Tom with kids in Kuwait

Tom with kids in Kuwait
Tom with kids in Kuwait

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Buck Ninety-Nine

On a hot day in August,
I made up my mind.
And I dumped her at Denny’s
For a buck ninety-nine.

I was stopped near Atlanta
For a lube and a meal.
Not much on the menu
Had any appeal.

While I stared at the specials
Not looking around
I got kicked in the foot
And someone sat down.

Across the booth with a tattered cap on
Was a face that I knew.
His name was elusive
But that soon would come too.

A friend from the past,
Whose name I’d forgot.
Had just left his rig
In the south parking lot.

We’d driven our trucks
For about the same time.
I knew something of his life,
He knew something of mine.

We talked for a while,
And then like a knife.
His question cut through me.
He said, “How’s the wife?”

For years I’d kept quiet
Needed no one to tell.
Should I answer his question?
Was he willing to dwell?

He read my thoughts
As he ordered his meal.
Can’t unload ‘til tomorrow.
I’ve got time to kill.

I talked through our dinner
And lost track of the time.
About how I dumped her at Denny’s
For a buck ninety-nine.

The sum of a lifetime
Is hard to make clear.
It’s not all in order,
But, I’ll just start it here.

It was a hot day in August,
And I was makin’ good time.
But she was rantin’ and ravin’
With no reason or rhyme.

So outside of Dallas on I-35
I stopped for diesel with the morning sunshine.
I’d been drivin’ for hours
Hearin’ what’s on her mind.

I’d offered for years
To take her on the road.
When she finally joined me,
It was her chance to unload.

She said the house didn’t matter,
The dishes could wait.
Some bills we weren’t payin’
And the others were late.

She’d throw a big tantrum
If my voice did inflect.
That we’d be better applyin’
My weekly paycheck.

To mundane essentials
Like food, house, and the cars.
And just not so much
For magazines on the stars.

She’d have none of it.
She’d made up her mind.
I was cold and mean-hearted,
These things to remind.

So on a hot day in August,
I made up my mind.
And I dumped her at Denny’s
For a buck ninety-nine.

Now don’t go a thinkin’
She had lost her good looks.
She could still turn a head.
She was one for the books.

But TV had ruined her,
Those talk shows and all.
Phil, Oprah, and Sally,
And their outrageous calls.

I’d come home from the road
While she was tuned in
To daytime TV’s
Definition of Sin.

Now of course I was guilty.
There was no other plea.
You just can’t contend
With what you see on TV.

Each day I fell victim,
To another disease.
Contracted while working,
And unknown to me.

I was heartless, uncaring,
And sometimes ignored
The things she most valued
She said I abhorred.

I tried to provide her a home,
Safe and sound.
But her truth comes from the cable,
When I’m nowhere around.

She’s been to the doctor
Now hundreds of times
Because of smog in the air
In South Caroline.

That we live Ohio
Doesn’t matter you see.
If it wasn’t true,
It wouldn’t be on TV.

She says I’m the problem,
I’m the one that’s unclean.
I need to work more at home,
And I have to go green.

I’ve been run in circles,
Hoping something would work.
When I think I can please her,
She changes networks.

She takes much offense
And makes a big scene
If I even suggest
Her shows seek the extreme.

Travel with him,
That’s what the show said.
But her headphones and TV
Kept her company instead.

Oh she traveled with me,
In body at least.
But with a 12 amp TV
And a video feast.

She sought the tube’s counsel
‘Til the early morn’s light.
Then my sins she recounted,
As I merged to the right.

Now the gal that I married
Looks a lot like she does.
But the gal that I married
Liked who I was.

This woman’s a stranger.
Though her last name is mine.
So I dumped her at Denny’s
For a Buck Ninety-Nine.

Yes, I left her in Dallas
And Drove on without Shame.
She had money for breakfast,
And she still had my name.

Now don’t think me cold hearted,
You just relax.
For the love that she gave me,
I through in the tip and the tax.

Many years later
It felt good to be free.
Until the truck stop cafe
Was playing daytime TV.

Bigger than life
I saw that woman of mine,
On a show with some others,
Dumped for a buck Ninety-Nine.

At one time I loved her,
We reveled in youth.
But she traded our years,
For that electronic truth.

While others complain
‘Bout not makin’ a dime.
I made the deal of the century
For a buck ninety-nine.

My friend nodded agreement,
At the choice I had made.
He understood fully
The price I had paid.

Then told me a saga
Filled with tears and regret.
Of his wife’s new lover,
His name’s Internet.

What was I to say?
My friend wanted advice.
So I told him: Act quickly,
Before they jack up the price!

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