Oklahoma is Not Okay, Part II

That night, I had quite possibly the strangest dream I ever had, even weirder than that time I ate a bunch of diet pills on account I thought they was Mike and Ikes.

Little Joe appeared before me, but in the form of an extraterrestrial type fellow. He was gray-skinned with lidless black eyes, and wore one of them robes with a hood on it. I don't know how I knew this was Little Joe - I just did.

"Don't be afraid, Red," he said to me. "I have much to tell you about today’s events and of the future."

"Uh, OK," I said. "You are just about the weirdest lookin' dog I ever did see."

He laughed. "The Earth-dog is just a form I assume to keep close to certain humans. The truth is that I am not of this Earth. I am from a planet far away, but I have interests here that must be protected. You are part of those interests."

"You see, my people have been fighting a war against an aggressive, colonizing race of creatures. We know not where they come from, only that they seek to destroy all that stand in their path. One of the creatures they use for that purpose is the Chupacabra. The Chupacabra threatens not only the ranchers’ goats, but truckers as well."

"Goats and truckers? What the heck do they have in common?” I wondered aloud.

“Well, they both are hairy, have beards, and pretty much eat anything.”

“Yeah, I guess that makes sense.” But I was skeptical; I ain’t seen nothing about this in the papers. "Sounds like job for the Army or somethin'. I'm just a guy with a guitar and limited prospects, looking for a ride out of town."

Despite my flawless logic, he kept after me. "No, Red, you are much more than a rideless, guitar-carrying vagabond of marginal skills, although that is one of your charms. You have the potential to be a Protector. A Protector of truckers."

"Huh?"

"Red, we need the Earth’s trucker-enabled transportation system to further our plans. So, while the interstate trucking system is bringing goods safely and efficiently to all Americans, it is also helping us protect the Earth. Exactly how truckers help us protect the Earth is something you don’t need to know right now, just rest assured that truckers are very special to us," he said, and he ain’t blinked once.

"Wow! I've always kinda thought that truckers had an air of destiny about 'em. It's like they are a chosen-type people or somethin’, destined from birth to aid all mankind and stuff like that."

"Well, yes, Red, they are a chosen people, so to speak. People who chose to take an easy, affordable 6-week course at one of our schools located at various points around the country. After that, it’s only a few short steps to obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License, or what we like to call ‘The License to Your Future!’"

"You're those guys? I didn’t know space-dogs ran that place!" I said, flabbergasted. "Wow! 'The License to Your Future!' I love that line. Never had the courage to call, though. I just didn’t think I could make it through that course."

"Thanks. I came up with it myself. But I digress. Red, we need you to help protect truckers from threats like the Chupacabra. We’ll arm and train you, and give you assignments throughout the country, with alternate weekends off. We'll pay all expenses, of course.”

“Wow! With an offer like that, how can I turn you down? I’ll take it!” I said enthusiastically. It was like I had found my perfect job or something.

“One caveat, though, Red. If you become a Protector, you automatically preclude yourself from ever becoming a trucker. While you’ll have a big-rig of your own, and a very special one at that, you’ll never be able to live your dream of hauling large amounts of goods, liquids, or animals from one locale to another.”

Well, I have to say that Little Joe had thrown me quite a curve ball with that last bit. One of the reasons I hung around gear-jammers and truck stops was the hope of one day ownin’ and operatin’ my own big rig and loading it full of boxes and whatnot and driving it somewhere and then watching fellers unload it, like at a grocery store or some-such. Well, it looked like Miss Destiny had another plan in mind for ol’ Red.

“If I can help truckers to be the best they can be, to bring goods timely to market, to pilot the lonely blacktop of this country on nothing but diesel fuel, willpower, and a handful of uppers, then I am glad to help. Honored, in fact. Sign me up, Little Joe!”

Little Joe’s slit of a mouth formed just about the nicest smile I had ever seen. This dog was somethin’ else! He ought to be in movie-shows like Benji!

“Excellent! Your training will begin immediately.”

“Do I have to go to some type of school or somethin’?” I asked, hoping it would be one of them easy 6-week type deals he mentioned.

“No, Red. Your training shall consist of one assignment, which will form a lifetime of lessons. You will slay the Chupacabra this evening.”

“Uh, slay? As in kill?”

“Yes, Red. I mean kill.”

“Well, I’ll do my best.” One night! Sure better than 6 weeks! But somethin’ was still nagging my mind. “Say, can I ask you a question?”

“Certainly, Red. I shall do my best to answer.”

“It was you who took control of my body, right? Who made me promise them ranchers I would take care of the chupa-whatever. Who made me throw that mop pert-near through the back wall.”

“Yes Red, that was me.”

“Well, what if I said no to your offer? What if you made me do all that stuff, and I turned you down flat? What would you do then?”

Little Joe smiled. “Red, it was never a possibility that you would decline our offer. It was written in the stars that you would be our champion. Now, Red, I’ll let you rest for the balance of the evening. You’ll need your strength for tomorrow. Now, sleep, sleeeeeeep…….” His eyes made big spiral designs and started spinnin’. Who taught this dog all these tricks?

I woke up refreshed the next morning, the best night of sleep I ever had. It was like I was energized or something, and I ain’t even had my eggs and biscuits yet. And Little Joe was right there beside me.


Oklahoma Is Not Okay, Part III