The Legend of Graeme Thomas
On those cold, crisp nights ‘round Gunning when the dingos’ calls are clear,
You can hear the truckies yarning over campfires, drinking beer.
The stories told are many, the story tellers few;
Though listening may be agony, the yarns they spin are true .
One night a truckies convoy set up camp to cook some steak
Off the freeway out of Woy Woy, to have a well earned break.
Graeme led the trucks in line to their favourite parking station;
He’d led these rigs a thousand times across this mighty nation.
In singlets blue like truckies suits they laughed and joked around,
While rubbing hands and stomping boots on the cold and frosty ground.
They’d barely started sizzling the bangers, steaks and chops,
When some of them started grizzling about "Those fuckin’ cops!"
Before the other truckies there yelled "Shut ya fuckin’ mouth!"
A sound broke through the still night air coming from the South.
The sound was like no other rig these men had heard before,
Of gears that screamed like a tortured pig, the exhaust like a dying whore!
Two headlights pierced the gloomy night as the truck rolled up right there,
It slowed to a crawl then pulled to the right as the brakes rent the still night air.
The big rig clattered, it jumped and shook as it idled down to a halt.
Then with a belch of thick, black soot the engine stopped with a jolt.
The battered truck leaked grease and oil, Its paint was chipped and scratched,
The chrome was peeled from too much toil, its tyres were bald and patched.
In silence stood the phantom Mack as mist rolled round its rims;
No sound came from the darkened cab, no movement from within.
A truckie raised a shaking hand to point at the driver within,
His ashen face was pale and bland, his voice was cracked and thin.
"Of all the rigs from sea to sea, from the cities to the outback;
I've prayed he'd never come for me, the Devil’s big black Mack!"
The truckies glanced at one another, some soiled their short black dacks;
One whimpered softly for his Mother while most stop dead in their tracks.
For all who drive to earn a buck know when their time is due,
When Old Nick winds up in his truck he’s come to transport you!
Now Graeme was a legend within the truckies clan;
They say one night he flattened two-Bob Cobb and broke his hand.
But Graeme’s knees were trembling at the sight of the big black Mack,
His mind was fast remembering when he went to Hell and back.......
He’d stripped a lousy retread one night on Highway One;
It’s the thing long distance truckies dread, but soon the job was done.
Then as he packed his gear away he heard a familiar sound,
A big old Mack diesel’s bray made him turn around.
A big black truck was bearing down, slowing as if to stop.
The sight of it made Graeme frown and caused his heart to flop.
The legend of the phantom rig came to his mind once more...
"The gears scream like a tortured pig, the exhaust like a dying whore!"
The black paint sucked the feeble light that came from the moon and stars;
The colder air, the darker night, no buses, trucks or cars.
Then from within the darkened cab there came an evil voice;
"Come on in, me truckin’ lad, ye' haven’t got a choice!"
Graeme knew the stories well, and of the Devil’s calling;
But Graeme wasn’t going to hell, he found the thought appalling!
"Get thee hence!" he cried aloud, "You phantom highway drifter!
Fuck off now or how’d you like a piece of ten inch shifter?!"
Graeme lunged at the ghostly cab like a vengeful fighting machine.
"Piss off, you driving demon scab!" and smashed the Mack’s windscreen!
He knew the truckies legends well and that the driver’s prison
Was there within his small black cell from where the Devil had risen.
A blinding flash, an eerie sound was all that Graeme recalled;
He barely remembered feeling the ground when back to his truck he crawled.
But he knew this night would someday come, ‘twas the Devil who set the dates;
But not when his chops were almost done, and not in front of his mates!
So there in the parking station off the freeway late that night,
We saw the confrontation ‘twixt the Darkness and the Light.
We were all too scared to run or yell, but then, through the swirling mist,
Came Graeme for the truck from Hell, with his shifter in his fist!
From deep within the Devil’s lair there came a rumbling sound,
A filthy stench filled the cold night air as he wound the window down.
A pustulant, gnarly, wrinkled fist emerged from the truck from Hades,
Attached to an arm of rotting grist with the middle finger raised.
Then the engine from the truck of death roared loudly in the night,
In fear the truckies held their breath and clenched their butt cheeks tight!
"I’ll get you yet, you son of a bitch!" cried the Devil, "On one of your voyages!"
"Ahhh! Go and bite your arse, ya prick!" replied Graeme as he pricked his sausages.
The big truck shuddered and almost stalled, but then picked up its pace,
The truckies cheered, they were all enthralled as they watched it leave this place.
They stuffed themselves with chops and beer, there’d be no truckin’ tonight!
For this was a night of grace and cheer, it was Graeme’s night, alright!
So now you truckies on Highway One can travel both safer and swifter,
Be courteous, kind and never be glum, and carry a ten inch shifter!
The Devil’s gone with his Hellish rig, we’ll hear that sound no more,
The gears that screamed like a tortured pig, the exhaust like a dying whore!