First-novelist Shaffer serves up a soured love story--stretched to novel length--between a trucker and a truck. Drinking man and perennial loser, good ol' boy Crawley Tibbs--CB handle: ""The Georgia Eight Ball""--hitches to Florida and the Greenhaul Trucking Facility, where the new manager reluctantly signs him on to deliver corn to St. Louis and return with a cargo of Zenith TVs. Tibbs is to drive a brand-new, ""cherry,"" Peterbilt--the Rolls-Royce of trucks--which Tibbs dubs ""Big Momma."" Along the way, Tibbs discovers that his wife has left him, hookers cheat him, and the sweet little gal who wants to get to Gilly's in Houston has conned him; plus Big Momma starts acting up--a flat, engine-knocks, starter-trouble, dents, scratches, peculiar rumbles. What to do? Crawley, by now way past the point of making his return deadline, remembers truckers telling of a Laredo crossing into Mexico, where he can sell his load and live easy for the rest of his life. He goes for it, but mid-deal with Hippolito the Mexican, Big Momma throws in a grunt, a whoop, a whatsis, then takes a kamikaze leap, destroying the cargo and itself. Shaffer's writerly skills almost make you believe a truck can commit suicide. Minimal plot but unique atmosphere, dialectal twang, and truck lore.