Rigabold the pernicketness walked up to the counter of the Port Augusta roadhouse and ordered himself ten Chiko Rolls, it was what he’d come to Earth for he may as well sample as many of them as he could even if they were cooked in much the same way and therefore tasted the same. The lady behind the counter politely told him that for an order that large she would have them all cooked fresh but it would take ten minutes.
Rigabold sat down to wait for his order on one of the stools that lined the outer wall of the eatery part of the road house. Having not seen them enter the building Rigabold didn’t know immediately that the men he was sitting next to were the two men driving the trucks that passed him at the other end of town, but that didn’t matter he spoke with them anyway.
Truckies in Australia, the world really, often had a reputation for being cowboys, road hogs, and all manner of other derogatory things but Rigabold knew that was not the entire truth. There was often a few bad eggs in a box but Rigabold had found that for the most part Australian Truckies were decent, hard working folk just trying to get the job done and get home to their families. In his experience people in general were just as shitty as truck drivers were.
“You the one drivin’ that big Dodge that juz passed us comin’ through town?” The man in the blue shirt asked. He was almost your stereotypical trucker, large stomach, dirt stained blue jeans, Blundstone steel capped boots and a flannelette shirt over the top of his dark blue bonds singlet.
“Yes.” Rigabold answered realising who the two men were.
“Nice lookin’ truck man,” the second truck driver said. If his mate was stereotypical the second man was the complete opposite, bean pole thin, black jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt that had the words “Trucks Keep This Country Moving.” written across the front. “
“Thank you.” Rigabold replied limiting his words until he worked out if the two men were arseholes or genuine blokes.
“Wanted one meself,” said the second truckie, “’fonly I was home anough to enjoy it.”
The conversation then turned to one of the road, rather than personal details like what perfumes each wore or how annoying their partners were like women seemed to gravitate toward when they formed a group.
“Which way are you guys headed?” Rigabold asked.
“Brisbane.” replied the skinnier driver. “What about you?”
“Melbourne, then Sydney, then who knows where. Maybe I’ll head home, maybe I’ll just get lost out in the desert somewhere.” Rigabold stated, not giving away too much information but answering the question adequately to satisfy ‘bloke talk’.
“Half ya luck buddy, wish I could get lost in the desert and live out me life away from the rat race!” said the first truckie.
“Which way would you recommenced I head to Melbourne?” Rigabold asked working on the idea that if you wanted to get anywhere in Australia by road the best way to do it was ask a long haul truck driver.
“Go via Hell, you’ll ‘ppreciate Melbourne more if ya tour hell first!” number one replied. Number two laughed, then they both laughed.
“Ignore Panda, he’s just shitty ‘coz his ex missus lives in Melbourne and she’s shacked up with a scalie who booked him for being two tonne over and three minutes over his hours.”
Rigabold had to process the comment quickly to understand what he was being told. Firstly number one was called Panda, more than likely a nickname, possibly because of his size. Secondly, if he was shitty he was upset. Thirdly, an ex missus was his previous wife, presumably divorced but maybe not. Fourthly, shacked up meant she was living with another bloke. Fifthly, a scalie was an employee of the state who ran the weigh bridges trucks were required to drive over to ensure they were within the legal load limit for the road and the truck. And finally being three minutes over his hours meant he’d driven for three minutes longer than the state law allowed.
“Fuckin’ two minutes an’ a spellin’ mistake, an’ it cost me more than fifteen grand!” Panda said.
Road laws in Australia were very strict when it came to heavy vehicles and Rigabold understood that while it didn’t sound entirely fair to be fined such a large sum for a spelling mistake and such a small time error it was what truckies lived with on a daily basis.
“But on the upside ya got rid of Cheryl,” number two said with a smirk.
“Yeah an’ that cost me half the fuckin’ house!”
“And then ya changed jobs, moved to Brissie,” short for Brisbane obviously, “moved in wif me and it’s like the movie Animal House every weekend we’re home!”
“More like Weekend at fuckin’ Bernies!”
The banter and chatter went on until Rigabold’s order was cooked, during the rest of the conversation he never did find out what the second driver’s name was, because in man world names just aren’t necessary to get along with each other. He also never got his answer as to which of three possible directions was the best for him to head to Melbourne. But it didn’t matter he’s had fun chatting with the truckies and he could always rely on the GPS to give him the best route, even if it wasn’t based on experience like a truckie would offer.
With his order wrapped tightly in paper under his arm and a spearmint moo juice in his right hand Rigabold headed for the door. He’d enjoyed his short stop at the Port Augusta roadhouse and service centre, not only had he gotten himself a good feed of Chiko Rolls but he’d had a wonderful chat which made him almost forget the annoying girls who’d been so rude to him when he arrived.
It was Rigabold reached forward to grab the handle of the swinging door and pull it open that he saw in the darkened glass reflection that the three annoying girls were approaching him from behind. Being a gentleman he decided to pull the door open, step to one side and hold it open as a polite gesture for the girls. They might not realise he was doing it to prove himself more mature that they were but that didn’t matter to Rigabold.