“If you can’t be the winner, be the winner’s best friend.”
Maxwell Danklos has a fine philosophy and a reputation for getting along with everybody. But that was all before he ran into Cletus Copperfield.
What happens when these two find themselves on the same expedition in the Allagash wilderness? And, having a feisty female in the group makes thing even more competitive.
But it’s not just the men who are at odds. Two of the women clash over environmental issues.
Allagash Triangle, by Henry Youndt will take you on an unforgettable adventure along the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
The boss drew a turquoise folder of documents from his top drawer and reverently laid it on the desktop. “I want you to have this in memory of my son.”
The truck driver craned his neck to read the label on the file. ALLAGASH.
“It’s a collection of maps and information that he compiled about the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, in Maine.” The boss pushed the folder toward his employee.
The driver picked it up and leafed through the assortment of brochures, maps and magazine articles; then looked back at his boss. “I’ll treasure it always.”
“Have you ever been to the Allagash, Max?”
The trucker shook his head. “It’s on my bucket list.”
“It was on Roger’s bucket list too. He never got there.”
“He’s gone too soon; he was a good man.”
“He had a high regard for you, Max. You gave him a lot more than whitewater skills. You made him into a genuine sportsman. You taught him to respect others—showed him how to get along with people who are impossible to get along with.”
“I hoped that one day he would be my son-in-law.”
“I know. My wife and I were hoping for that too. We were ready to welcome Michelle as a member of our family. Then she disappeared and we all assumed she was dead. Now she’s alive and he’s dead.”
Max shook his head and blinked away a tear. “We never know about tomorrow, do we?”
“Take care of your bucket list, Max.”
Maxwell Danklos glanced in the mirrors of his eighteen-wheeler as he rolled up to the intersection. That Hummer better slow down or he’s going to run right into the back of my trailer. He took a quick glance at his instrument panel to be sure his right turn signal was flashing as he swung wide then began the hard turn to the right. As the tractor started the turn, he noticed the Hummer swerve onto the shoulder. Max slammed on the airbrakes. The rig came to a stop in a jackknifed position, blocking the intersection from almost every direction. He stared briefly at the Hummer which had screeched to a halt alongside the trailer. The driver was making obscene gestures with both hands. Shifting into a low gear, Max inched forward, closer and closer to the perfectly polished vehicle. The Hummer didn’t back away. Max was briefly tempted to see what his trailer wheels would do to the chrome-covered obstacle, but he pressed the clutch and pulled the trailer brake lever.
Drumming his fingers on the steering wheel as he waited, Max felt a dull pain in his chest. Nothing serious. It was just the location of the pain that caught his attention. He was in great health. In fact, he had just recently retaken his physical for his CDL and they found no issues. He tucked his chin and let out a loud belch. Like usual, the pain vanished.
He gazed at his watch. He was way behind schedule already. I’m just a little less than two hours from home. But if I don’t make it home within the next two hours, I’ll be in violation of the law. If it weren’t for that stupid law, I would have pulled over at the last rest area and taken a short nap. But I have to make it all the way home within my fourteen hour window. This just sucks!
Max watched the traffic stacking up on the side roads coming into the intersection. A young lady in a red minivan on the left was beating her fists on the steering wheel as she looked every direction for a way out of the jam. On the highway ahead, five cars were waiting to turn left. He watched the cars lining up behind his rig as he studied the Hummer. It still hadn’t moved an inch. Max reached for the gearshift lever and shifted into reverse. Slowly and carefully he began backing out of his jackknifed position. The cars behind him began backing up to give him room. The Hummer remained stationary. As soon as Max had backed far enough to clear a passage on the right, the Hummer driver gunned it forward. At the same time Max saw the red minivan coming across in front of him. He reached for the air horn, but it was too late. There was a loud crash as the Hummer spun the minivan around and rammed it into the first car waiting to turn left. The Hummer careened to the right and crashed into a utility pole. Max cursed. “How am I ever gonna make it home in two hours?”
Scrambling down from his cab, Max headed for the minivan. The Hummer driver was already walking around his vehicle, inspecting the damage while talking on a cell phone. Probably talking to his lawyer. Max thought about going over, ripping the phone from his ear and spitting a few obscenities in his face—tell him he got just what he deserves. But their vehicles hadn’t made any contact, better if the drivers didn’t either. He refocused on the minivan where the young lady was wrestling with her car door.
”You okay?” Max asked, forcing the door open.
“I think so,” the lady sobbed. “But my daughter is waiting to be picked up at school.”
“You want to use my cell phone?” Max offered. Not waiting for an answer he shifted his attention to an elderly couple emerging from the other car. “You folks okay?”
“We’re fine,” the old man snarled. “Why don’t you get your damn truck out of the intersection?”
“I’d love to as soon as they clear enough space for me to make the turn.”
“Some truck driver you are.” The man shook his head in disgust.
Turning back to the lady in the minivan, Max noticed she had retrieved a cell phone from somewhere and was busy punching numbers. He paced about, trying not to eavesdrop until she ended the call and began exchanging information with the elderly couple. The Hummer driver still interacted with no one except whoever he had on his cell phone. Whenever anyone looked his direction, he turned his attention to his Hummer.
A mild April breeze swirled across the intersection and Max caught a whiff of diesel smoke. He glanced up at the brown haze hanging over the city of Harrisburg and pictured a clear blue sky over his home in the mountains. It looks like I’m going to be here for quite a while. I’d better go turn my engine off before they start blaming me for all this air pollution.
As his engine rumbled to a stop, Max crossed his arms over the steering wheel and rested his head his arms. His mind drifted ahead three weeks to the canoe trip he was eagerly anticipating. His friends, Jim and Gina Martin, had invited him to join a one week expedition on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Maine—something he had long wanted to do. He wished he were there instead of here. A week away from all the idiots on the road would give him ample time to step back and contemplate the direction life was taking him.
He had always enjoyed truck driving, even with the increased regulations. If it weren’t for all the idiots like this Hummer driver, he would enjoy it even more. He loved interacting with all kinds of people in a variety of places and he cherished the hours of solitude. But the solitude he experienced in the cab of his truck was very different from the loneliness he felt in his empty house.
He had no desire to spend more time at home alone. He could get a pet—a golden retriever, maybe. Or, he could spend more time with his daughter and grandchildren. But he wouldn’t want to move in with them. Something needs to change, but what?