Nothing Is Permanent – A Southern karma Story
Jack slept well. He was a proud man and pronounced to others that he slept like the dead, drawling “somebody could have cut me in half, and I wouldn’t know nothing about it”. Next thing now was the watery cup of coffee he liked, but first he needed to get past the pile of crap in his trailer’s walkway. A constant reminder that his life was in the toilet. He had nothing going on. No money, no pussy, no life. Jack dreamed big and he wanted to get the hell out of the ranch to experience big city life. Can’t say Jack wasn’t trying hard, but mostly his efforts to ditch his miserable life met with constant hitting of the head against a wall. He looked out the window at his seven pathetic cows, his sole possessions, sadly infected with Johne’s disease and bovine Trichomoniasis. How many of them were infected, Jack lamented? No way to tell, but he knew deep down most of his pathetic herd was doomed. All of them? He didn’t dare give it more thought, and began scheming of a way to foist them on to some other poor sucker and get what he could. Hell, they were at least in good enough condition to sell to his neighbor, Derrick, his childhood dumb ass buddy, the perfect sucker to inherit his pedigree cows. So he called him up and invited him over to dangle his offer.
After a few words over the phone, Derrick stared out at the pond in front of his ranch home, fuming to himself, “That dumb fuck is trying to sell me his stupid sick cows. Well, I’ll teach that son-of-a-bitch a lesson right now!” He walked over to his garage and pulled out a tarp covering a brand spanking new state of the art remodeled red ’55 Chevy 3100 – a real beauty! A gorgeous dream truck! But one with a dark secret, a fatal flaw Derrick was not about to let Jack in on. Only Derrick knew that the truck had been submerged in salt water for over week, causing severe damage to the vehicle. And then there was this other little problem with a defective steering wheel and transmission – the main reason he wanted to get rid of the truck. Derrick was still pretty pissed at the motherfucker he found on the Internet who had foisted it on him, an embarrassment and sore point he kept to himself, not daring to tell anyone, but now his brilliant scheme was forming in his pea-brain skull: “Why, I’ll pass this piece of shit on to Jack and in return get his cows and sell ’em for meat since the cows don’t show signs of disease yet. No one will ever know or say anything while they’re munchin’ munching on them burgers.”
So Derrick drove his hot Chevy over to Jack’s place. “How’s things goin’, buddy?” he asked. “Listen, Jack, I’d like to make you an offer. Instead of giving you money, how about I give you something better for your cows. I’ll trade you my red ’55 Chevy 3100 straight up for your cows.” Now, Jack knew his cows were prized animals and well worth their weight in cold hard cash, but one look at that shiny “new” truck and Jack was sold on Derrick’s deal. “I know you want the truck more than money, I just know you, Jack.”
“Well, where the heck did you get this truck, Derrick?”
“I bought it online from a guy in New Orleans, but it doesn’t matter, just give me the cows and it’s all yours. I’m just doing this because we’re childhood friends, Jack”.
Now Jack really knew Derrick was the dumbass he always thought he was. Everybody and their brother knew half the cows in the county were diseased and for him not to even ask for their bill of health just goes to prove what an idiot he is, thought Jack.
“Are you serious Derrick?” he asked, immediately falling in love with the Chevy like she was some hot pretty thing showing him her voluptuous cleavage. A certain side of Jack also thought Derrick was doing this, though, because he loved him as a childhood friend even though he thought he was being plain dumb. “Darn it; consider it a done deal,” said Jack, neglecting to ask anything about the truck’s condition. Oh, man, thought Jack, figuratively rubbing his hands together in glee – already with big plans for the Red Lady – as in real serious big city plans. Jack got the keys from Derrick, shook his grimy hand, and hit the county road like a cowboy riding a frisky horse. Derrick rounded up his sick cows and headed home, a devious smile on his face.
Jack tore off in his Red Lady down the county road like a crazy bullet against the wind as Bob Seger blasted classic soft rock from the speakers. The coup of acquiring the truck was surely a sign sent from on high that his life was about to change forever. Jack imagined that when he finally owned one of these hot remodeled beauties he’d be rich beyond his wildest imaginings. So now that his time had come and things were falling into place, he began planning his new life in the city as the Chevy cruised some serious county road. With the magic truck a new job or a new business would surely come because the truck, he believed, was his lucky charm that would enable his business to grow, he’d be promoted, even if things started off slow. Once he had enough money, he’d start a second business. Flush with new money pouring in, he dreamed of all the woman who’d be buzzing around him like bees to pollen. He though, I’ll have so much pussy around me that it will be hard picking the best one. I’ll marry the prettiest of the bunch and have a big wedding and buy a big house. Then I’ll have a family and my beautiful wife, and she will give me a beautiful son. But he had no idea what he’d name his beautiful boy.
He stared down the valley into the vastness of the land with its rolling hills and cows grazing peacefully and the great Tennessee River with its majestic curves. That’s it, Jack thought – I’ll name him River. Well, deep in thought, Jack was not watching his speed and suddenly turned ninety degrees to avoid slamming into a bridge. But, luck would have it that a cow happened to be parked right in the middle of the road, just standing there placidly chewing a cud, looking at the truck as if nothing mattered.
“What da fuck!” Jack jerked and quickly tried making a hard turn to avoid the cow and protect the Chevy from the dumb cow, but at that moment he heard a loud pop coming from inside the engine area – it was the steering wheel becoming disconnected from the now uncontrollable truck. Jack hit the brakes with all his muscle power but physics proved victorious as his Red Lady skidded uncontrollably towards the bridge’s steel guardrail.
The Red Lady instantly became airborne and began her 234 feet descent to explode head first into a bolder at the base of the bridge. Time became warped. Seconds turned into years, as Jack’s whole life flashed before him, his mind rewinding and racing to relive long-lost memories. First, as a young child being cared by his mother. Then he remembered Derrick and all the things they did together as children and later as teenagers. He loved the world now more than he ever loved anything, but his time was rapidly vanishing in disproportion to his increasing love for the world. In these final moments, Jack saw everything with a clarity never experienced before. He desperately wanted to go back and apply his new revelation and do it better next time around . . . but gravity is infallible, unconcerned with Jack’s worldly desires, and spiraling out of control, with a loud crash followed by a flaming ball of fire, the Red Lady plowed into a jumble of boulders at the bottom of the bridge.
Later that night, Derrick tuned in to the local news and saw the report. Struck with disbelief and grief over the accident, he lapsed into a helpless fetal position on the couch. Outside, the crickets chirped in the bushes but only a muffled sound could be heard breaking the night’s silence.
Image credit: Old timey Chevorlet
Edited by the Gambolin’ Man