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End of the Line

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My name is Gerald. I'm a truck driver. I work for the North American Transport Company (NATCO). I normally make runs up into southern Canada, but this time was different. My boss had asked me to make a run up north, way north. It was further than I normally went, but the boss was offering me double overtime for this one run, saying it was for a really important client. Normally I would have put up more of a fight, as I liked to stick to my schedule, but I really needed the money.

The run was mostly uneventful, and went by rather quickly, as I seemed to be riding lighter than normal. The boss hadn't let me check the cargo, saying I didn't have time. Oh well, not really important to me anyway. After a good while on the road, it started to snow. Visibility was almost zero by the time I got to my destination. The stop was at a Bar & Grill aptly named the End of the Line. I went inside to find the owner. Inside I found a strange group of people, dressed funny, like from the olden days. Come to think of it, the place looked kind of old too. Well, it did take forever for new stuff to make it all the way up here, I figured. I went and talked to the barkeep, but he told me that the owner was out, and would be back shortly, and why not sit down for a bit while I waited. I figured it couldn't hurt anything, and I was getting kinda hungry for somethin' 'sides what I had brought along with me.

A tablet hanging on the wall behind the bar declared today's special to be 'The Best Damn Sandwich Ever' and a side of fries for $5. I decided to give it a shot, and told the barkeep to give me one. What he put out in front of me made me grimace. Before me was a sandwich, on plain white bread, filled with mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, onions, tomatoes, pickles and a whole bunch of other condiments that seemed ready to burst out from between the slices, and all of it was centered around a thick slab of meat that defied identification. I almost turned it down, but I had already paid, and years of living on truck stop fare had given me a cast iron stomach. I bit down into the soggy sandwich and nearly choked.

It was the best damn sandwich ever.

And the fries weren't half bad. I ate it like ravenous 'gator after a chicken, and the sandwich disappeared far more quickly than I would have hoped. I asked the barkeep what had been in it, but he said it was a secret. I was a bit annoyed at first, but then I realized how silly that was. It was probably some kind of local animal I had just never tasted before. I decided that, since the proprietor had yet to return, that I would finally go check on the cargo. When I got to the truck however, I got very confused. Now I knew why I had seemed to be riding so light.

The trailer was empty.

At first I thought that maybe some local had pilfered my cargo while I was goofin' off, but there was no sign of it. I decided to call my boss and get to the bottom of this. When he picked up the phone, he seemed genuinely surprised to hear me, and kept dodging the question of what had become of the cargo. Finally I decided that I had enough and hung up. I climbed in the cab of the truck and turned around, determined to get back to base as soon as I could. Let's just see that weasel squirm his way out of a conversation when we were face-to-face.

After about 15 minutes on the road, I came to a dead end. I had apparently missed the turn in the snow, so I turned around to check the way. After about a minute I saw the red neon sign of the End of the Line Bar & Grill. That was the last straw, I got on the phone to base, and after a few tries I managed to get through.

"What do you want now Gerald?" he asked on the other end.

"Dammit Jackson, you weasel! There was nothing in the trailer the whole way up here, meaning you wasted all my time for nothin'. And don't even think about trying to weasel out of paying me, or I'll skin ya alive! And on top of that, this damn snow keeps getting me turned around. I can't get out of this place. When I get back to base, we are gonna have us a little talk…"

"Well of course you can't leave Jerry, these people paid good money for that cargo, so you can't just drive off with it." Jackson replied calmly on the other end.

"What the hell are you talking about Jackson, there was no cargo in that trailer!"

"Who said anything about the trailer, that was just there to keep you from getting suspicious."

"Suspicious of what?"

"Of the nature of your cargo."

"What in the hell are you talking about Ja…"

And the it dawned on me. He was talking about me! I was the cargo! What kind of sick shit was he trying to pull? I decided to get in the truck and try the highway again, but what I saw next made my blood run cold. The people in the bar were staring at me through the window. Their eyes were glowing red.

I jumped in the cab and gunned it for the highway. After about twenty minutes, though, I noticed a red glow in front of me, and stopped the truck.

There, in the snow, was the End of the Line.

Preparing to back up and turn around, I saw something in the mirror that made my heart stop. In my rearview mirror was the red neon sign of the End of the Line. That's when it dawned on me, I knew what the secret ingredient in the End of the Line Bar & Grill's "World Famous" 'Best Damn Sandwich Ever' was.

I thought to myself, as the red-eyed patrons circled the truck, "I wonder what his name was…"

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