She's Nothing Like Any Woman


She's standing on the shoulder of the road in a downpour, wearing a white, mud-splattered wedding dress, black cowboy boots and a beat-to-shit, straw, cowboy hat, but doesn't look much like a cowboy.  She looks like one of those anorexic runway models so fried on smack she can't make it half way down the runway without falling on her face.  The kind that ends up modeling brassieres for Sears.  And judging by the look of the coal black river of mascara that's pouring down her cheeks, she must have been crying for a long time.  But what do I know?  I'm not a marriage counselor.  I'm a truck driver, a day off-schedule, hauling a load of Black Angus T-bones on wheels to Chicago.  It's none of my business.  Something's telling me that I should just put the peddle to the metal and slam that hammer down, but I can't leave a gorgeous, drop-dead knockout like that alone, crying her eyes out in the cold, Wyoming rain.
      When I pull over she hikes up her wedding dress and crawls on up the ladder.  "What took you so long," she says, in some kind of French accent with a west Texas twang.  She's strange, but cute, and I can use the company.  I ask, against my better judgement, what her name is.  She reaches over, peeks up under my Stetson and she says, "What difference does eet make?"  She switches over to some kind of Spanish accent. I take a quick glance at her.  I can't tell where the hell's she's from, but I've seen that look of hers before—on the faces of soldiers that know they're most likely going home in a box.  She switches to what sounds like a half-baked, French accent.  "Cowboys are lazy and reckless," she says, "and most of zeem are crazy, so tell me, why eeze it that I like zeem like zat?"  How should I know? is all I'm thinking.
      I'm half-asleep in the truck's sleeper, listening to the mad cows in the trailer bawl.  Don't know what's worse, listening to a woman or a cow cry.  Carmen Miranda's up front stretching herself out cross both seats with nothing on but the Des Moines weather report.  If she takes anything else off I don't know what I'll do.  She's nothing like any woman I've ever met on the road.
      She tells me her name.  She says it's Alice and that she's from Brazil.  But I don't believe her.  She looks more like an Esmeralda to me.  Reading my mind, she says, "You know those accents I've been using?  They're something I put on to keep undercover INS agents from figuring out where I'm from."  And then she gives me the evil eye like she's expecting maybe I'll crack and confess.  I think she talks like that because she's a spaced-out, pill-popping psycho that hustles free rides to Chicago from suckers.  That's what I think.  But I don't say anything.  She is awfully cute.

      Three years later I'm hauling a load of Herefords from Denver to Omaha and I see this pretty, little, tear-stained girl, wearing a ripped, mud-smeared wedding dress, crying on the shoulder of the road.  I can't believe it.  She's looking at me like a whipped puppy that expects me to run her over.  I goose the brakes a bit when I get this tap on my arm.  "Don't even think about it," Alice says.  
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