Diner

Reads: 646  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 2

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A couple goes to a diner in search for a man and things spiral out of control. A comedy, a drama, a romance.

 

 

The night set quietly over Star City. A dark brown Chevy Camaro had been sitting with the lights turned off in an empty parking lot for more than two hours, at the edge of NewPort. Except for some apartment buildings and the diner across the street, the place seemed like a hollow no man’s land. The streetlights projected the shadow of the car, stretching it so as it seemed to engulf the whole parking lot. Inside, through the tinted glass, one could glance the silhouettes of two people, a man and a woman, around their 30s. You would normally think that they were planning to have sex or squabble about something, but no, this is not what they were doing at all.
 

“ Are you sure you want to do it?”, the man asked with a soft voice.

“ Yes. I don’t see any other way.”

“ There’s always another way. It will change you, Jenny!”

“No, I want to see what you do, Chris. I love you and I want to be with you for better or worse!” she said.

“But it can get dangerous. You might not be able to take it,” he pleaded with her.

“I know, but I want to go with you,” she said smiling.

“Ok, then. If that’s what you want… Let’s go!”

 

“Wait!” he said all of a sudden. “Do you think this turtleneck looks stupid on me?”

“No, I don’t think it looks stupid on you. It gives you a sort of a Steve McQueen air!” she said while adjusting his turtleneck.

 

The man smiled. He took his gun, gave her a sky mask and then got out of the car. He put on his own sky mask and headed towards the diner across the street. He was looking for someone and he was going to kill him. He didn’t know if he was doing the right thing by bringing her along, but it didn’t really matter. Truth be told, he was feeling rather lonely on the jobs, so company couldn’t hurt.

 

“Everybody on the ground now! Get on the fucking ground now!” Chris yelled, waving his 9mm around, trying to see who was inside.

 

“It’s just me!” said a voice from behind the counter.

“Get up so I can see you,” Chris shouted.

 

A man around 40 in a dirty apron showed himself, raising his hand above his head.

 

“Where are the others?” Chris asked.

“They left earlier. It’s Shabbat,” the guy replied.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Chris said waving his gun around. “But maybe it’s for the best. What’s your name?”

“B…Bill,” the man stuttered.

“Ok, Bill. Tell you what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna sit here with you until a friend of ours, John O’Shea, comes through these doors. Until then you’re gonna be quiet and calm. If anybody tries to come in before him, just tell them that you are out staffed and you are closing. And no heroics, ok?”

“I won’t try anything, mister. Though I don’t know if it matters.”

“Why? “ Bill suddenly asked pointing the gun in Bill’s face.” Do you know something? John won’t show up?”

“No,” Bill sighed. “I don’t know about that. I have another problem. I’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer today.

“Well, I’m sorry to hear that, but I really don’t care,” Chris said while lowering his gun and turning his back on Bill. “I wouldn’t worry too much though,” he said turning to Bill and putting on a more sympathetic face. “My father had it and he’s fine now. So I think you’ll make it. It’s just a simple operation.”

“Hun, I don’t think it’s that easy,” Jen said. “It’s more complicated and it’s a risky procedure. What stage did they say you were in?”

“They said it just entered the second stage.”

“How many stages are there?” Chris asked.

“Well, four. It’s good for him that he discovered it now, though it’s risky even know,” Jen said shaking her head.

“And how would you know? Are you a doctor?” Chris scolded her. “Look, Bill. You’re gonna be ok. Now, we’ll go to the back booth and you just stay here and do as I told you. And don’t try to look towards us.”

 

The couple went around the counter to the left, towards the toilet, sitting in the most secluded booth at the end of the diner.

 

“Take off your mask, Jen! I want to see your face!”, Chris said.

“Do you think it’s safe?”

“Yeah, the guy won’t trouble us.”

“Do you think he will show up?” she asked a bit disappointed.

“Well, if he doesn’t, that certainly wouldn’t make things any easier. It’s a sick sad world we live in and someone’s gotta do this thing. Actually, I was thinking of letting you finish him tonight. Here!”

 

He took out a big Bowie knife from his jacket and handed it to her.

 

“I know I gave you the shoes for our anniversary, but this is…sort of like to mark this new type of anniversary,” he said smiling.

“Do you think I’m ready, Chris?”

“Only if you want to. But I think it’s the best way. You’ll know when the time comes.”

“Thank you very much, Chris!”

 

She took the knife and they kissed. Bill tried not listen to their conversation, but couldn’t help hearing bits and fragments. He thought of the shotgun he had out back and that it was his only way out of this. They weren’t going to let him live. He heard their voices. He saw it in the movies. He was a hostage and he was about to die. He tried to sneak towards the kitchen, but just then, Chris rose from the table.

 

“Do you want anything to eat, Jen?” Chris asked

“No. Why do you ask?”

“Well, if we’re going to be here for another half hour, I would like to eat something. And I think you should eat something also.”

“No, I’m fine.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah.”

“Ok then. What do you still have to eat, Bill? Do you have any boiled eggs?”

“We only have ham and cheese sandwiches and pretzels”

“Not even omelets?”

“We don’t have eggs so… we don’t have any omelets either,” Bill smugly answered.

“Are you trying to be smart with me, Bill?” Chris said smiling. “Look at him, honey!”

“Don’t tease him. He’s right. You can’t make omelets without eggs.”

“I guess you’re off the hook then, Bill! I’ll have a sandwich and a Dr.Pepper!”

“We only have Pepsi!”

“Fucking dump! Then I’ll have some tap water!” Bill annoyingly said.

“Yeah, I also think that it’s a dump, but we’ve all got to make a living.”

“Look at him, hun!” Chris said a bit more cheerful. He’s saying something useful. Yeah, Bill, it’s a shitty world, but someone’s gotta do it, that’s what I always say.”

 

Bill was about to leave the counter, when Chris turned back and questioned him once more.

 

“Hey, Bill, I was wondering. Are you the owner of this place?”

“Yeah.”

“Then why’s it called Joe’s?”

“Joe was my father.”

“Family business?”

“Sort of. I inherited it after he died. Prostate cancer. He wasn’t so lucky.”

“Well, it’s not my fault, Bill,” Chris said. “But I have a feeling you’re gonna be just fine.”

 

Billy left his counter and went to back of the diner into the kitchen, while Chris waited for him. He looked for the shotgun, moving boxes around, but couldn’t find it anywhere.

 

“Hey Bill! What you doing back there? Just bring me the water first,” Chris yelled.

 

Bill couldn’t do anything but comply. He brought the water.

 

“Thanks, Bill. Could you bring the sandwich to the table?”

“Yeah. Sure thing.”

 

Jenny and Chris started talking again, while Bill searched for the shotgun.

 

“Do you think we should let him live, Jen?”

“I don’t know. I think so.”

“But what will we do with him afterwards?”

“I don’t think he’ll bother us!”

“Ok, then. We’ll do it as you say,” Chris said and leaned in to kiss her on the cheek.

 

Bill found the shotgun near some empty egg cartons. “Only one shell left. Shit!” This diner was full of bad memories for him. His father died in the diner, never wanting to quit his job, he even had a little bed set out in the back. In this same diner, his wife left him and he had to watch her walk out with another man around her arm. In his own diner. And now this! And the cancer! He looked at the shotgun again, gazing at the single shell stocked inside the barrel chamber. He decided to go there and try to kill them. To escape. He had nothing to lose. If they didn’t kill him, the cancer surely would. And he never really accomplished anything meaningful in his life. At least this could amount to something. He could see the headlines: “Cancer-stricken diner owner foils murder attempt”. Maybe if he made the headlines, he would have a better chance of surviving, a chance at better treatment, or maybe just have sex with one of those celebrity chasers before he died. He took the shotgun and the sandwich and exited the kitchen.

 

“Chris, I’m going to the bathroom,” Jen whispered to him.

“Are you feeling ill?”

“No. It’s not that. I just need to go to the bathroom”

“Ok. Take care. I’ll be here waiting,” Chris said lowering his head and just gazing at the table.

 

But she was lying. She wasn’t feeling very well. She went to the stall and started vomiting. Meanwhile, Bill made his way around the corner towards Chris. He was feeling nervous. He could feel his sweat pouring through the soles of his shoes.

 

“Bill! Just leave it on the table,” Chris said not looking at Bill.

“Here’s your dinner!” Bill exclaimed, while brandishing his 12 gage.

 

As Chris turned his eyes towards Bill, he was met by the single shell, bursting through the air towards him with unstoppable force. Chris tried to duck, but it was too late. It hit him in the head at close range, splattering his face across the diner booth. The projectiles also hit the light switch, engulfing the room in darkness.

 

Jenny rushed out of the bathroom and gazed in awe at the whole thing. Chris, or what was left of him and Bill with the shotgun above him. Bill turned towards her:

 

“Lady, I don’t want to hurt you, but I will shoot!” He was bluffing though, he had no bullets left.

 

Jen just stood there, looking towards Chris, incapable of doing anything else.

 

“Look. I will just leave,” Bill said, while slowly touching her right shoulder, as if trying to establish some human contact.

 

In that instant, feeling the hand that murdered Chris on her arm, Jen simply snapped. Something feral awoke inside her. The desire to avenge the one she loved. She took out the knife and stuck it with anger and hate in Bill’s stomach, twisting and turning it in every direction. Bill fell on the floor, desperately trying to cling to her. But it was useless. He already lost too much blood. This is how it was supposed to end. Being gutted like a pig by a woman in his own diner. For the second time. “Fucking diner!” he muttered clenching his teeth in a last gasp.

 

Jen dropped the bloodied knife and the front door opened. A tall man wearing a golf hat entered. He looked around and saw her in the light with her hands all covered in blood. The man slowly made his way towards the bodies, carefully scouting the scene. He looked one more time towards Jen and picked up the sandwich. Just like that, he turned around, opened the door and left. Jen stood there, paralyzed. When she woke up, she was standing in a room painted in blood. She noticed that her shoes were ruined. She got down on her knees and cried.

 

 

 


Submitted: April 20, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Alexandru Manole. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

Courtney Fields

Nice work, this is really good and I hope you continue to write, I look forward to maybe reading some more of your works:) I hope you can check out my poem too it's called "Freedom at last".

Fri, April 20th, 2012 1:31pm

Author
Reply

Thank you, Courtney. I will check out your poems.

Alex

Sun, April 22nd, 2012 9:04am

jmurch

I really cannot find anything bad in your stories. You have a strong writing voice, and you have good knowledge of character. I have to admit...You are one of my favorites on here.

Sat, April 21st, 2012 5:26pm

Author
Reply

Thank you very much for your comment.

Alex

Sun, April 22nd, 2012 9:03am

Facebook Comments

More Literary Fiction Short Stories

Other Content by Alexandru Manole

Short Story / Literary Fiction

Short Story / Literary Fiction

Short Story / Literary Fiction