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2 Guys in search of a Truck
Episode 7 -- An Afternoon at Billy Ray's
The Two Guys are back and badder than ever! Having crushed the insurrection of Margaret -- She's been deposed and demoted to "Email Answerer." In defiance of irate Old Truck Wives everywhere, the Two Guys start their own Country...
Biddle -- Scott County ...... Georgetown ...... Sadieville ..... Stamping Ground ...... Oxford ...... Forks of Elkhorn ......
"Nope, can't find it," I said finally.
"Told ya," Johnhancock gloated. "If you were as educated as I am, you'd know stuff like that." Once again, he had a point. Horrid man. "Biddle's not on the map. Pretty soon, Oxford won't be, either. Place is just a parking lot for the Toyota plant, anyway. Did you know that place has a concrete floor 25 feet thick?" I didn't, but then again, I'm not as educated as he is...
After all, not just anyone can be President you know. Yes, that's right. A little known fact that's just coming out -- the secret life of Johnhancock -- international Man of Mystery, as it were. President of Biddle, a little nation tucked away, like Luxembourg in Europe, in the Bluegrass of Kentucky. A nation so secretive and exclusive, it's not on the map. The Area 51 of Kentucky. Hmmm, I always though JH was from a different planet....
"El Presidente of Biddle, well whaddya know?" I said, doing my best to fake being impressed.
"El Presidente For Life," he added.
"How'd you get elected?" I wasn't really paying much attention at this point, as I was watching the road --- these Kentucky back roads can be hairy -- but I think his answer contained a phrase like "Dogfood Ticket."
"Yeah, I promised Jake and Augie more good dogfood if they voted for me," he said seriously. I was incredulous.
"Dogs can't vote," I said authoritatively. I may be a dumb Jarhead, but MY major was Political Science and I was pretty sure I was on solid ground here.
"Shows how much you know, Junior," Johnhancock said with a very patronizing tone. "In Biddle they can. In fact, they're members of the Parliament and the Zoning Commission, too." By this time, we had reached his place and had stopped in front of his shop to get out. I didn't remember passing through a border check point, but then again, I was transporting El Hefe and we didn't have to trifle with such plebeian formalities as customs. Not when You're El Presidente For Life, anyway.
"Biddle even has a highly elite Special Forces Unit," he said, pointing at Galadriel. Of course, Gal is my German Shepherd, but when you are speaking with El Hefe, you don't bring up such points. You could end up in one of Biddle's infamous gulags that way. Besides, in Biddle, what's his is his and what's mine is his. Wonderful country.
Johnhancock pointed at his neighbor (the only other structure for miles around), a nearly defunct general store. Out front stood two dead gas pumps as sentinels. Weathered, rusted and almost collapsed, they certainly had witnessed the passage of time and events. Probably starting with McKinley's assassination.
"That's our International Free Trade Zone," he said proudly. "At least until the next good snow storm brings it the rest of the way down." Then he stopped and a pensive look came across his face. Very peculiar.
"You know, the guy who owns that store has a farm just up the road. He's got some of his old cattle trucks there. Nobody lives there, so we could go over and see what he's got. He'd probably sell 'em."
So we hopped on the six-wheeler and bounced over to Billy Ray's farm, three dogs strung out behind us. When we got there, we found the trucks easy enough. Two Fords and an Advance Design Chevy with an added bonus -- the ole tree-through-the-front routine.
This truck is so far gone, the sheet metal (or what's left of it) is about to collapse of its own weight. It has rusted to the point of being paper thin.
"Helloooooo, what's this?" I murmured, lifting a tangled mess of rotted wood crossmembers off the back of the truck. Like Carter in Egypt, I had stumbled on to something. Johnhancock pulled up on the six-wheeler.
"Looks like a two-speed rear axle," he offered. For once, he was right and I didn't mind. It was a two-speed rear end, and it looked salvageable, too. The vacuum lines were long-gone, though. And the dash controller looked a mite peaked, as we say in Maine, but the axle itself looked okay.
"Good luck getting it out of here, though." I figured the only way to do it would be to bring Johnhancock's tractor up here and lift it out with the front-end loader (after cutting the axle free from the frame with a torch -- the fun part). No matter what, it sounded like more work than either of us felt like doing at the moment. Besides, there yet remained the challenge of getting Billy Ray to let us actually do it. After all, he's one of those guys who just might say, "Well I don't know 'bout that. I jes might try ta do somethin' with that ole truck one of these days. Mebbe I'll restore it and sell it."
Haven't heard that one before.
So meanwhile, the truck-shaped pile of rust sits on the hill, held in place by a tree, protecting a two-speed rear axle. Johnhancock called a special session of the Biddle National Security Council and we repaired to the Imperial Palace for cigars and a refreshing beverage. Fear not, you don't have to go to Central America to find a cigar-chomping two-bit petty dictator -- you only have to come to Biddle, where the days of smoke-filled back room politics are still very much alive. And the policies adopted are just as corrupt and heavy handed.
But you might like it here -- no emissions testing and you can dump your old oil on the driveway. And if the neighbors complain about old trucks on your property, you can call on the Biddle Air Force for an air strike. (As soon as we get a Biddle Air Force...) Ha! Let's hear 'em complain as their house crackles with the dancing flames of Napalm! I love the smell of napalm.
Margaret here. Sorry to interrupt, but when Johnhancock showed up in a Napoleon uniform (complete with cocked hat and sword) to help JC move the Farmall to Biddle (they claimed it was a tank for the Biddle Self Defense Force's Armored Regiment) I had them committed to the Kentucky Home for the Bewildered for counseling. They may be back in July. Stay tuned.
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