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On the Edge of Common Sense: The trainwreck

Baxter Black Published on 26 November 2007

We all face our own addictions – to chocolate, horse training clinics or chewing tobacco.

Lonnie’s curse was whiskey. With the help of AA and a loving family, he finally put his demon behind him. But those who know the problem appreciate that the demon waits just around the corner.

Lonnie worked for the BNSF Railroad. He and his pardner Paco were called out in the middle of the night to help with a train derailment. Normally Lonnie would have picked Paco up and given him a ride since Paco’s wife worked nights and had their car. Problem was, Lonnie’s car wouldn’t start.

Lonnie had a loving daughter named Lisa who still lived at home. She had a good job, but also the wisdom of a child raised by a compromised parent. Her pride and joy was a classic Thunderbird, 2-seater, painted baby blue. And in spite of her love for her father, she refused to allow him to drive it even after he had been sober for a year. But tonight was an emergency, he explained. His boss had insisted he come. It was 40 miles away. He needed to borrow his daughter’s little Thunderbird. He pleaded with her and promised he’d be careful.

Whether it was a change of heart or a one o’clock in the morning mental fog, she consented. Lonnie picked up Paco and off they went. As they approached the area, they encountered an unrelated four-locomotive coal train slowly headed west. Lonnie came alongside. The two-lane highway was only 100 feet from the tracks. The big headlight on the locomotive cut a bright spot out of the black night. Suddenly, the engineer hit the whistle!

The sound waves made Lonnie’s lips blubber and melted the wax in his ears. Rising from between the tracks and the highway, like a herd of bats from an underground cave, 32 head of mixed quality bovine swept into the path of, well, actually over the top of, Lisa’s precious baby blue sports car!

In less time than it takes to get trampled by stampeding buffalo, they tromped and shredded the vehicle into a self-propelled mass of broken glass and crumpled tinfoil.

Lonnie crawled out, looking at the dented, hoof printed, cow-pied hood, smashed windshield and one working headlight that pointed crazily up into the night sky like a rabid coon hunter. “She’ll never believe it,” Lonnie cried, “She’ll think I fell off the wagon!”

Paco thought a minute and conceded, “Yer right. I was here and I don’t believe it either!”  end_mark

Baxter Black

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