I've read that a Lincoln street woman was arrested last night for stealing a beer truck and then crashing it of having been already drunk. I know a man who'd done time for that previously as it happens, and there are many of us who have reached a stage where being drunk invents the desire to get drunk. I do not think that I have ever quite existed outside of that stage to tell the truth. Still while the motive for stealing a beer truck is obvious there is no possible way to do so stealthily is there? It might seem to stand to reason that the homeless have 'nothing to lose' and are free from law as such but that's not true. Being locked up is simply the worst no matter what you're coming from, especially with the high prairie spring coming on. One cannot be greedy. Wait out of sight for the driver to be occupied in the warehouse, then grab yourself 'one' 40 or 'one' pint from the back and jet. Something small enough to hide under your clothes and light enough to not slow you down. That's how you do.
North Platte has a small Coors bottling plant across the tracks from downtown; and I have been to several parties where the drink was provided by someone breaking a window climbing through and he-manning out through the night with as many boxes of two 24-packs each as they could carry. The plant is only a couple of hundred yards from my parents house, along the original town grid that hugs the railroad like lungs, and I once saw a an jogging in broad daylight down "my" 6th Street about halfway between the plant and home with one of those tell-tale boxes. I once partied with a man who had jacked the plant two days after having been paroled for burglary then tried to seduce our host in front of her and her boyfriends kids. The man was about my age though I would guess dead now by logical deduction. Candle at both ends right?
The bottlers make profit enough in spite of all this. North Platte drinks and drinks. The cattlefolk in its supporting hinter drink and drink. My old friend Sam, that infamous 90's white rap fan sort, (unbrokenly from toddlerhood to now as he tells it) is among those who have the delightful work of driving a beer truck through the Sandhills spring. Out to the village bars of Brady, Thedford, Hershey, Maywood, Arthur, Wallace. I have likely drank stolen beer intended for Ole's deathhouse itself.
The country between North Platte and Valentine remains dead to radio and smartphones. On the highway there are beer delivery trucks, cattle delivery trucks, the odd outlander who likes the idea of a secret shortcut between Denver & the Twin cities though it's no such thing really, also nuclear deliveries. Missiles being carried to and from silos in the Dakota Badlands, drivers armed with 45's. There have been at least two occasions when a missile truck has overturned forty miles from the nearest village and shut down the highway for a full 24. And once these things reach the Platte Valley there is of course no way to the interstate and the world from there except right through downtown, ten blocks from where my mother naps with her dogs. I've heard fears of where "The Terrorists" might strike western Nebraska; Kingsley Dam, Bailey Yards, or maybe one of those Nuke trucks. Worry not about the Jihadists friends. They simply do not know that this part of the earth exists. I do; and I have been known for my discontent towards the social and political conditions of my home region. Then again I do know Judy and Phil, who used to work the Kramer ranch up Stapleton way. And I am Joany's kid, the gal who used to wait down at Skelly's Truck Stop. I have drinken of your Coors Light, I have eaten of your fried cauliflower, and I have cheered of your Huskers. Fear not me either, certainly not.
If you try to rob a beer truck driver he might be armed too though it's frankly unlikely. It's a myth that westerners are more likely to casually never not have a gun than anyone else; a myth that we are happy to perpetuate for ourselves. At the northernmost gas station on Jeffers Street, the one you must stop at before the river comes town suddenly peters out and you're in dead smartphone country, there is a prayer behind the cashier's desk that calls for God to smite the ACLU.
Emery Blagdon, born in the early 20th century to an OG sodder ranching family near Stapleton, as much as anywhere. In his teens he took to meandering about the continent and kept at this for the entire meat of his life, returning in his fifties to find that his mother was gone and his family had a genetic disposition to cancer; that he himself was like to be already end game old with such a bomb in his cells. so he built a shack for himself on the family land; unheated, about the size as a town yard shed, and found relief for his existential pain in religion, sort of. One of his own invention exclusive to and dying with himself. One day he took his old truck into North Platte, into "town" and went about asking jewelers or pharmacists for "elements" with "earth powers". It is in this way that the world learned that Blagdon was filling his shack with incredible sculptures of wire, jars, broken glass, reshaped metal, complex beyond what prose can describe and gloriously beautiful.
Blagdon intended his creations to be "healing machines" and as the man nearly made it to eighty in spite of his family curse perhaps he succeeded after all.
Drive through the Sandhills at 3 AM. and you wouldn't quite be a fool to assume that there is no true human activity to speak of here except for yourself your car and your radio static. You would be wrong to assume this all the same. Among the twenty people in a forty mile radius at least two are surely making love, and there may be someone just beyond the close ink horizon doing some thing that only a human being could ever do, that only their own human mind out of the billions that have ever been could have ever done, and who thus redeems all of our cruelties tyrannies and arbitrary hierarchies with some singular act of being awakened matter; winning memory for their bones that shall last far longer than that for all the proud patriarchal Barons with their 80000 beeves.