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Stephen King One for the Road.jpg

One for the Road is a short story written by Stephen King. The story was originally published in the March/April 1977 issue of Maine Magazine, and was later included in King's own 1978 collection Night Shift. The story functions as a sequel to King's 1975 novel Salem's Lot.

Plot Summary

This tale is narrated in the first person by Booth, an elderly resident of a Falmouth, a small town that neighbors Jerusalem's Lot, Maine. The people of Flamouth are deeply Catholic, and wear holy relics to protect themselves from being on the border of a place haunted by vampires. Although Booth himself is a Protestant, he agrees that wearing a "Pope's medal" offers protection. The main part of the story is set a couple of years after the events of `Salem's Lot. Booth describes a winter's night years ago, when he and his friend, a bar owner named Herb Tooklander, attempted to rescue the family of a motorist named Gerard Lumley, whose vehicle had become stranded in a ferocious blizzard. At first mildly contemptuous of Lumley for driving in such weather, both men are horrified when they realize that Lumley's vehicle is stranded in Jerusalem's Lot. It is widely known that "the Lot" has gone bad, but they still decide to drive out in a snow plough and attempt to save Lumley's family. Instead, they barely manage to save themselves from the man's wife and daughter, who have been turned into vampires. Lumley is transfixed when he sees his wife, and runs to her, which he is forgone. Lumley's daughter, who was walking atop the snow is grabbed by Booth. Booth himself is mesmerized by the adorable little girl, who says she wants to kiss him for rescuing her. Herb Tooklander snaps Booth out of it when he throws the late Mrs. Tooklander's Douay Bible at the girl, which turns into dust and reveals her nasty, vulpine self. Booth and "Tookie" flee to safety, and the following day (when vampires cannot emerge), Lumley's Mercedes is towed away. The story ends with Booth saying that happened some time ago, and his friend Herb Tooklander died of natural causes. Booth warns the reader that if they ever find themselves on the road through `Salem's Lot, they should keep on driving and not stop for any reason, "especially not if you see a cute little girl looking for her good night kiss".