Six days on the road and now I’m gonna make it home tonight
I got a ten forward gears and a Georgia overdrive
I take little white pills and my eyes are open wide…
—Six Days On The Road, Steve Earle and the Dukes
“Dammit, where’d everybody get too,” the old man cussed. He’d been six days on the road and hadn’t seen a human Trucker yet. Nothing but these automated buckets.
Amy, the droid, across from him, asked: “Who you referring too?”
“You know dam well who I’m referring too,” He frowned, nodding at all the empty trucks in the lot out front by the pumps. He sits down, flips his coffee cup up. “Give me pure black, and none of that cream shit from Italy either.” He’s referring to the assortment of Italian crèmes sitting in a bowl across from him with all the fancy flavors: caramel, vanilla, maple… “I hate this. Pretty soon they’ll be replacing you fine folks, too.” He slams his palm down.
Joe the cook pipes up: “Easy there old timer, the merchandise ain’t what it used to be.”
“Well, look at it, nothing but these compu-trucks; ain’t one real driver among them but me.” He shakes his head.
Amy sashays down the counter, her servomech-routine popping in, adjusting spoons and forks as she goes. She comes to Pete, the old man: “Mud’s up.” He looks up at her, squint eyed: “Dam, if she ain’t one of those Andy’s, sure and shooting. Pretty soon they’ll be serving each other.” He laughs, then coughs up phlegm from too much smoking. “Yep, pretty soon I want be running the P&L Route no more.”
“Why’s that, Old Timer?” Cooky asks — not really interested, just to pass the time.
“Why, you know why,” He spits. Cooky just nods at him like one of those spring dolls on a hood, up and down. “Because the P&L, like all the rest is goin’ automated, that’s why. I guess that’ll make me the last human Trucker in these parts. You’ll be serving empty caravans from now on.” His coffee hand twitches, and he spills some on his britches. “Dammit, if that don’t beat sixty. Listen (not sure what to call her) give me a rag, will you Miss Steeleyes.”
“My name’s Amy. I’m model 222. Michigan made.” She buzzes away…
He gumeye’s her: “If I wanted your name, I’d give you one; just give me a rag, and go serve somebody gives a crock, okay.” She throws one at him. “Be careful, will you.” He’s ready to throw his coffee cup at her now, just on principle.
Suddenly the door opens, something walks through, sits down at the booth close to the register, takes its hat off, and smiles at Amy. Amy smiles back. The Old Timer can’t quite make out who it is. Thinks it’s got to finally be another real human Trucker. He shouts: “By god a real man. A human… Dammit, thought I was the last of ’em.”
It turns to him, sourly: “Yes, sir, how do you do today?”
The old man sees his mistake. “Dammit, now their sending them on both sides. Well, Cooky, your shit out of luck now.” He laughs in the direction of the cook.
“Why’s that Old Timer?” He stands leaning against the chrome facing, looking the old man, his metal-flecked eyes shooting sparks.
“Because that ain’t no human, that’s an Andy!” He points toward the new patron.
“Why should that bother me?” Cooky says, sardonically. “I’m one, myself.”
The Old Timer’s eyes grow wide: “Dammit, any humans left this side of the Rockies?” He gets up disgusted, slurps the last of the dregs. Flips a silver dollar on the counter, puts his old Beaver on and waltz’s out of the joint without a word more.
The new patron says to Amy: “What’s his problem, got something against Andy’s? Dammed prejudiced bigot… be glad when they obsolesce those human types. Want you?”
©2016 S.C. Hickman – Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.
Note: Was reading an article on Uber automated Self-Driving Beer truck…