Parable Road #2 (A Voice on the CB)

Kelvin Bueckert
5 min readMay 30, 2024





The road spirals down the ragged edges of the mountain as Ghost Riders in the Sky by Johnny Cash blasts from the speakers in the cab of my semi.

The rush of speed passes as I reach the bottom of the valley.

What a rush!

Gnarled trees tower over me, rock cliffs line the highway, and just ahead, the narrow road spirals onward and upward.

The engine labors as I shift into another gear, preparing the big rig for another hard climb toward a peak high above.

“Sledgehammer, are you out there?”

The CB radio crackles to life so I reach over and turn down Johnny Cash.

“Yeah Paul, where are you?” I say into the black mic.

“I’m just passing Dead Man’s Pass.”

“So, you’re ahead of me.”

“Ya, I guess so…say, ya got time ta listen to a story?”

“I’m a truck driver. I got nothing but time. What’s going on?”

“I just feel like I’ve hit rock bottom, you know what I mean?”

“Yeah, I’ve just been there. Now, I’m trying to get out of it.”

“I mean in life…I just don’t know what to do anymore. I cashed out of the family business and hit the road…and now, well, I’m about to lose everything.”

“Why?” The engine snorts as it strains to pull the load I’m pulling up the steep grade. I reach over to shift down another gear.

“Oh, you know…the usual. Lot lizards, booze, maybe a little gambling.” A harsh laugh crackles. “Who am I kidding? There was a lot of gambling…now, now, they say they’re gonna repossess the truck when I get in. I don’t know what I’m gonna do.”

“Could you go back to your father?”

The semi labors over the edge of a mountain peak.

“He says I could but…I don’t know, we had some pretty harsh words before I took off.”

There is a moment of silence as I take in the scene before me. Another valley stretches out before me. The road travels straight down the side of it like a grey ribbon in a sea of green trees.

“You okay Ben?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m just about to start down another doozy.”

“Alright, have fun.”

“I will,” I say as I shift into another gear as we start to pick up speed down the side of the mountain. Going downhill is always a lot easier it seems…but going downhill doesn’t get a person to the top.

“You know, maybe you should go back home and settle things,” I say as the running of the truck stabilizes for the moment.

“My old man would have a heart attack if I did that.”

“You don’t know that unless you go back.”

“I don’t know if I’m strong enough ta do somethin like that.”

The road is rough and full of holes. The semi begins to shake. I press the brake, trying to slow things down.

Nothing happens so I hit the pedal again. Harder this time.

The brake pedal slams into the floor beneath my boot.

A brake line must have busted.

I grip the steering wheel with one hand as I shift down with the other. The gears grind with rebellion as I struggle to keep the truck on the road.

Whatever I do, I keep my eyes away from the canyon just to the right of me.

“You okay out there Ben?”

The voice on the CB crackles again but I can’t afford to take any attention off the road.

I am going way faster than I’d like to.

I struggle to shift down again. It is hard. The truck has a lot of weight on it. All that weight is pulling the rig down the hill.

Faster and faster…

The shaking is making it difficult to keep the vehicle going straight. I can’t help but wonder if I’m going to make it through this.

“You okay Ben? Please answer me.”

The voice is more urgent now but I can’t answer him. A curve lies ahead. I hope and pray for salvation as the vehicle hurtles toward it.

For a moment, it feels like we’re going to fly over the edge of the curve and into the chasm behind it.

Then, finally, we reach the bottom of the valley and the rig begins to lose speed.

I sigh with relief.

“Ben! Ben! Are you okay? Answer me.”

“Don’t worry. I’m alright, but it was dicey for a while,” I respond. “The brake line must’ve blown.”

“I’m glad ya made it through. That’s a tough road you’re on.”

“It looks like it’ll straighten out now.”

“Yeah, it should be okay for a bit. There’s a truck stop just ahead of ya.”

“Ok. Hopefully I get there in one piece.”

“Say, Ben.”


“Ya really think I should go back?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“Ya don’t know everythin I’ve done.”

“I don’t need to. I just know this…wherever you’ve been, or whatever you’ve done, you don’t have to stay there. It’s kinda like this crazy road we’re on right now…no matter how long we’ve been on that broken pavement, we don’t have to stay on it.”

“Yeah, you got a point there, Ben.”

“What do you think you’re going to do about it?”

“I think…I think I gotta swallow my pride, go back home, and ask for forgiveness.”

“I think that’s a good idea.”

“After all. What do I got to lose?”

“By the sound of it, you got a lot to gain by doing that,” I say as a feeling of relief washes over me. I’ve never been so happy to see a small truck stop through my windshield.

I only hope I can get into the parking lot without running into anything or anyone.

“Well, Ben, what can I say? Thanks a lot. I needed that.”

“No problem, I hope things go alright with your Father.”

“I hope ya can get that brake line fixed.”

“Me too.”

“Well, I got my own valley comin‘ up ahead of me, so I better let ya go. Over and out.”

As the CB goes silent, I steer the truck into the approach leading onto the truck stop parking lot. As I near my goal, I shift into first gear and throttle down. As I had hoped, the truck shudders, stalls, and then finally rolls to a stop.

I’m safe, for now. But I know there are some rough roads still to come…

To be continued…



Kelvin Bueckert

Lives and writes on the plains of Manitoba, Canada…he is an actor, writer, and has also been known to peddle books on his website…