BY LANCE DOILY I had spent the last 20 or so hours in the Waterfront Pub’s basement sleeping off a bender and didn’t even know it was supposed to snow, let alone be declared a state of emergency. According to the cook who periodically came down to check me for vital signs, I was looking at around three and a half to four feet of snow, in addition to a county wide power outage. Pile that on top of the nearing sub-zero temperatures that all but guaranteed vehicular abandonment for anyone stuck on the road, and I call that a challenge I was ready to face, my friends. Muscling my way out the Bilco doors, the 60 MPH winds almost had me second guessing myself, but I was able to make my way into the cab of the truck. There was insulation and heat inside, in addition to the requisite bourbon and pills. I had a responsibility to get my customers their orders, and needed to get this truck emptied since I already missed a full day by sleeping on a cold concrete floor huddled next to a boiler for warmth.
After a good 45 minutes of trying to bully my way out of my spot, I made it onto Rt. 23, ignoring the occasional screech and sparks of metal rubbing against metal when I sideswiped cars buried under by the plow trucks. They always beeped a thank you for freeing them, even though I probably did about five grand worth of body damage. As expected, there wasn’t a soul on the roads; even the plows were waiting until tomorrow morning. But I knew a lot of my customers lived either nearby or in the apartments above their buildings, and people will crawl through anything to grab a drink when there’s nowhere else to go. One thing I don’t want on my conscience is being the guy who failed to deliver the beer, and truth be told, I like driving through the ice and snow. Although I’m normally in the zone, there’s something liberating about just gunning it on a sharp turn and losing near total control of close to 30 tons of weight. That stoplight on the intersection of Rt. 23 and Ratzer Road never had a chance, just a little something to blame on the plows tomorrow morning.
As expected, there was a complete lack of visibility on the roads except for my headlights, one of which I busted trying to get out of the Waterfront anyway. But in the distance I saw another set of headlights. From the looks of it — a truck lumbering down the road as if it were 75 and sunny out, obviously on the wrong side of the highway — it could only be one man…Rex. Rex was the Rasputin of beer delivery men. Dude’s had an old school bear trap clamped over his head, had to fight his way out of a pit of brown recluse spiders, and was riddled with so many bullets once that the only thing keeping him standing was the slightly upward momentum of hot lead knifing into his body. All of this, mind you, happened on the job. According to local legend, one time he was about 25-30 beers deep, doing his usual “buck twenty in the wrong lane” deal on the way to his final delivery. He ends up smashing head first into a Rocky Mountain double; everything’s on fire, all are presumed dead. Five minutes later he emerges out of the billowing smoke and cinders, still partially on fire and wheeling a full hand truck of beer into the Krauser’s across the street. Knowing Rex though, he was probably just hoping a photographer was standing by, ready to snap the iconic image of a delivery guy engulfed in flames and still finishing the job. Tall tale or not, the dude is a fuckin’ survivor, and I was happy to have him on the road with me.
We decided to take one truck, so we abandoned Rex’s rig in the middle of the road and got into a groove, getting the deliveries done in what had to be record time. We were delighting the ever living shit out of all the bars and liquor stores that had long since given up hope. Leaving the Fuddrucker’s, we happened across another delivery truck blocking the majority of the road. We drove closer to take a look in case it was one of ours, but it was one of the Kohler guys, the local Coors distributor. Besides being flipped on its ass it seemed okay, but even if it was a hunk of twisted metal with a bloody hand pleading to me out of the wreckage I wouldn’t help those fuckers out. I maneuvered my way around him while Rex unzipped his pants, pulled out a nut and wagged it at the driver until he noticed. We’re normally not the type to showboat like that, but we were about to make our last delivery in what was now nearing 9 feet of snow on the ground. Rex’s truck was still abandoned a few miles south, but it was only 7 PM and we had already established absolute dominance over the road. A quick stop at Hooters for shots and a few key bumps (the manager on duty, Rob, had one of those 1800’s skeleton keys so each bump was like half a gram) to refuel and we were back on the road. Now that the truck was empty I had pretty much zero control over the back trailer, so we just ended up unlatching it and leaving it in the road en route to Rex’s truck. Once we got back to Rex’s truck we decided to set up fort there for the night, of course until Murph’s called with one of their famous 3AM “emergency deliveries” that quickly disintegrated into a powdery blur of rye whiskey and barbituates. Once we got inside it was apparent that what Rex joked about being a “mild frostbite” would probably result in the loss of at least 2 fingers, but that’s the price you learn to pay in this line of work.
PREVIOUSLY: The Auspicious Debut Of BLOTTO
PREVIOUSLY: The Second Installment Of BLOTTO
PREVIOUSLY: The Third Installment Of BLOTTO
DEENEY: How I Came To Know Lance Doily