Destination unknown: Bayou leaves driver searching for reality
“That’s not what your dispatcher told us. He said you dropped off satellite Monday night. It’s Friday morning. They were afraid you had sunk to the bottom of the swamp somewhere.”
Henry looked at the now-functioning Qualcomm. Seventy-two unread messages and, holy shit, it was Friday morning, just like the officer said.
“I don’t know what’s going on here, sir. I picked this load up last night at the Tiernery Warehouse and came straight here to shut down.”
“Tiernery Warehouse? Shit son, that place hasn’t been open in years. There’s no way you picked anything up there, unless it was ashes. Burned to the ground about 30 years ago and killed everyone in it. You been drinking?”
“Officer, I swear I haven’t. Let me get my bill of laden to make sure of the warehouse name.”
The dirty, ragged paperwork he had thrown into the passenger seat was gone. He searched the truck while the cop waited.
“I don’t know what’s going on. The paperwork is gone.”
“Henry, I’m gonna do you and me favor right now and give you the opportunity to leave without answering any more questions, mostly because you’re the second driver I’ve had tell me they picked something up at Tiernery in the past six months and I’ve got no damn idea how to even begin the paperwork on something like that. Now call your dispatcher and tell him you were laid up drunk, because if I were you I wouldn’t tell anyone else about what happened here.”
“What do I do with this load?”
“Don’t you understand? Ain’t no load, son. You been down the road to hell and back, and thankfully you didn’t bring any freight with you. Now get on back to the highway and try to forget this ever happened, cause that’s exactly what I intend to do.”
Henry felt like he’d lost his mind, but he knew what the trooper was saying was true.
“Yes sir. Yes sir, I sure will.”
“Don’t come back this way no more, ya’ hear?”
“You sure ain’t gotta tell me twice.”