Building the gremlin wall

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Updated Jan 30, 2017

Our truck has magical powers, but clearly they’re not as strong as the force gremlins have. It’s a daily battle with an older truck, and sometimes with brand-new trucks. There is nothing in the world more aggravating than evil spirits who won’t act up when the truck is in a shop bay.

I know very little about the workings of our diesel, but I’ve ridden enough miles with her to know when something isn’t right, just by the sound of it. George, like most all owner-ops, spends the first fifteen minutes of every day listening and looking intently for anything that sounds expensive. It’s the most stressful fifteen minutes of the day for me, especially when the truck is cold and she needs to chug a minute before she gets her groove. Those first few gurgles and chokes make my blood run cold, but when the bubble and perk start cycling good, relief is as warm as the engine.

I’m not going to be foolish enough to say anything good about how the engine is running, because I’m superstitious as hell and know as sure as I praise it, we’ll blow a turbo. Of course, if I get my way and I’m allowed to set my plan of a gremlin wall into place, I’ll be able to say freely that she’s a beautiful machine without fear of retaliation from the gremlins.

“I’m here for the cabinet door.”“I’m here for the cabinet door.”

At least engine trouble is straightforward with our Detroit. It’s the dang electrical gremlins that baffle and make us crazy. Those and the black hole that sucks socks and lighters into it. I fully believe there’s a portal in the cab somewhere, it’s connected to the same portal ratchet heads fall into when you drop them, and things just disappear. It’s the sacrificial black hole to gremlins.

The gauge lights started doing a gremlin dance the last trip out. One would blink off, then two more, then they’d all flash. George would tap the dash, they’d all stay on for a while, then another complex on/off/flash-rave combo for the gremlins, tap tap, fine for a while. When we parked for the night, he pulled all the little fuse thingies out and checked a bunch of stuff I’m never supposed to touch, unless he’s passed out or dead, and I’m in danger. Of course, me fooling with a bunch of electricity would probably be dangerous in itself, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

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Anyway, he couldn’t find anything obviously wrong, and put everything back together, and in true gremlin fashion, the gauge lights all lit up and did what they were supposed to do. Then the cabinet door fell off. Because there will be balance and order in the gremlin world. You can’t make this stuff up. We both just kind of laughed/screamed/cried and walked off into the woods. Not really, I’m the only one who actually cried a little. Then I did what I do, and vented a little.

“I’m going to build a gremlin wall around our truck.”

“We can’t go anywhere if you build a wall around the truck.”

“It will be a movable wall.”

“Then technically, it’s not really a wall, it’s a shield.”

“Really guy?”

“Really. Look it up.”

“I’d totally google it, but the inverter just whispered to me to walk into the light, so I’ll see ya on the flip side.”

“It’s a shield.”

Sometimes it’s hard to build walls. Even for gremlins.