The Charger (495 Words)

Checking the time and my speed I’m about four hours away, meaning I’ll get there with plenty of time to spare. My reputation is on this one, I can’t afford to be late. Not if I ever want to work again.

A sign promising the best cup of coffee in the state flashes by, the diner just a blip on the horizon. I umm and ah as it grows ever closer before deciding I can afford a stop. I pull off the highway and into the deserted car lot. Picking up my hat off the passenger seat I leave the car to click and hiss itself cool. It’s seen better days but I wouldn’t trade it in for all the oil in Texas.

The place is empty save for the pink tabarded waitress and the fat cook who’re chewing each other out through the serving hatch. I slide into a booth near the window so I can keep an eye on the car. Without even turning round to acknowledge me the waitress says “I’ll be right over hon.”

She finishes her conversation with the cook with a snotty “well I’ll ask him then” and sidle’s on over to me. Her name badge says Jolene, the slink in her hips and the bubble-gum she’s chobbling says she’s young at heart, the crow’s feet say young was quite a while back.

“What can I getcha hon?” She drawls at me.

“Coffee and a slice of pie ma’am.” I say, adding a bit of twang to my voice, trying to throw her off.

“Apple ok? Fresh baked this mornin.”

“Sounds good to me.” I smile at her from underneath the brim of my hat.

“Sixty nine charger eh? Don’t see many of them about no more.” She says as she scribbles down my order. “ ‘Specially on Dakota plates, y’all a long way from home hon.”

Still smiling I ask her where the rest room is; she nods her head towards a door at the back but keeps yabbering at me. “Earl used to drive a Daytona; he said you was in a 500. Boy’s as dumb as a brick, but he makes good pie.” She smiles at me and says she’ll be right back with my order and slinks off towards to the counter shouting. “I told you it was a sixty nine, you don’t know jackshit.”

I get up out of the booth and head to the restroom.  I take a leak and splash some cold water on my face, trying to calm myself down. Looking in the mirror I’m shocked at the tired old man staring back. “They don’t know nothing” I tell him. “They don’t know nothing.”

There was a time I’d have slaughtered them folks, I’d have enjoyed it too, but like the car my glory days are behind me. Besides I’ve got the state’s best cup of coffee and a warm slice of pie waiting for me and a deadline to make.

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