Friday, July 9, 2010

Why would anyone want to go trucking?

Well, it looks as though Trucking in English really will be about trucking again very shortly, as I have managed to produce a tolerable test drive and am almost employed again. The paperwork and other bits of admin begin next week, with an eta of the week after that for actually being back in the cab. 13 speed gearboxes and 75 foot trailers seem to be similar to bicycles in that it all comes flooding back. So, it would be timely to finish the tale of the end of my business career, it sort of explains a pressing need to drive off into the sunset for a living.

Mr Hotshot came back into our lives, by way of a bizarre phone call, six months after he was evicted. The caller introduced himself as a lawyer from Las Vegas. His client had been my guest and he would be obliged if I could supply the dates that this family had arrived and left, it would assist with an alibi. My first thought was that the cheeky sod really did think he could sue me so I turned politely awkward. I advised that his client already had all that paperwork to hand, that I had no way of knowing whether I really was speaking with a lawyer and that Canada had laws about this sort of thing and I wouldn’t be able to disclose details of any business dealings to a third party. I was very sorry not to be able to help of course, but my hands were tied by regulations.

He was charmingly understanding, absolutely saw my predicament, explained that his client was unable to access paperwork at this time and enquired ‘how would it be if I subpoenaed you?’ I thought fast. Beginning with ‘Oh shit, this is real.’ Then I realised that a subpoena would give me some information to work with to find out what the hell was going on. So, I agreed that a subpoena would be most helpful in enabling me to comply with his wishes without breaking any Canadian laws; and tried to shake off the feeling that I had walked into one of those episodes of Law and Order. Somebody could be yelling ‘cease and desist!’ at any moment.

The subpoena arrived by email. Everyone who knew us was agog by then. Ben headed off to school with the task of asking his law teacher whether an emailed subpoena from another country was valid (he has had an odd education that boy) and I set about an internet search to try and track down some information. Ably assisted by TTJ (The Terrifying Julia; who markets my scribblings and is completely unafraid of cold calling) we tracked down the right court authority and found their website. We entered the case number and, hey presto, lots of helpful stuff. Our blustery chum was the defendant, so at least nobody was suing me. I also learned that he was incarcerated. Presumably this would be why he had no access to his papers, but what on earth had he done? The court listings didn’t tell me that. Mucky movies and bootleggings were what we had him pegged for, did they really send you to jail for that in Nevada? And what was I supplying an alibi for?

Ben returned from school with the helpful advice that an emailed subpoena was ok for information, the only time they had to chase you down the street and hit you with it was if you had to appear in person. He appeared a tad disappointed, he’d been watching too much Law and Order too. The subpoena demanded ‘all paperwork pertaining to their stay’ so I dutifully printed off another full set of paid invoices, and happily added the eviction notice to the pile. After all, I would have been in breach of the subpoena if I’d kept it back wouldn’t I? I hoped that whatever defence was supposedly being propped up by my input would be well and truly stuffed by the character implications of the eviction.

We all remained curious though. On a whim one day when Theresa (unterrifying unless you upset her) was over for coffee we Googled local newspapers in the Las Vegas area. Finding a suitable periodical, we typed his name into their archive. Ben walked into the kitchen as we began to read and watched our faces turn white.

She had divorced him. He had broken into her new home and, finding her with a new boyfriend, had taken a kitchen knife to the pair of them; killing him and putting her in hospital. He was awaiting trial on charges including first degree and attempted murder.

Now this will sound silly, but that is when my nightmares began. We were perfectly safe but I had flashbacks to that confrontation in my kitchen. To my deliberate provocation of a furious bully who had the capacity to take kitchen knives to people. (Allegedly.) It finally hit me…the level of trust I was putting in my ability to judge people when I allowed strangers into our home for money. An ability that was clearly flawed. I’d harboured a guy for six months who was now serving two life sentences in Vegas. And I still didn’t know what I’d supplied an alibi for.

We laughed about it of course. And we revisited all those wise motherly lectures about bullies. ‘Son, remember your Mum telling you it’s always better to stand up to people? Well, sometimes she’s just totally bloody wrong you know.’ But my B&B days were over. I had to sell to recover, thankfully not to Fay. It was two years before I could bear to have any guests in my new home. There will be a houseparty of visitors from England this Christmas and I think that means I am ok again, but when asked why I want to drive trucks for a living, I generally reply ‘I’m sick of people’.

It is only partly a joke.

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