Short Story #288: The Hack Driver by Sinclair Lewis

Title:  The Hack Driver 

Author:  Sinclair Lewis


Photo of Sinclair Lewis. Image Source: narrator after working his way through law school finds himself working in a law office that is sending him out to serve a summons, which he thinks is below him.  He travels out by train to New Mullion to find this person.  Upon arrival, he finds he needs to get around and find this person so he talks to the first person he encounters.  He says he is looking for Oliver Lutkins and hopes the man can help him.  The man, Bill Magnuson, says he saw him a brief while ago and that he would be happy to drive him around to find the man.  The narrator knows the man is trying to get some money out of him and he is ok with that so long as they find Lutkins.  Over the course of the next few hours, Bill brings the narrator all over town where they keep missing Lutkins by a briefer periods of times.  Eventually, Bill brings him to Lutkins mother who also spins a tale of frustration about her son.  The narrator returns to the office empty handed and is sent back to the town with the help of someone who actually knows Lutkins.  When they arrive in town, the narrator spots Bill with Lutkins' mother.  The narrator's partner explains that Bill is in fact Oliver Lutkins.  When the narrator serves the summons, Lutkins laughs and says that he was hoping they could go to a neighbor's for coffee since they were the only folks that missed him when he came by before. 


It's an amusing tale that captures the views of traditional "city folk" and "country bumpkins."  The educated lawyer believing he is above his position gets schooled by the country fellow who is quicker and smarter.  It seemed pretty clear early on that Bill was Lutkins but that the narrator was too blind to see it.

Short Story #288 out of 365
Rating:  (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  10/1/2014
Source:  You can read the full short story at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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