When we left Davenport, we had loaded up the two dancers and two cases of ice cold Schlitz. We used the Ford Super Cab to pull the Chevy on a tow bar. Both trucks were loaded down with equipment. I was in the back seat of the Super Cab with Mandie. Tex had Blondie upfront with him; none of us had any clothes on, just Tex wearing his cowboy hat.
Tex was drunk and high on life, he was having a time. He was driving and throwing empty beer bottles at road signs when we had a blow out on the rear truck, the ’68 Chevy. We rolled both trucks on I-35, southbound. There were tools, clothes and sales literature for our equipment littered all over I-35 for about a mile. Debbie took “pics” with Gary’s 35 mm., from the T/A has we rolled over. We regrouped in Four Corners, Iowa. I rented a motel room for all six of us to rest and get our senses back. Mandy had broken both of her ankles, although we didn’t know it for a couple weeks later, we thought that she had just sprained them. I carried her in my arms every where we went.
The next morning, using one of our hydraulic jacks and a piece of a 2 x 4, I jacked the roof back up on the Ford. We loaded it down with the equipment from both trucks, abandoned the Chevy and drove on down to Kansas City to join the rest of the crew. We were emotionally devastated by the wreck. I knew that I had to be strong in front of every body else. I rented two trucks and started selling two loads a day. I got just as much for the equipment in it’s tangled, busted up condition as I did when it was pristine. I guess you could say I held a “bent and damaged sale.” I kept one truck loaded for back up at the motel so that I could drop a load and then go right back to work in another truck without having to reload. After a rough start, I wanted to get back to work, making money, most of the time I did. Having the girls with us wasn’t that bad. They just laid around the pool all day looking good and getting tanned while we worked. Good women or bad women, they both cost about the same, which is all you got.
Wayne Holland’s gimp crew were staying at the Days Inn in Overland Park, while we were across the street at the Holiday Inn in Lenexa, Kansas. I thought that the nicer accommodations would help to smooth things over. If I dropped a load for a good lick early, I would spend the rest of the day poolside with the girls back at the motel.
The girls were getting homesick, living in motel rooms and eating in restaurants wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. Mandy told me that she wanted money for a plane ticket, she was telling me they wanted to go home. Unbeknownst to me, Tex told Blondie in private that if she wanted fly home she better start turning tricks. She wasn’t smart like Debbie, get the money and run. No, the poor dumb blonde, she actually did it. Women sometimes, make me wonder.
Debbie was just an accomplice to Tex. To me she was a good friend an excellent working partner if we wanted to scam. She and I could go out and skin somebody with the quickness. We didn’t do it for the money though, to us it was just a hobby, sort of like if the situation presents itself, why not? We made good money every time. She was Tex’s girl, but he couldn’t work with her, he would get jealous in the middle of a deal and ruin everything. Next thing you know, we’d be running from the law after he busted a potential mullet up against the head with a beer bottle.
Finally, I had to take Debbie to the airport to fly back to Atlanta early one morning. Tex had just whipped up on her one too many times for me. I bought her a pair of nice boots and a leather jacket to match at one of those “boutiques” at the airport. After all the time I had spent with her and the money we’d made together, I had gotten attached. She was worth it. Debbie was a real “Road Warrior.” I wanted her to look good when she back to her Grannies in spite of that black eye.
Later that same afternoon, I was sitting under an umbrella at the pool eating cantaloupe and watermelon with “Mandy” my new girl. She was one of the “Dallas Dancers” from Louisville. I was just wearing a pair of gym shorts, and flip flops. I had my roll with about 6,000 bucks tucked in my waistband.
Gary and Tex had sold their load of tools. They came up to us by the pool and after I told them to have a seat Gary said, “Hey this place looks like it’s surrounded by cops.” I said “Thanks for the heads up brother, but they ain’t looking for us.” Just about that time Blondie comes running across the lawn, she sat in the last empty chair and then gleefully says, “Hey, I just turned a trick, I got a hundred dollars.” I was surprised but no time to panic, I knew we didn’t have much time. I slid my saucer with the fruit in it, over to her and told her to put the money under the saucer, take a bite of the fruit then slide it over to Gary. She did this and I told Gary, “Hide that bill, do something with it, get it out of here.”
I had worked for the Sheriff’s Office in Jacksonville and I knew about marked money. Tex and Gary got up from their chairs and nonchalantly walked towards the parking lot. Just as they were backing out of the parking spot, a sea of blue uniforms showed up and clamped down on us. They had us blocked at every corner. Gary had rolled the hundred dollar bill up and put it in a Sprite can. As the cops were closing in, he tossed the empty can of Sprite in a trash bin while he was walking away.
Oh yeah, it looked like the bust of the century in Lenexa, Kansas. They took us all in. I hadn’t seen Gary dispose of the money but I was pretty confident that he had by the way they kept asking us where the money was. When we got there we knew right off, this weren’t no Davenport, Iowa. Oh no, we were in Lenexa, Kansas, the home sweet home of law and order.
I was wearing a pair of sporty gym shorts, no shirt, just flip flops and had sixty, one hundred dollar bills rolled up and tucked up in my waistband. It seems like no matter how much I worked or what catastrophes we had to endure, I couldn’t bankroll any more than six thousand. I told the police that I sold tools for a living and that was my money. They checked all sixty of my bills for their hundred dollar bill, none of the serial numbers matched. Without that bill to substantiate it, they had no case. They kept us for hours. They couldn’t prove anything without the marked money. They kept begging us for that hundred dollar bill, but we wouldn’t break weak and tell them. We just stayed in our character; we were truck drivers from South Carolina. We’re just here to empty out a warehouse. I told them that we kept the girls around for eye candy. I said that while we were out working, the girls did what ever they wanted to. It didn’t have anything to do with us.
The lead detective was a female. She was frantic about needing to get that money back because she was responsible for it and until it was returned, they couldn’t get any more. Their boss had this thing he called, “Payroll Deduction.” I even had the feeling that she was coming on to me. I hinted that it might could be “arranged,” if she were to let us all go. She said, “Before I do that, I want to know one thing. You guys travel the country selling tools, with pretty gals and carry thousand of dollars, well answer me this, are you hiring?”
They let us go, after everyone was safe, I took her to the garbage can, rummaged around and found the Sprite can with the rolled up 100 dollar bill in it, and gave her back the “marked” money. I even took her out to dinner, lamb chops with mint jelly.
The next morning, after I left her house, I flew Mandy and Blondie back to Louisville, I’d had it with road whores. Two days later, Mandy shows back up with both feet in a cast, then, she married Rodney, one of the gimps in the Macon crew. Go figure. Tex found my stash of semi-nude pictures of Mandy with me, while she was wearing some of her Dallas Cheerleader outfits and he flashed them around the wedding party and even sold a few, I think. Rodney Stone out of Macon, Ga., If you read this, it was just business, if you would have asked me, I would have given you the “Pom Poms” for free.