Set some time around the Great Depression in Castle Rock and Derry, two of the most infamous Maine sites throughout Stephen King’s work, our narrator Quentin’s story begins with him grappling to understand what had truly happened to his Uncle Otto, and his morbid fascination with Uncle Otto’s Cresswell Truck. He says he would persuade himself it was imagination if it weren’t for the object he took from the scene to prove it really happened. There is an established, in depth family history between the family members, and then Otto’s early adult life. Quentin’s father is the youngest child of the siblings and Quentin himself is the youngest of his father’s children. When his father, Quentin’s grandfather died, Otto was the only sibling to receive the inheritance, and sold his land in Castle Hill when the New England Paper Company was selling plots of land so they could stay in business. He needed help to buy the large amount of land, about 4,000 acres, so Otto found a business partner, George McCutcheon, and the two young men were doing very well financially coming out of the Depression. They began exploring their land in their pick-up trucks, and, McCutcheon’s Cresswell finally overheated after a hard night of drinking.
The Cresswell didn’t just overheat, due to other issues the old truck was experiencing; it caught fire after the two ran in and out of a ditch and completely off the road. That is where George confided in Otto that this spot was where he planned to build his retirement home. He felt it was God’s Hand that guided them to that spot as he thought it was the perfect place to build it. Unfortunately, George died at the hands of the Cresswell just two years after this incident. His death holds superstition though since he only just sold the truck for $20 one year prior. So when our narrator Quentin is born and grown into a little boy, the story of the truck always terrified him. So much so he nearly had a panic attack being teased by his father and tossed into the truck, misreading his fear for curiosity. Quentin had both an epiphany and a traumatic experience in the back of the truck as his father tries to console him. What he learned haunts him throughout his story to the end of Uncle Otto’s life, and in classic Stephen King style, you’re left with horror, mysteries, and a sense of justice.
I’m really loving these short stories from the 80’s from Stephen King’s Night Shift [Jerusalem’s Lot] and Skeleton Crew collections. His writing is encapsulating and already showing its greatness so early on in his career. It’s no wonder he’s had so many successful bestsellers and award-winning Hollywood blockbusters. He certainly brings you to the fear of the moment Quentin’s trapped in the back of the truck, or the gruesome discovery of Uncle Otto’s body. Stephen King always had the perfect, subtle way of tapping into the deep human moral center of yourself with his work, and this short story definitely delivers on the psychological aspect of the horror perfectly with Uncle Otto’s Truck. This is the second work chronologically listed for the Stephen King multi-verse, so it isn’t too late to catch up until the next one!
About Stephen King Multiverse Book Report: I have been a lifelong Stephen King fan ever since I was first exposed to his literary work Misery. From then on, I made it a mission to eventually read every single work Stephen King’s shown the world. Since that period in middle school, I have read about 10 other novels of his, but I haven’t quite yet scratched the surface. Feeling inspired from watching the one stage of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) come to a close, and shortly after IT: Chapter 2 was released; I finally decided to embark on my nerdy dream of reading every Stephen King work. Although not everything he’s written is included in this multiverse, I figured the best place to start was the multiverse in order so I can fill in the blanks when I (hopefully) finish this possibly grueling yet satisfying feat! I decided to start in the chronological order of Stephen King’s multiverse as the inspiration of this series I’m currently writing.