The pot hole filled Lot and The Lumper
by Vicky Stowers
One of Those Days
It was finally my turn to dock in. I had been waiting over 5 hours and now. They finally told me to dock into door 5. I looked at it. It was gonna be a tight fit. Oh well, what was new. It seemed every time I docked in anywhere lately it was a tight spot.
This dirt lot was full of potholes. It was snowing and getting colder by the minute. The ground was completely covered with snow. I opened the door to get out and cold air poured in. I grabbed my coat and stepped out. Right into an icy, snow-covered mud puddle. I felt the icy water swirl around my legs and over the top of my shoes. My feet were soaked in seconds.
I muttered as I headed back to open the trailer doors. I could feel the soggy socks and hear the squishing shoes with every step I took.
I opened the right trailer door and secured it. I was opening the left door when a huge gust of wind tore through me. I saw a movement from the corner of my eye and jumped out of the way just as the right door came swinging toward me. I almost made it out of the way. Almost, but not quite. The door hit my shoulder with a glancing blow.
“Ouch” I yelled as I grabbed the door and secured it once more. Rubbing my shoulder, I squished my way back to the truck.
Eyeing the mud puddle right by my door, I tried to step across it. I stretched my leg as far as it would go and took that extra wide step. My foot came down on the edge of the step and slid down it. I felt the skin on my leg being scraped back. I landed right in the icy mud puddle again. I was so mad I drew my foot back and kicked at the step. I felt my nail peel back from my toe. Cursing, I hobbled back up into the truck and backed it in.
I had already hired a lumper so I decided to check out my injuries. I pulled my wet shoes off and set them where The heater would blow directly on them. Maybe they would dry out some. Next, I peeled my soggy socks from my feet. I felt them begin to warm immediately. I looked at my toe. It was all bloody where the nail had come loose. I shed my jeans to see tthe damage to my leg.
Scratches were all up and down my leg. Some places were bleeding. I took alcohol and splashed it on my toe and leg. I was sorry I had done it as soon as the alcohol touched me. My toe felt like it was coming loose from my foot and my leg was on fire. I grabbed my wet socks and threw them on my leg. I fought to keep from screaming like a little girl.
Finally, after an eternity, the fire in my leg eased to burning embers and my toe quit throbbing. I dressed in fresh clothes and socks. Within minutes I was sleeping soundly.
BAM BAM BAM BAM. Someone was banging on my truck. When I jumped up, I banged my elbow on the cooler sitting beside the bunk. I felt pain shoot through my arm and into my shoulder. BAM BAM BAM BAM. The banging sounded again.
“Wait just a minute” I shouted as I opened the curtains and crawled up front holding my elbow.
I rolled the window down and snow blew into the cab. The lumper was staring up at me.
“Hey Man,” The lumper shouted. “There’s a problem with your load. You need to come inside.”
“What kind of problem, what’s wrong?”
“A lot of your pallets have got to be broken down. That wasn’t in our deal. I can’t do it for seventy-five bucks.”
“How much then?” I asked as I absently rubbed my arm.
“Well, I’ve got to break them down and then...”
“A hundred and fifty bucks.”
“No way,” I said. I’ll pay you a hundred. Take it or leave it.”
“I can’t do it for a hundred Man, too much work.”
“Fine,” I said. “I’ll find someone else to do it.” I rolled my window back up and put on my wet shoes. I stepped out into the icy water hole. I swore as I felt the icy water fill my shoes. I angrily limped into the building to find another lumper. My leg ached and my toe throbbed with every step I took.
I was looking at my load when I heard someone say “Would you pay me one-twenty five?”
I looked up and it was the same lumper I had hired in the beginning.
“I’ve already told you what I would pay. Take it or leave it.” I was in no mood to argue.
“Okay, I’ll do it for a hundred this time but next time you’ll owe me one. Okay?”
“Yeah, sure.” I replied. I walked back out to my truck. I stepped into the huge water hole and back into my truck. Once more I eased my wet shoes and socks off. I stretched out and felt the warmth steel over me. I drifted off to sleep.
BAM BAM BAM BAM.
I jumped up and hit my elbow on the cooler. I yelled out in pain. I hit the cooler with my fist. I could feel my fingers beginning to swell even before I pulled my hand away.
BAM BAM BAM BAM.
“Just a cotton-pickin minute” I yelled as I rolled the window down again.
The man standing in the snow looked up at him. “Your dispatcher wants you to call him asap.”
“Thanks.” I said as the man turned away.
I muttered as I pulled on my soggy socks and shoes. By now I knew it was useless to put on dry socks. I stepped out into the puddle and calmly limped into the building. I found the phones and called my dispatcher only to be told they were working on a reload for me and that I needed to call them back in thirty minutes. After three hours of calling every few minutes the load was finally scheduled. Back in the truck I removed my wet shoes and socks for the third time. I stretched out. BAM BAM BAM BAM. I jumped up. “I’m gonna kill him.” I said as I cracked my elbow again.
I came out of the sleeper like a bull. I jerked the door open and jumped out onto the icy step. My feet slipped and I lunged forward with a startled expression.
I slid on the icy step and landed on both knees right smack in the middle of the icy water. Dirty frigid water splashed everywhere. It covered my face and hair. I was soaked from head to throbbing toe. I was shivering from the cold. I looked up.
The lumper was staring at me with wide and disbelieving eyes. He was holding my paperwork in his hands. “You’re empty.” he said.
I just looked at him and suddenly the whole situation struck me as funny. Not just funny but hilarious. I started laughing. My laughter built so much that soon the lumper began to chuckle, then laugh harder until he too, was laughing uncontrollably. I bent at the waist gasping for breath. We both had tears rolling down our faces from laughter. Gradually the laughter faded until we were just staring at each other grinning.
I took my soggy wallet from my wet pants and handed The lumper seven wet twenties and a wet ten.
The lumper looked at the money. “One fifty? I said I’d do it for a hundred.”
“Take it,” I said. “Next time you’ll owe me one.”
“You got it man.” The lumper said as he shook my hand and helped me from the icy water.
I climbed back into the cab and still chuckling, I pulled away from the dock. I pulled my socks and shoes on and jumped out into the icy water and closed my trailer doors. I stomped through the muddy water back to the cab without even trying to miss the holes. I pulled away from the pot hole filled lot and headed straight to the nearest truck stop. I needed a hot shower and the sooner the better. I sneezed. Yep, a hot shower and some sleep and I could put this day behind me. Tomorrow has to be better. It has to, I thought as I sneezed again.