It was back during the late 1970s that the movie “Smokey and the Bandit” was a big hit and had everyone wanting at Citizens Band (CB) radio. My friend Fielding had one at his house, and I remember that late summer night many years ago when several of us gathered over there to listen to the chatter coming across the airways.
There really wasn’t much going on, until we heard this call from a highway trucker: “Breaker, breaker,” said the gruff voice (that’s CB language for “Excuse me. I have something to say.”) “East bound lane of I-20, mile-marker 150, there’s a female driver stranded and in need of help.”
Well, that was all we needed to hear to spring into action.
Our idea was simple: we’d pack a can of gasoline and drive ten miles out on the highway to help that poor damsel in distress. Fielding recommended that we take his father’s car. That sounded like a good idea, but his parents were out of town, and he had a hard time finding the keys, which were obviously hidden for good reason. While Fielding searched, the rest of us rummaged around in the garage and found a half-filled gas can.
“I found the keys,” yelled Fielding. And so we all piled into his father’s Cadillac and took off to Intersate-20 with a half-filled can of gas.
After fifteen or so minutes of traveling on the highway, we approached mile-marker 150, the supposed location of the stranded motorist. It was dark. It was late. And there were very few cars on the road. We did, however, spot a car parked on the other side of the highway, and so we traveled to the next exit, made the turn and headed back east to check it out.
Approaching the mile-marker, we all noticed something rather strange. What we saw through the windshield wasn’t an ordinary automobile. It looked more like an unusually large station-wagon. And that’s when things got real quiet in the car.
Pulling slowly into the emergency lane and easing to within about ten yards of the parked vehicle, we saw that it wasn’t a station-wagon after all, but rather a hearse. Stopping immediately, Fielding put the car in park and we all sat motionless. And with our headlights shining, we watched through the front window as the hearse’s driver and passenger doors opened and two old men got out. They walked towards our car:
“Thank heavens you made it,” said one of the men. “We’ve run out of gas, and we didn’t think anyone would come out to help us this late at night.”
“But the trucker on the CB radio said there was a stranded female on I-20,” I said.
“Oh, come on. Do you really think anyone would’ve come out to help two old men driving a fully loaded hearse?” said the driver.
We gave them the gas and got the hell home.
Day 27 Guide
The world doesn’t always give you what you expect. And that’s what makes a great story. Enjoy the unexpected.
© 2006, Levi Hill