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Big Joe and Phantom 309 (Waits Tom)

well you see I happened to be back on the east coast a few years back tryin' to make me a buck like everybody else, well you know times get hard and well I got down on my luck and I got tired of just roamin' and bummin' around, so I started thumbin' my way back to my old hometown you know I made quite a few miles in the first couple of days, and I figured I'd be home in a week if my luck held out this way but you know it was the third night I got stranded, it was out at a cold lonely crossroads, and as the rain came pouring down, I was hungry, tired freezin', caught myself a chill, but it was just about that time that the lights of an old semi topped the hill you should of seen me smile when I heard them air brakes come on, and I climbed up in that cab where I knew it'd be warm at the wheel well at the wheel sat a big man I'd have to say he must of weighed 210 the way he stuck out a big hand and said with a grin "Big Joe's the name and this here rig's called Phantom 309" well I asked him why he called his rig such a name, but he just turned to me and said "Why son don't you know this here rig'll be puttin' 'em all to shame, why there ain't a driver on this or any other line for that matter that's seen nothin' but the taillights of Big Joe and Phantom 309" So we rode and talked the better part of the night and I told my stories and Joe told his and I smoked up all his Viceroys as we rolled along he pushed her ahead with 10 forward gears man that dashboard was lit like the old Madam La Rue pinball, a serious semi truck until almost mysteriously, well it was the lights of a truck stop that rolled into sight Joe turned to me and said "I'm sorry son but I'm afraid this is just as far as you go You see I kinda gotta be makin' a turn just up the road a piece," but I'll be damned if he didn't throw me a dime as he threw her in low and said "Go on in there son, and get yourself a hot cup of coffee on Big Joe" and when Joe and his rig pulled off into the night, man in nothing flat they was clean outa sight so I walked into the old stop and ordered me up a cup of mud sayin' "Big Joe's settin' this dude up" but it got so deathly quiet in that place, you could of heard a pin drop as the waiter's face turned kinda pale, I said "What's the matter did I say somethin' wrong?" I kinda said with 8a half way grin. He said "No son, you see It'll happen every now and then. You see every driver in here knows Big Joe, but let me tell you what happened just 10 years ago, yea it was 10 years ago out there at that cold lonely crossroads where you flagged Joe down, and there was a whole bus load of kids and they were just comin' from school and they were right in the middle when Joe topped the hill, and could have been slaughtered except Joe turned his wheels, and he jacknifed, and went into a skid, and folks around here say he gave his life to save that bunch of kids, and out there at that cold lonely crossroads, well they say it was the end of the line for Big Joe and Phantom 309, but it's funny you know, cause every now and then yea every now and then, when the moon's holdin' water, they say old Joe will stop and give you a ride, and just like you, some hitchhiker will be comin' by" "So here son," he said to me, "get yourself another cup of coffee, it's on the house, you see I want you to hang on to that dime, yea you hang on to that dime as a kind of souvenir, a souvenir of Big Joe and Phantom 309"