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The Percolators

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Set in the glitter and grime of Reno, in the saintliness and severity of Salt Lake City and in the defiant and dissipated streets of Philadelphia, the Percolators are up to their necks in big rig trucking, Latter Day Saints proselytizing and racial strife. Truck drivers, Ace and Him, graduates from the school of hard knocks, discover prosperity never trickles down, so according to their logic it can only percolate up. The odd couple soon find out that knowing how the trickle works and making it work are not the same, for at the bottom lies a humanity with the strength of used coffee grounds. Hacking their way through one dead-end job after another, they try their hand at organizing big rig drivers the conventional way only to get soundly thumped and quickly fired by the trucking company and deserted by the Teamsters. When employer demands on drivers give the unlikely pair a second opportunity to organize the same company, they are ready. Ready--thanks to an ex-streetwalker and refugee from the explosive streets of Philadelphia. Mal, haunted by the brutality of past, moves in the shadow of the nation’s premier political prisoner--known as the voice of the voiceless. Sheer determination is the only ally assisting Ace and Him as they wade through many obstacles on the path to get a piece of the American pie for their drivers. For Him, the jaded and aging narrator, distractions loom like sumac plants on the path. The hardest distraction is dealing with the loss of his sexual prowess. The motivation to fight the many obstacles comes from his grandson, Little Him--who can turn an organized Sunday morning service into a chaotic free-for-all. And there is Ruth, the capable social worker, who is spiritually indentured to the Latter Day Saints, a woman Him meets at his daughter’s wedding. Their subsequent relationship is a bite of the forbidden fruit. And there is his emancipated daughter, Sarah, who complicates his life as she pries open the formidable doors to the all-male inner circle of the Latter Day Saints Church. Him has no choice but to follow Sarah into the structured hierarchy of the Church, known as the General Authority--the Prophet, the Presidency and the Twelve Apostles. For Him organizing truckers in the face of insurmountable opposition is almost child’s play compared to fifteen old men’s tough opposition, who beat back any hint of parity for women within the church. Latter Day Saints seem to walk hand in hand with their God as they have had the good fortune to have one visionary Prophet after another, from their originator--Joseph Smith Jr.--to the current Prophet Hartley, leading the Saints from disaster to glory in less than two centuries. The octogenarian Prophet Hartley senses the church can no longer hold back the raging sea of female equality, so to prevent the church from drowning beneath waves of adverse opinion he stills the waters by appointing the first female apostle. Ace, half little Him’s age and his carbon copy in mores, possesses the toughness and determination of Jimmy Hoffa and the ability to organize and hold together surly truck drivers scattered across the forty-eight states. He seems to be the messiah the drivers need to deliver them from long, underpaid, sleepless trips fraught with danger. The only soft spot in Ace’s makeup is Bangor Bates, an ex-wait Could the face offs be a matter of David verses Goliath or Don Quixote verses the Windmill  

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