All In A Day’s Work

A day in the life of a road train driver

Colleen Millsteed
10 min readAug 13, 2021

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All In A Day’s Work. A day in the life of a road train driver. Written by Colleen Millsteed.
Photo by Craige McGonigle on Unsplash

I am very proud to be able to say this piece has been chosen as a finalist in the Vocal Fiction Challenge.

“Breaker one nine, are you out there,” I query over the CB radio, as my road train barrels along the Stuart Highway, in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Silence. Silence all around. Silence on the CB and silence out on the road. It’s like there’s not another soul in a 100 kilometre radius of me. I can hear the noise of my truck as my tyres burn up the miles. I haven’t seen any car, or truck lights for hours. I wonder at times like this, maybe something has happened in the world and I’m the last one alive, but then I hit civilisation and laugh at my wild imagination.

I try the radio again, “Breaker one nine, do you have your ears on? This is Little Dove and I was hoping for some chit chat to keep me company. Breaker, yell out if you’re on here bud.”

Still more silence. I heavily sigh and give up on the chat as I reach for the radio and turn up the music.

Barrelling along the Highway in the middle of this beautiful country, when I glimpse something on the side of the road in the distance. Is that? No it can’t be. But it is! There standing on the side of the road is a man, holding his thumb out, a universal symbol for asking for a ride. Should I stop? It’s pretty risky, but then if I don’t, he may not see another vehicle within the next day or so.

Mind made up, I can’t leave a fellow human being out in the middle of nowhere. I start to power down my big girl. She’s a long beast, is my girl and she takes some stopping. Changing down, through my twelve gears, until I ease her up beside the man.

The male looks relieved that someone has stopped, relieved and exhausted. He looks to be in his mid 30’s, terribly sunburnt from the harsh Australian sun and it seems he’s about ready to drop right where he is standing. Jeans and button up shirt, but wait, what’s that dark stain down the front of his shirt? Looks like blood.

I lean across so I can see him better out the passenger side window and nod my head, giving him the okay to hop on in.

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Colleen Millsteed

Top Writer in Poetry. I’m a Finance Manager with a love of both numbers and words.