Nighthawks at the Diner

Nighthawks at the Diner

Big Joe And Phantom 309

See, I just happened to be back on the East coast a few years back
I was trying to make me a buck like everybody else
I'll be damned if times didn't get hard, and Christ I got down on my luck
And I got tired of just roaming and bumming around
So I started thumbing my way back to my old hometown

And you know, I made quite a few miles in the first couple of days
You know, I figured I'd be home in a week if my luck held out this way
You know, it was the third night, oh and I got stranded
And it was out at a cold lonely crossroads
And as the rain came pouring down, man I was hungry
Yeah, I was hungry, tired and freezing, caught myself a chill

But it was just about that time
Yeah, it was just about that time that the lights of an old semi topped the hill
You should've seen me smile when I heard them air brakes come on
Yeah, and I climbed up into that cab where I knew it'd be warm
At the wheel... well, at the wheel sat a big man
And I'd have to say he must've weighed two ten
As he stuck out a big hand and he said with a grin
'Big Joe's the name, and this here rig is called Phantom 309'

Well, I asked him why he called his rig such a name
And you know, he turned to me and said
'Why son, don't you know this here rig'll be putting 'em all to shame
Nah, there ain't a driver
No, there ain't a driver on this or any other line for that matter that
That's seen nothing but the taillights of Big Joe and Phantom 309'
So we rode and we talked the better part of the night
And I told my stories and Joe told his
And I smoked up all his Viceroys as we rolled along
Pushed her ahead with ten forward gears
Man, that dashboard was lit like the old Madame La Rue pinball
Serious semi-truck

'Til almost mysteriously
Well, it was the lights of a truck stop that rolled into sight
Joe turned to me, said 'I'm sorry son, but I'm afraid this is just as far as you go, you see
You see, I kinda gotta be making a turn just up the road a piece'
I'll be damned if he didn't toss me a dime as he threw her in low and said
'Go on in there son, and get yourself a hot cup of coffee on Big Joe'
I mean to tell you, when Joe and his rig pulled off into the night
Man, in nothing flat they was clean outta sight

So I walked into this stop, well I ordered me up a cup of mud
Saying 'Big Joe's setting this dude up'
But it got so deadly quiet in that place
Yeah, it got so deadly quiet in that place, you could've heard a pin drop
And as the waiter's face turned kind of pale I said
'What's the matter, did I say something wrong?'
I kind of said with a half way grin
He said, 'No son, you see it'll kinda happen every now and then
'Cause every driver in here knows Big Joe, son, but

But let me tell you what happened just ten years ago out there
Yeah, it was years ago, out there at that cold lonely crossroads
And there was a whole busload of kids
And then they were just coming from school
And they were right in the middle when Joe topped the hill and
They could've been slaughtered except Joe turned his wheels
And he jackknifed, yeah he jackknifed, and he went into a skid
And you know, folks around here, well
They say he gave his life to save that bunch of kids
And out there at that cold lonely crossroads
Well, they're saying it was the end of the line for Big Joe and Phantom 309

But it's funny you know, cause... cause every now and then
Yeah, every now and then when the moon's holding water
Well, they say that old Joe'll stop and give you a ride
It seems, just like you, some hitchhiker will be coming by'
'So here, son,' he said to me, 'you get yourself another cup of coffee
It's on the house, I kind of want you to hang on to that dime
Yeah, I kind of want you to hang on to that dime as a souvenir
I want you to keep that dime as a souvenir of Big Joe
Of Big Joe and Phantom
Big Joe and Phantom 309'