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Directed by Colin Johnson

With Jess Thomas, Megan Luis & Andre Abrahamians

Characters:

Big Joe/John: A jolly man. Loves to be a trucker. Loves the freedom of the road- it’s his life. He’s gotta gruffness to him that would deter most people, but it’s that charm that grabs the attention of the rest.

I: A young and failing door-to-door salesperson, struggling to decide to pack up and go home. They’re not too sure they’ve made the right decision.

Margie: A classic diner Waitress, she has the rhinestone glasses, “Honey, Darlin’” , makes you wish she was your mother she’s so nice air- but she’s like any other server in the world- in it for the cash.

Scene 1

Setting: The cab of a big-rig truck. Joe and I are sitting and talking and putting out their viceroys.

Big Joe:

So there I was facing the udder side of life, literally, or I could take to the road and be free- sittin’ atop a steely beast with 18 wheels and 660 plus horsepower. (Big Joe revs the engine) Oooooohh, that’s pretty! Look at that dashboard!

I:

It’s lit up like a pinball machine! (They share there moment and Joe lets off the the throttle) Yeah, I could see how driving a semi would be better than dairy farming.

Big Joe:

Whatta ‘bout you, kid? How’d you end up out here on the road?

I:

Uh, well…I was kind of in the same spot. I was working at a grocery store though. A lot less Bovine insemination involved. (They share a laugh) I was tired of seeing the same people in the same stupid town, so I bought into this bullshit knife-selling scheme, packed up the car and drove it until it didn’t drive anymore.

Big Joe:

Like I said-

Big Joe and I:

Never trust a Chevy. (They share another laugh)

Big Joe:

Sounds like you outta get another rig.

I:

Yeah, well, the knives aren’t really selling like french fries, so I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Plus…plus I just found out that my brother’s not doin’ so well.

Big Joe:

Uh-huh.

I:

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him. We were really close as kids, but- you know, life…

Big Joe:

Happens. And then sometimes it don’t.

I:

Yep. You got any family? You know, that you’re close to?

Big Joe:

Naw. Had a brother. But that’s a doozey of a story. And I don’t wanna get Phantom 309’s engine all revved up.

I:

Phantom 309. Damn that’s a good name. How’d you come up with that?

Big Joe:

Don’t you know, child? (Changing gears- literally and figuratively) This here rig be puttin’ ‘em all to shame. There ain’t a driver on this line, or any other for that matter, that ain’t seen nothing but the taillights of Big Joe and Phantom 309. (He shifts again and the engine roars with speed as he howls) My life’s the road, kid! All my worries pass me by at 75 miles per hour. Like a ghost in the night I swoosh past towns while people dream of the things I deliver.

I:

You ever head home?

Big Joe:

Every year or so. Headed there now. Every once in awhile duty calls and the road slithers on past. There ain’t nothing wrong with stoppin’ to clean up your mess once in awhile. But a man such as myself can’t stick around for too long.

I:

You gotta another viceroy?

Big Joe:

(Holding up an empty pack) Nope. We smoked ‘em like a turkey. But I gotta be taken a turn just up ahead anyways. Here (Pulls out a dime) get yourself a cup of mud here at this diner. Tell ‘em Big Joe’s settin’ you up.

I:

Alright, I will. (The truck comes to a stop. I gets out) Thanks, Joe.

Big Joe:

Alright now don’t turn into a rain dog in the middle of the parkin’ lot. I’m late for a date with fate. To the road!

I:

To the road!
(Lights down as the engine roars into the distance)

Scene 2

Setting: The classic Truck-Stop Diner.

Margie:

Hey there, Honey, how you doin’ this evenin’?

I:

I feel good. Real Good.

Margie: Alright then, put your bags down and take a seat. You need a menu, Darlin’ or you know whatchya want? (She’s already instinctively grabbing a mug of coffee)

I:

A cup of Mud. Big Joe’s settin’ this one up. (Dead silence as Margie stares) What’s the matter did I say something wrong?

Margie:

Did you say, Big Joe?”
I:

Yeah, you know him?

Margie:

What’s the name of his rig? (As she pours the cup and gives it to him)

I:

Phantom 309. The rig that’s puttin’ ‘em all to shame. You outta see that dashboard light up! Like a pinball machine-

Margie:

You saw the dashboard of Phantom 309?

I:

I’ve been staring at it for the last 8 hours. Big Joe gave me a lift outta Putnam.

Margie:

John! We got ‘nother one in here says he’s seen Big Joe!

(Big John enters in Cooks garb. I is stunned by the resemblance to Big Joe- like a ghost)

I:

Joe?

Big John:

You saw Big Joe?

I:

Aren’t-yeah. Yeah, I’ve been sittin’ with him for the last 8 hours. (John and Margie take a look at one another)

I:

You know you look an awful lot like him?

Big John:

(Darting a look back at I) I outta. He was my brother. I:

I:

Oh, I get it? He mentioned you. He said it was a “doozey” of a story.

Margie:

But he didn’t tell you?

I:

Tell me what?

Big John:

It was about ten years ago, just about a mile from here. See there was a bunch of kids comin’ home from a game. Their school bus blew a tire and began to cross lanes, headed for a 600’ drop. ‘Ole Joe, he wrenched his rig into a jack-knife. The rig took a good knock and stopped the bus dead like a cue ball. Big Joe and Phantom 309 fell like an eight ball into the side pocket midgame- too early.

Margie:

They say he gave his life for those kids.

I:

But- I was just-

Big Joe:

It’ll happen now and then. A night like this. Seems ‘Ole Joe will pick up some young hitchhiker and get ‘em where they need to go. Usually steer em in the direction of home, ‘fore somethin’ like that happens to them.

I:

I gotta get-I’m gonna head out now. Thanks. Here’s a dime for the coffee. (I starts to leave)

Big John:

Hold on, youngster. You go ahead and hold on to this. (Tosses the dime back to I) I want you to keep it, as a souvenir of Big Joe and Phantom 309. (I leaves in a panicked rush)

Big Joe:

10 Cents- and a legend is born. (Big Joe and Margie share a laugh)

Margie:

I don’t know why you mess with the youngin’s like that.

Big Joe:

I don’t know why you always play along, but I love it! (They share another laugh)

Margie:

You keep throwin $20 on top of your tip and I’ll play along everytime.

Big Joe:

Ahh- this one wanted to go home. I just helped ‘em make the right choice. And I got to spread the legend of “Big Joe and Phantom 309.”

Margie:

You been spendin’ too much time at the wheel, Joe. You want the usual?

Big Joe:

(Singing) “Eggs and sausage, with a side of toast- coffee and a roll.”

Lights Out

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