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Our Most Memorable Summer Jobs

Dallas notables share stories about what they once did for a buck.
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Image
illustration by Eric Palma

Image
illustration by Eric Palma



All Coked Up    |    Ken Bethea

Old 97’s guitarist




I drove this coke truck. My route was way out in East Texas. It was 12 long, grueling hours of driving this big truck and unloading bottles at convenience stores.



I was playing in a basketball league that summer. We had a big game. The only way for me to make it to the game was to haul ass all day. It was pouring down rain. I was heading to my first stop, and I took the wrong turn. I drove about a hundred yards down an oil road. And all of a sudden, I was like—son of a bitch. This truck was huge, and it’s a little bitty road. I sucked at backing it up. I kept hoping the road would have another road to let me escape. I went all the way down to the end, and it dead-ended into a house. So I tried turning it around. This thing was heavy. It was mashing 6 inches into the ground. And then this old lady came out and stood on the porch with her hands on her hips. The pressure was starting to get to me. I got it all jack-knifed. I was sweaty, and my face was hot. I just thought, I’ll drive through the bitch’s yard. I don’t care. But it’s a Coke truck. People rat you out.



Eventually I see her getting on the phone. Then this truck pulled up, and this big ol’ redneck guy got out of it. I thought he was going to kick my ass. He looked at me, and I said, “Hi.” He said, “Get out.”




He got in, and in about literally two swipes, he got it out.




I got back in the truck and kind of just limped to my first stop. Turns out, the boy was the grandson of the woman at the house. His dad owned the store. He had already told everybody at the store. I had to unload all these Coke bottles. I was in there 45 minutes with them glaring at me. It was literally the day I decided I was quitting.




I didn’t make it to the basketball game, and my team lost.



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