Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Unhinged Alaska: Hot topics and cold trucks

I was in a local coffee emporium the other day quietly perusing the newspaper when a rather heated argument broke out between a foursome who had just hunkered down at a nearby table.

The topic was environmental changes and each antagonist was dead certain that they alone knew the cause of the climate flux and had the answers for the state of affairs.

Usually I don’t pay much attention to such dueling discourses. Mainly, because there are always verbal dust-ups during the winter and it would be remarkable not to have a few opponents on the cusp of mulling over the prospect of ramming their triple expresso hot cups into the exit door of their fellow debater’s large intestinal tract over differences of opinion on subjects such as the climate deviations, impeachments, jet skis, plastic bags and doggie poo policing.

It was rather ironic overhearing the group vigorously arguing about the probability of a roasting rotisserie world while peeling off more cold weather gear than an overstock lay-out at a sporting goods store clearance sale.

So much for a peaceful cup of primo caffeine and a leisurely perusal of the latest world updates. The battle lines were drawn and hardened not 5 feet away and there would be no cease-fire.

They were so intent on talking over each other, while attempting to expound on their own myopic views, that they started to sound like an intellect-challenged cable news panel bickering over the meaning of what some celebrity schlub uttered 20 years ago.

Just as I was ready to head back to the cabin to see if my dog Howard, who sometimes exhibits an IQ just slightly higher than his leash, was still on point at the wood pile and totally clueless that Quicksilver, one of our resident ermines, was playing on the beach trail behind him, Wild Willie and Turk bolted through the door.

“What’s up Nicko?” Willie puffed. “Izat cold enough for ya bro? Man, it’s flat nasty! Ifen it gets any frostier, I’ll start havin’ flashbacks about my ex-girlfriend.”

“I’ll bet you haven’t seen conditions like this since you work in the high north,” Turk mumbled through his gradually defrosting beard.

“Up there, this kind of weather is known as break up,” I chided. “What brings you two to the burg? Ole Willie have another court appearance concerning his pickup truck?”

“Naw, that’s all settled,” Willie whispered. “I jest gotta remember not ta drive at night with one headlight and cross wired turn signals. Still having problems with that ancient carburetor though. Just last month, it backfired so bad when I was priming it that it took weeks for my eyebrows to grow back. I’m starting’ ta think I’ll never get them scorched curlies outta my sideburns. Jeeze, I stunk like a mattress fire for days.”

“Yeah, well we all appreciated that personal, but unfortunately temporary, hygiene upgrade,” Turk grumped while sliding into a chair opposite of his buddy.

W.W. ignored the cut and asked. “So, how is your chore-truck hunt going? Find anything ya wanna buy? I’d wholesale ya mine but it-n-me go too far back. It would be like sellin’ part of the family.”

“Willie, what is it with you? I know your brain’s pan-fried but give the man a break. What in the heck would he want with a truck with half a muffler system that sounds like an overworked woodchipper, two forward gears, partial tire treads for bumpers, an engine with three fully operational cylinders, and %&*#*+ pallets for a truck bed? A seriously decomposed yak would have a better trade-in value.” Turk fumed.

“So, custom rigs are out, huh? He probably couldn’t meet my asking price anyways.” W.W. snickered.

“Several of the trucks that I was interested in wouldn’t turn over without being coaxed with a flamethrower and the rest just sat there like overpriced beer coolers. We’ll try again in the spring.”

“Well, good luck Bro,” Turk snorted. “It used to be that a guy bought a truck to use around the homestead. Nowadays, he has to sell the homestead to afford one.”

“Could be.” I said. “But I’m sure there’s a good used work rig out there that we can afford.”

“I don’t think so, Dude.” Wild Willie muttered. “Ifen it’s good, why does the owner want to get rid of it? At least mine starts.”

“Willie, have you ever heard of a caffeine colonic?” I inquired while slowly fingering my cup.

“Nope,” he answered. “Iszat some sort of afta shave?”

“Nope, but you’re going to find out if you don’t stop busting my chops.”


“Never mind, come to think of it, how much do you want for the truck?”

Nick can be reached at unless you want to rant about climate deviations, impeachments, jet skis, plastic bags or doggie poo policing.

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