by Jim Foreman
Joe Bob was nearing the town of Abilene when he overheard a conversation between two truckers on the CB.
"Breaker-Breaker One-Nine for the eastbound shit hauler in the red Peterbilt. You got the Big Stud shouting at ya. Got your ears on?"
"Shore nuff there, Big Stud. You got the Midnight Cowboy here. I ride 'um hard and put 'um away wet. I'm headed down Cowtown way with a double-decker load of steaks on the hoof, come on back."
"Yeah, I got you there Cowboy. I was jawin` with a Beaver Trucker back up at milepost three-ten and she said that there was a big road block down in Abilene town. What'cha know 'bout it, come on back."
"That's a big ten-four there Big Stud, you shore nuff got the true facts 'bout that. Whole passel o' bears and county-mounties all bunched up down there, but they ain't looking fur nothing with 18 wheels under it. They're a-laying low fur a red pickum up truck, come on back."
"A jacked-up red pickum up truck with big rollers under it passed me west bound a couple miles back, wonder if he's got his ears on. You in there good buddy?"
Joe Bob picked up the microphone and pressed the button, "I hear you talkin' there Big Stud. Any way I can get 'round Abilene town? Come on."
"Breaker-Breaker One-Nine. This here is the Midnight Cowboy back at ya. Sho nuff there is way 'round Abilene town. I know all the back roads and ways to miss the scales 'round these parts. Whip yourself off at the Clyde exit, take six-oh-four south to Oplin and then work your way over to Bradshaw. Keep a hooking back and forth on the farm to market and you'll finally come back to the double lanes at Roscoe. Got all that, good buddy? Come on."
"That's a big ten-four there Cowboy. Thanks for the come back. Sorry I can't toss out my handle on the air. Big ears are always listening, you know."
"Damn," said Joe Bob to himself as he dropped the microphone back on its hook. He had just passed the Clyde exit, so he cut across the median, sending up a storm of dust and tumble weeds, and headed back east to get off the Interstate. "The cops must want me real bad to have road blocks this far from Fort Worth. You'd think that I had committed murder or something instead of just selling a little drip gasoline." Little did he realize that there had been a holdup at a liquor store in Abilene and the police were looking for the gunman who escaped in a ratty old red Ford pickup.
"Bradshaw! I can hole up at Big Bob's place for a few days till the heat is off," thought Joe Bob as roared south on the narrow Farm to Market road. "I'll just tell him that I wanted to visit with him for old times sake."
Big Bob wasn't at the ranch but the hired help let Joe Bob in and treated him like long lost kin folk. He stayed at the ranch for close to a week before he decided that it might be safe to venture out. Even though the had been out of sight for a week, he felt that it would be a good idea to stay off Interstate 20 by sticking to the least traveled side roads that he could find as he traveled westward.
Joe Bob had intended to enter Mexico at El Paso, but changed his mind when he realized that he would have to show his drivers license and vehicle registration in order to get his pickup across the border. If he was wanted badly enough for the State Patrol to set up road blocks for him, the Border Patrol would certainly be looking for him too. It wouldn't be any better trying to get into Mexico at Douglas, Nogales or Yuma, Arizona either.
While Joe Bob was laying around the ranch, he picked up a magazine with an advertisement about a place called Los Cabos, located at the south tip of Baja. He asked the Mexican cook about the place and was told that Baja was still considered to be a territory of Mexico and one could go in and out of there without having to get anything more than a tourist card at the border. This was the ideal place for Joe Bob to hide out from the law.
When Joe Bob left Big Bob's place, he decided that he should still keep out of sight as much as possible. He could imagine that every motel clerk had a picture of him and would call the cops the instant that he checked in. He camped out the first night in a National Forest near the town of Cloudcroft, New Mexico and the second night in the desert near Gila Bend, Arizona. Because he was traveling only on side roads, the trip was taking much longer than it would have had he followed the Interstate, but he was a wanted man and on the run, or so he thought.
On the third night after leaving Big Bob's place, he felt that it would be safe for him to find an obscure little motel where he could get a bath and a good night's sleep. He remembered all the old movies in which a person on the run would go into some sleazy little motel, register under the name of John Smith and pass a twenty to the clerk to forget that he had ever seen them.
In his continuing effort to stay off the Interstate, he was now driving along California Highway 94 which ran parallel to the border. His destination was the crossing at the town of Tecate, where he planned to enter Baja. He had heard that it was a small crossing with very little traffic, so he would probably be able to cross there and never be noticed. Darkness overtook him before he reached Tecate, so he began to search for a place to spend the night.
"EATS" the neon sign flashed and below it was a faded sign which read, "Herb's Motel, Rooms $9.00". It had obviously been built back during the days when motels were called Tourist Courts because each small room was separated from the next by a narrow garage. This was just the sort of place where a man on the run could safely hide out for a night without being noticed. In the true form of a fugitive, he registered under the name of John Smith.
Herb's wife, who registered him, looked at the card and said, "You will be in room six, Mr. Smith. Don't suppose that you are any kin to the other three John Smiths that we have registered?"
Since the garages weren't tall enough to allow him to get his jacked-up pickup inside, he pulled it out of sight behind the building. After a quick meal in the restaurant, he headed for his $9.00 room. The tiny black and white TV received only one snowy channel and no amount of messing with the vertical hold would stop the picture from rolling, so he took a shower and went to bed.
Joe Bob got up the next morning, dressed and walked to the restaurant for breakfast. Parked side by side in front of the building sat a row of eight big Harley choppers. They had low-slung seats, long forks, skinny front tires and Ape Hanger handlebars. A puddle of oil was forming on the ground beneath the front chain guard of each one of them. Joe Bob walked into the restaurant and sat down at the counter.
Without being asked, the waitress placed a menu, glass of water and a steaming cup of coffee on the counter in front of him and went to take orders from the eight bikers who were occupying two tables at the front of the restaurant.
Joe Bob had seen some really scroungy bikers in his day, but this bunch was a cut below the worst. Lettering stitched on the backs of their leather jackets informed everyone that they were members of the Mother Rapers Motorcycle Club of San Diego.
"Gimme a sixteen ounce rare T-Bone, three eggs over easy, hashbrowns and toast," said one who had "Mother" tattooed across his bare chest.
"Same thing for me," said one with the name "GOON" stitched into his leather jacket.
"That goes for me too," said Spike, as he slipping a dirty hand between the her legs and slid it toward her crotch. She deftly stepped away from him without missing a word on her pad.
She took the rest of the orders, all of which were for steaks and eggs with the only difference being how they wanted them cooked and how they wanted their eggs.
The waitress stepped to the window which opened into the kitchen and shouted, "Ordering, eight steak and eggs. 16 ounce T- Bones with three eggs and side of hashbrowns. Make four rare, three medium and one well done. Over easy on all the eggs except the well done and wreck those."
She turned to Joe Bob and asked, "What'll you have there, Sport?"
"Sausage and over easy with biscuits and gravy," replied Joe Bob.
"It'll be a few minutes, Herb has the grill full of steaks right now," she told him as she wrote down the order.
"Nice tits," Joe Bob thought to himself. There was something strangely familiar about the waitress and he kept trying to remember where he might have seen her before. Nothing came to him immediately and his train of thought was derailed by the arrival of the biker's orders.
"Pick 'em up," shouted Herb from the kitchen as he handed eight platters through the window. Then he looked at Joe Bob and said, "Your order will be right out, sorry for the delay."
"No problem," replied Joe Bob.
The waitress poured another round of coffee for the bikers, fended off Spike who made a grab for her tits and refilled Joe Bob's cup. While Joe Bob sipped his coffee, she began to refill the big urn. She had to stand on tiptoe in order to reach the top of the urn and as she did so, her starched white uniform rode up so high that Joe Bob could see the lace around the legs of her pink panties. "Nice ass too," he observed silently.
"Pick it up LuAnn," shouted Herb at he set Joe Bob's sausage and eggs in the window.
The pinball machine of Joe Bob's memory began to blink. The ball, which had been bouncing back and forth between nice tits and nice ass, was sent flying back to the top by the flipper called LuAnn. Then the ball bounced against the Fort Worth bumper, sideswiped the Paschal peg and dropped into the hole of recognition. The lights in his brain lit up, bells rang and he shouted, "LuAnn! You're LuAnn Poovey!"
She whirled around and stared at Joe Bob, saying, "I haven't used that name since high school. Where in hell do you know me from?"
"I'm Joe Bob Puckett. I sat right behind you at Paschal High in Fort Worth," he said. "You were the head cheer leader and I played Right Defensive Tackle."
"Now I remember you," she replied. "You're the jerk who patted me on the ass in English class and I threatened to kick you in the balls."
"I suppose that I had a good kick coming for that," replied Joe Bob. "But I just couldn't resist the temptation."
LuAnn and Joe Bob talked about old times at Paschal High while the bikers cursed, slurped, belched, farted and gulped down their breakfasts. When they finished eating and LuAnn took their checks to them, they took one look at the total and the one named Goon stood up and said, "I didn't like the food and I ain't paying for none of it."
"Me neither," said Spike. "My steak was runny and the eggs were too tough."
"We ain't none of us paying for nothing," added the scrawny little creep who was wearing a German helmet, as they headed for the door.
"Come back here and pay your checks, you cheap bastards," shouted LuAnn.
The bikers straddled their Harleys and kicked life into the engines. Belching smoke and noise, they sent a shower of gravel pounding against the windows as they dug out toward the pavement. As they roared away, they gave the old middle-finger salute.
"That eighty bucks is coming out of your pay," shouted Herb who had just come running out of the kitchen with a long butcher's knife in his hand. "You know my rules, Luann. The waitress pays any check that she lets get away."
"Look Herb," said Joe Bob. "It wasn't LuAnn's fault and it's not really fair to make her pay for them. Those guys didn't intend to pay the check when they came in."
"Who pulled your chain, fellow? This is between me and her and you stay the hell out of it," replied Herb, waving the knife.
"You have just enough money coming to cover that check." Herb told LuAnn. "I've been planning to fire you anyway, so get your stuff out of that room you been staying in and hit the road."
"Come on, Joe Bob," said LuAnn. "I've been planning to blow this joint anyway. He's a real asshole to work for."
"How did you wind up in a place like this?" asked Joe Bob as they walked toward their rooms.
"I just recently learned that when my grandmother died, she left me a trust fund which is worth nearly twenty thousand dollars. I get it when I'm twenty-five years old, which isn't too far from now."
"I still don't see what that has to do with your being here," said Joe Bob.
"Well, I married Brad Hartley as soon as we got out of high school. I wanted to go to college too but I had to stay home and work while he went off to SMU to play football and screw around. He promised me that I could go to college as soon as he was drafted by the pros but that never happened. When he got passed over in the draft, he just came back home and turned into a bum. He would come and go whenever he felt like it but I just never bothered to get a divorce, thinking that he might straighten up some day. When he heard that I would be getting all that money, he came running back, saying that since we were still married, half of it would belong to him. I decided that it was time for me to shuck him, so I headed out to San Diego to stay with my sister and get a Mexican divorce before the money came through. My old Pinto blew its engine right in front of this place so I went to work for Herb for two bucks an hour plus tips. I already have my bags packed and planned to leave as soon as I got my money today, but those bikers took care of that."
"Well, just toss your things into my pickup and I'll take you to San Diego," replied Joe Bob. "That's the least that I could do for someone that I went to high school with. Come to think of it, I'm headed for Baja to get a divorce too, so why don't you just come along with me and maybe we can get a discount if we take two at one time."
"Might as well," said LuAnn. "I wasn't really looking forward to staying with my sister and her four screaming brats. Only problem is that forty bucks in tip money is all that I have to my name."
"No problem," said Joe Bob. "I got enough to take care of both of us for several months.
Joe Bob and LuAnn pulled out on Highway 94 and headed west. They had driven only a few miles when Joe Bob said, "Well, will you look up ahead at what I see. That bunch of bikers has stopped to take a leak." He pulled his 12 Gauge pump shotgun down from the gun rack across the rear window and asked, "Can you use a rifle?"
"My daddy used to take me deer hunting with him all the time when I was a kid. I can shoot a rifle with the best of them," replied LuAnn.
"Good, you take the 30-30 Winchester and pile out of the right side as soon as I stop. With eight of those bikers, I'll need all the help that I can get."
The red pickup slid to a stop in a cloud of dust. Joe Bob, leaped from the driver's seat with the shotgun pointed at the bikers while LuAnn slid to the ground on the other side, armed with the Lever Action Winchester.
The bikers, who were all standing in the ditch and taking leaks, looked around, face to face with two guns. Joe Bob yelled, "You boys just keep hanging on to your dicks and turn around real slow. If I see one cock without a hand wrapped around it, I'll blow the damn thing off."
"What the hell do you want?" asked Goon.
"You fellers not only ran out on your checks and this pretty little lady here had to pay them for you, but you also forgot to leave her a tip. I'm just going to help you set things right."
"What do you think you're going to do, hold us here till the cops come along?" asked the one wearing the German helmet. "It'll just be our word against you and that bitch there, and since there are eight of us, the cops will believe us and let us go."
"You know what," said Joe Bob. "You ain't too awfully smart calling a lady who is pointing a 30-30 at your balls a bitch. She might just get so mad that she would shoot them off just for the fun of it."
"Better do what the bastard says," said Spike.
"Goon, you look like a mechanic. Just keep hanging on to that puny little cock of yours with one hand and use the other one to unscrew the valve cores and let the air out of the front tires on all your bikes."
"You ain't going to get away with this," said the one with the tattoos. "We got some mean friends in San Diego and when we tell them about what you did to us, they are going to come looking for you and the whole state of Texas won't be big enough for you to hide in."
By this time, each of the front tires on the choppers was spewing air and going flat. Joe Bob told them, "OK, one at a time, come up to the first hog and lay a couple twenty dollar bills on the seat, then back off. That ought to cover your check plus a nice tip for this little lady."
One by one they did as they were told with Goon being the last. He pulled a huge roll of bills from his pocket and while he was trying to hold the money in his free hand and get the rubber band off with his teeth, Joe Bob told him. "You look like a big tipper to me, Goon. So you just lay that whole roll down on the seat and back off."
"There's nearly four grand in there, you Texas bastard," he shouted. "That's our drug money and we'll get your ass for this."
"OK honey, watch them real close and go over and pick up your tips," said Joe Bob.
When LuAnn had collected the money and returned to the pickup, Joe Bob said, "OK, you worthless bastards keep hanging onto your cocks and start running out across the desert. If you run fast enough, you might be out of range and not get an ass full of buckshot when I empty this shotgun in your direction."
The bikers took off at a dead run while Joe Bob and LuAnn jumped into the pickup and roared away.
"There is the road to Tecate," said LuAnn.
"And none to soon," replied Joe Bob. "I got a feeling that when those bikers get their flats fixed, they are going to be looking for us with blood in their eyes."
"Think that they will follow us into Baja?" asked LuAnn.
"They will probably think that we are headed for San Diego and look for us there," replied Joe Bob.
"Bienvenidos Amigos," shouted the guard as he waved them through.
Twenty miles past Tecate, they came to the immigration check point where they stopped to get their tourist cards. "Do we need passports or anything like that?" asked LuAnn as they filled out the small, hello forms. "All I have is my driver's license as identification."
"I got about the only identification we will need and it has old Andy Jackson's picture on it." said Joe Bob as he took the two forms to the desk with the end of a twenty showing between them. Without the slightest hesitation, the man at the desk slid the twenty into a drawer as he reached for a rubber stamp to authenticate the tourist cards. Then he shoved them back across the desk, flashing a big smile that framed a gold tooth.
"I think that I'll get us a little insurance just in case those bikers do come this way looking for us," said Joe Bob. He turned to the man who had approved their tourist cards and told him, "We were in a bar just across the border from Tacate and heard about eight bikers talking about coming into Tecate to rob a bank and then escape back across the border." Joe Bob gave a full description of the bikers, as the man took careful notes.
"Gracias Amigo," replied the man. "I will call the Federalies and they will be waiting for these men if they come into Mexico."
Joe Bob and LuAnn made good time as they drove over the mountains to Ensenada and then southward, reaching the town of Mulege late the following day.
"Where is a good hotel?" Joe Bob asked the attendant at the Pemex who was filling their tank with gasoline.
"The Serenidad is very good, Senior," replied the attendant. "About three kilometers past the bridge and on the left."