A/N: Just so you know, this story will be based heavily on the music album C.W. McCall's Greatest Hits. It is an album that represents real, actual country music. It was released in 1975 and, like country music should, tells stories through the medium of music. It is NOT a "get drunk date girls" album. Each of these chapters will take the lyrics from each song in the album and fit it into McGucket's past. You don't have to, but I would heavily recommend giving the album a listen. It's funny. It's heartwarming. It is the magic that modern country music has lost. Anyway, begin.
McGucket wasn't much use to visitors. Though he made millions with his inventions and helped the world in countless ways, he just wasn't a people person. Sure, he had the ones that he was close to, but as time flowed down the river, they started to move on. His son, Tate, took his own family and moved over yonder to the Great Lakes. He was offered a Department of Wildlife job that he couldn't refuse, and while McGucket was overjoyed at the prospect of Tate making a name for himself, it didn't help the ever-widening hole in his chest. Or maybe that was due to the decades of eating out of dumpsters. Who knows. Getting old sucks.
The Pines family was still around though, and it had grown. McGucket's old lab partner and his brother eventually retired from their mystery hunting and settled down. Ford even managed to find a wife in the process, as crazy as it sounds. The kiddos faired even better. Dipper managed to win the hand of the lovely Pacifica Northwest, though how McGucket was still baffled by. Must've been a big shock to her parents, that was for sure. They had two youngin's running around themselves, one twelve and the other eight. Mabel had a family, too. She met a nice man from Utah on one of their mystery hunts and hit it off from there.
Oh, the memories McGucket has from that state. The great arches of Moab. The majestic beauty of Zion. Not many knew of McGucket's adventures as a younger man, before Ford employed him in his project. He was a real rough-and-tumble feller. Anyway, Mabel has a kid herself, a young one of ten years, and both twins have settled down in Gravity Falls. They visit every once in a while, but the children are always quiet and reserved-like when they do. It's probably strange for them to visit some old inventor's strange house in the middle of the woods. He doesn't blame them. It's just that, he can feel that his time on God's blessed Earth is starting to wind down, and he wants to make sure that his time here is not forgotten to history. But, then again, he doesn't get much visitors.
That's why he was so surprised to hear the door chime ring, then ring again, and again. McGucket's mansion was massive, having acquired it from the previously wealthy Northwest family, but that chime rang through the entirety of it like it was a tin can, and whoever rang it sounded like they did it in a hurry.
When McGucket opened the great oak doors, he was surprised to see Dipper, his two children, and his niece. Dipper, as toned as he was from his occupation as a professional monster hunter and mystery solver, was hunched forward a little bit, panting from, presumably, the run from his car to the door. McGucket looked past Dipper's shoulder to see the green Subaru sittin' there, still running, with Pacifica in the driver's seat, a worried frown on her face. McGucket then looked back to Dipper.
"Howdy, friend!" he hollered. "What brings you up to my neck of the woods?"
"Mabel's been taken," Dipper exhales out between pants. "We think it's that scum, Skeletor again. We need you to watch the kids."
"What?" McGucket said in surprise. "Why, I'm honored Dipper, I really am, but shouldn't you get someone with a better track record for watchin' these wee young ones?"
"You were a parent, right?" Dipper replied, steadily regaining control of his lungs. "You'll be fine. They're relatively self-sufficient. Just make sure they don't kill each other or burn the forest down, that's all."
"Well, I don't know..." McGucket said with trepidation.
"You'll be fine," Dipper responded, reassurance in his voice. He placed a hand on the old man's thin shoulder, the boney protrusion outlined in his buttoned shirt. "We need to find Mabel, and they can't come with us. I trust you, Fiddleford."
"Well, okay then. I did try to kill you a couple-a-times, so I guess my payback is finally here."
Dipper let out a chuckle. "Indeed, old friend. Indeed. We'll be back, uh, when we get back I guess."
"Sounds like a plan. Now get to gettin'. Go be heroes, and I'll stay behind and watch the wee ones."
"Thanks, McGucket," Dipper replied. He bent down, hugged each of the children goodbye and gave some words of encouragement, and ran back down the stone pathway to his awaiting wife. The second he jumped into the passenger seat, the car raced off down the long driveway, honking the horn goodbye as they sped into the distance. McGucket waved them off as they did so.
He then looked down to see the three young faces staring up at him. Jackie, the oldest, looked upon him with a mix of skepticism and worry. Her brown, curly hair matched incredibly well with her aunt's, and her simplistic clothes derived a lot by her father's style, though the bright pink purse around her shoulder still suggested a hint of fashion from her mother. Jackie's younger brother, Tyrone, had stylized blonde hair and a flashy, expensive-looking jacket. Clearly, his mother had even more influence over this attire. Their cousin, Kristen, was very much a child of Mabel's, with her bright colors, the peace-sign necklace around her neck, and the fun socks covered in flowered she wore on her feet. Though, the shirt she was wearing was of some sort of superhero, comic book character, one that McGucket would never recognize. Some sort of bright red figure surrounded by yellow lightning. Maybe it was running really fast? Her dark-brown hair was tied in a ponytail behind her head. Her face was filled with uncertainty, yet with a film of curiosity.
This was going to be difficult.
"Well, come in, come in," McGucket said, ushering in the young pines children. They obliged, and he led them to the main sitting room. It was an... interesting room to say the least. Stacks of gutted computer parts and papers lined the many desks and tables against the walls. The walls themselves were decorated with various blueprints and patent forms, as well as a few leftover taxidermy heads from the previous owners, which now had various Christmas lights hanging amongst their antlers. The center of the room housed a large couch, a loveseat, and a rocking chair. A nearby end table held some more various scientific gadgets and a few notebooks, as well as an old radio that looked like it had some tampering done with it.
McGucket sat in his rocking chair while the kids sat on the couch. A long, awkward pause then followed thereafter, only broken once by Tyrone coughing.
"So.. uh… how are you kids doin' in school?" McGucket asked, trying to strike up a conversation.
"It's summer," Jackie replied. Another long moment of silence followed.
"Welp, I'm gonna go get some snacks," McGucket said as he stood up quickly. I little too quickly, might he add. "Don't touch the death ray in the bottom drawer. I mean... nevermind."
He went to the kitchen and closed the door behind him. Leaning on the door, he let out a long sigh. "You've lost your touch, old man. You were able to make friends with Dipper and Mabel years ago." He stared at the opposite wall, reminiscing at the simpler times. "Well, that was after you tried to kill them. Maybe I should try killin' these kids. Then we can all be friends!" He exclaimed, pointing a bony finger in the air and doing a little cackle, which quickly declined into another sigh. "I'm incredibly lonely."
Remembering what he was there for, McGucket went to scrounge up some food. However, the only things he could find were some crackers and a can of smoked oysters. Figuring it was good enough, he threw them on a plate and started the journey back to the sitting room. However, before he opened the connecting door, he heard a new voice in the room. One that seemed to be repeating itself, though he couldn't quite make out the words. He didn't need to. He recognized them immediately, for it was his own words, once spoken a lifetime ago.
He opened the door to see the kids gathered around the old radio on the end table, pressing the play button over and over again. Every time they did so, the radio said the same sentence.
"Uh, breaker one nine. This here's the Rubber Duck. You got a copy on my Pig Pen come on?" As McGucket approached, the children turned to him with bewildered looks on their faces.
"What the heck is that?" Jackie asked.
"Why," McGucket began, placing the tray of food on the table. "That was me in my younger years. It was from my CB radio."
"What were you saying," Tyrone asked, obviously curious about the strange words.
"That there was trucker lingo. I used to haul cross country when I was fresh outa school."
"What does it mean?" Kristen asked, specs of wonder starting to fill her eyes. In those eyes, McGucket saw the curiosity and innocence of a child excited to learn. To learn about a time that they had no recollection of. The 1970s were in the distant past to them. And with that generation starting to fade, it would be left only to the history books. This gave McGucket an idea.
"Come," he said, sitting in his rocker. "Let me tall y'all a story about the great convoy of 1975." He fiddled with the radio, starting the old recording over again. He always recorded his CB conversations for no particular reason. It only ever picked up his voice and was never really that useful. He always got rid of the tapes afterwards, but he never did this one. He pressed the play button again, and this time, the voice continued.
"Uh, breaker one nine. This here's the Rubber Duck. You got a copy on my Pig Pen come on?" The recording let a slight pause. "Uh, yeah. 10-4 Pig Pen. For sure for sure. By golly it's clean clear to Flag Town, c'mon?" Another pause followed. "Yeah, that's a big 10-4 there, Pig Pen. Yeah, we definitely got the front door, good buddy. Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy."
McGucket then started his story.
"Was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June, in a Kenworth pullin' logs."
"What's a Kenworth?" Kristen asked.
"It's a truck, now be quiet," McGucket replied, then continuing on. "Cab-over Pete with a reefer on, and a Jimmy haulin' hogs. We is headin' for bear on I-one-oh 'bout a mile outta Shaky Town. I says, 'Pig Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck, and I'm about to put the hammer down.'"
"Uh, can someone translate please?" Kristen asked. It was actually Jackie that answered her.
"He was on the interstate with a bunch of other trucking buddies, one of them had pigs, and they were driving fast."
"You catch on quick, little lady. That is indeed what a convoy is," McGucket said, thoroughly impressed. The radio then burst back to life, almost as if it was alive and helping to tell the story.
"Ah, breaker, Pig Pen, this here's the Duck. And, you wanna back off them hogs? Yeah, 10-4, 'bout five mile or so. Ten, roger. Them hogs is gettin' in-tense up here."
McGucket continued. "By the time we got into Tulsa Town, we had eighty-five trucks in all. But they's a roadblock up on the cloverleaf, and them bears was wall-to-wall. Yeah, them smokies is thick as bugs on a bumper, they even had a bear in the air! I says, 'Callin' all trucks, this here's the Duck. We about to go a-huntin' bear.'"
"Bears and smokies are cops, right?" Jackie asked.
"That's right," McGucket replied. "How on earth did you know that."
"Oh! Oh!" Tyrone said with excitement. "Grunkle Stan taught us all the words for cops!"
"Handy," McGucket said as the radio whirred to life again.
"Ah, you wanna give me a 10-9 on that, Pig Pen? Negatory, Pig Pen, you're still too close. Yeah, them hogs is startin' to close up my sinuses. Mercy sakes, you better back off another ten."
McGucket started once again. "Well, we rolled up Interstate 44 like a rocket sled on rails. We tore up all of our swindle sheets and left 'em settin' on the scales. By the time we hit that Chi-town them bears was a-gettin' smart. They'd brought up some reinforcements from the Illinois National Guard. There's armored cars, and tanks, and Jeeps, and rigs of ev'ry size. Yeah, them chicken coops was full' a bears, and choppers filled the skies. Well, we shot the line and we went for broke with a thousand screamin' trucks and eleven long-haired friends a' Jesus in a chartreuse micro-bus."
"That last one was hippies," Jackie said. "Grunkle Stan also taught us all the words for hippies, for the exact same reason."
"Ah, Rubber Duck to Sodbuster, come over." The radio said. "Yeah, 10-4, Sodbuster? Listen, you wanna put that micro-bus in behind that suicide jockey? Yeah, he's haulin' dynamite, and he needs all the help he can get."
"Well," McGucket continued. "We laid a strip for the Jersey shore, prepared to cross the line. I could see the bridge was lined with bears, but I didn't have a dog-goned dime. I says, 'Pig Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck, we just ain't a-gonna pay no toll.' So we crashed the gate doing ninety-eight. I says 'Let them truckers roll, 10-4'."
"Ah, 10-4, Pig Pen, what's your twenty? OMAHA? Well, they oughta know what to do with them hogs out there for sure. Well, mercy sakes, good buddy, we gonna back on outta here, so keep the bugs off your glass and the bears off your tail. We'll catch you on the flip-flop. This here's the Rubber Duck on the side. We gone, 'bye, 'bye."
The radio then dissolved into static, leaving nothing but the fuzzy feeling of excitement and awe in the air.
"Wait, so you outran dozens of cops in a semi-truck?" Kristen asked.
"You ran through a tollbooth without paying?" Jackie inquired.
"You were alive in the '70s?" Tyrone pitched in.
Soon, McGucket was bombarded with questions about the convoy. Children, so driven to learn. So willing to explore. McGucket was reminded of this in that moment and swore to himself that he would oblige in their exploration. Besides, he had many more stories to tell.