby had way too many beer, he opted to take a chance. Figuring that he would only have to drive a short distance before hauling over and inviting her into the sleeper, he directed her to his pride and joy. The tall white Peterbilt was a fine truck, twin chrome smoke stacks on either side of the custom painted cab, and a queen bed sleeper out back. It was his motel on wheels, and he prided himself on the number of fine looking ladies who shared his bed.
In an attempt to impress Sylvia, the long legged blonde who sat in the passenger seat, Bobby swerved from side to side, laughing as he did so. Being the bad ass that Bobby tried to be, he blasted AC/DC music through the Alpine deck he had installed in the dash of his truck. Sylvia was excited to ride the truck, and as they passed a bottle of Jim Beam whiskey back and forth, she sung loudly. Obviously the joint that she smoked before leaving the bar was beginning to take it’s toll. Suddenly the head-banging music of ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ faded out, quickly replaced by a chorus from an old country song that Bobby had heard screaming from a jukebox once. He didn’t know the song, but in minutes he was quickly reminded of it’s lyrics…..the music grew louder by the minute until suddenly the sound of Buck’s voice rang through the giant speakers in the sleeper of the truck…..”Cause I’m a Truck Drivin’ Man…”
Looking out over the hood of Bobby’s truck, Sylvia began to scream. A huge black truck headed directly in their path. The driver had a large smile on his face as he crashed directly into Bobby’s rig, killing both its passengers immediately. The ghostly truck seemed to pass right on through the rig, as Charlie continued on his way, in search of another person who decides to make a choice. A choice that jeopardizes the lives of innocent people who drive on our highways. Charlie Golding is the 18 Wheeled Avenger, and he sees it as his duty to avenge the innocent and punish the guilty; tonight Bobby and Sylvia were punished. Their little frolic could have cost innocent victims their life. Tonight Bobby and Sylvia paid dearly for their decision….They won’t be the last….