Perishable goods: Former driver finds himself on highway to hell
“You don’t talk like a trucker. You ever drive before?”
“Oh Mr. Carthage, I’ve driven everything from chariots to Corvettes. Let’s begin our journey, shall we?”
The dusk settled to dark as they were heading away from the tiny town, and within a few minutes Lonnie had fallen completely in love with his new truck. He didn’t give a damn what he had to do, he was going to roll this baby as long as he possibly could. And with paper logs he could cheat and roll some more. Dollar signs and good times filled every inch of his brain with happiness. Life was good.
“We’ll be making our first pickup here momentarily, Mr. Carthage, speed up.”
“Speed up? Don’t you mean slow down?”
“No Mr. Carthage, I mean speed up. Now!”
Confused, but still not caring what he had to do to keep this truck and this job, Lonnie hammered down. About the time the speedometer hit 75, he saw the man standing in the middle of the road. He tried to pull the wheel, but it was too late. The sick thud of flesh against chrome went off like a bomb in the cab.
“Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit!!”
Lonnie nearly jackknifed the truck coming to a stop. He was still screaming ‘Ohshitohshit’ and didn’t even realize it.
“Calm down, Mr. Carthage, profanity isn’t necessary.”
“What the hell do you mean?!! I just killed a guy!! We gotta call the cops, oh shit, I’m going to jail forever – they ALWAYS blame the trucker. You’ll tell them the guy was standing in the road, won’t you? You will won’t you?”
“Mr. Carthage, hysterics aren’t necessary and neither is calling the law. You’ve just made your first pickup.”
“What? What the hell? What the hell are you talking about?”
“Funny you should mention my home town, Mr. Carthage. I find it quite appropriate.”
“You’re not making any sense, dude. We gotta call the cops.”
“There will be no cops. As I said, you just made your first pickup. You’ll be hauling souls, Mr. Carthage, souls that were promised to me and not given freely when the time came to give them. If you make a deal with the devil, Mr. Carthage, the devil will come get his due.”
“I want no part of this. I don’t want to haul souls or anything else for you. I want to go back to my apartment and forget I ever opened that crappy little envelope.”
“I’m afraid it’s too late for that, Mr. Carthage. You agreed to our arrangement without asking for details. You made a deal with the devil and now you will give the devil his due.”
“That ain’t fair! You tricked me with the truck! I don’t want it no more, I don’t! Please let me go, I’ll never tell anyone, I swear it!”
“Mr. Carthage, you can be the driver or the guy in the middle of the road, it’s your choice. A soul is easily forgotten when worldly temptations are presented. Unfortunately, you’ve learned that little life lesson too late in the game. Now drive, Mr. Carthage. Drive these souls on into hell.”