Tuesday Writing Prompt: Going Somewhere?

James Hanley

James Hanley is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.

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7 Responses

  1. Murali says:

    Jim froze, forcing himself to calm down

    Breathe dammnit! Breathe! Jim turned around to face the fat man, face stretching into a rictus of a smile. “I’ve just got one of those faces”

    The fat man grunted, “So, what can I do you for?”Report

  2. Pinky says:

    Jim said, “Just a couple burgers, fries, something to drink. Moxie if you got it.” He realized his mistake a moment too late.

    “Yeah, we sell Moxie here”, the man said slowly. “Not many places do. Mostly for the old-timers.”Report

  3. Burt Likko says:

    “No, sir, I doubt it,” Gary lied. “Less’n I fixed y’all’s car outside a Porterville, North Carolina once upon a time.”

    “Cannot say I’ve had the pleasure of visitin’ Porterville, North Carolina. Where is that, near Raleigh? ”

    “Close enough.” Gaining confidence, Gary winked and turned the left side of his mouth up in a half smile. Sheila had put her hands in her pockets, to hide them shaking, and Gary saw her eyes show fear. “Why don’t you run off to the ladies’, and I’ll get your unsweet tea for you?” She nodded, and the big man waved at the mostly empty diner.

    “Set yourself wherever you like,” he said nonchalantly. “Unsweetened for you, too?”

    “Yessir,” Gary said. He glanced at the television over the bar. News. That would never do. “Y’all mind if we find the race? I think it’s on ESPN.”

    In the ladies’ room, Sheila washed her hands for the fifth time.Report

  4. Stillwater says:

    A long look, before he spoke. “You all look kinda familiar.”

    A long look back. “Never been here before, pardner. You must have us confused with someone else.”

    Scratching his chin, “No, I’m sure I’ve seen the likes of you in these parts roundabout beforehand. Mebbe five, six years ago. And it wasn’t just you. I seen that pretty piece a candy you walked in with back then as well. Seems like you were more than just passin thru, too. ”

    “Mister, we didn’t come here for trouble. Or a bunch a silly assed questions. Just want some food’s all. Ya’ll serve that, dontchye?, or was my eyes mistaken about the words on the damn sign outfront? Now, till we engage in that transaction, which I certainly hope takes place for the both of us, I’d advise you keep them pupils from a’wanderin over places they got no business goin. Ain’t no good can come a that, I’m here to say. Take that as a, how ya call it?, a friendly reminder. Now, where’s the menu?”

    “Don’t sound so friendly to me, kemosabe. Here’s the menu – the special tonight is chicken fried steak with salad or chips. Pretty damn good if I do say so myself. But lookee here. Say they do. Just imagine – and stay with me here, I hope this aint too taxin for your lil ole brain to handle – that they do go awanderin when that pretty thing comes back and it sets my memory aflame. I’d like to know what you think might com’u’that. Way I see it, my eyes got a right to go whereever they’re inclined to go. It’s like a, natural reaction sorta thing. And then the synapses just start firing. That’s how I see it, mister. You? You want something to drink?”

    “I see it different. How bout two beers with water backs. From where I sit on this ole rickety stool ya prolly aint fixed in over a dozen years – someones gonna kill themselves in a drunken tipping accident on this sombitch, you mark my words! – I see you prying your way into business that aint your own. That woman is a person. She ain’t no hunka meat to slaver over or get inspired to remember by.”

    “Oh, I ain’t slaverin. Maybe a little drool, tho. The drool of curiosity, I’d call it. Here’s yer beers. Hey, here she comes. Watch my eyes, Tonto. Just watch where they go.”

    “Hey honey. Thanks for the beer. You order us some grub? ”

    “I ain’t got that far along. Been preoccupied with other matters.”

    “What’s that?”

    “It’s when your mind drifts to other thoughts than the ones directly confronting it, but that ain’t important. This here gentleman seems to think we look familiar to him. Seems to think we’ve been in these parts before. And he seems to have a candy eye for you as well.”

    “No, I meant what other thoughts have been you preoccupied by? You know how I like to listen to when you go on about your thoughts and dreams. Hey! Look at that! Damn I love those talking fish. Mmmm. This beer tastes really good.”

    “Eh, well, my mind was actually pretty fixed on what’s directly confronting it, actually. This here fella seems to think he’s seen us before, honey, even tho I keep reminding him that such a memory ain’t a good one to be havin.”

    “O hell, why you wastin your time with that? It’s Paul, baby. He knows us. You know that. He knows you know that. He couldn’t forget us if he was waterboarded by the CIA. He’s just wonderin why we split outa town so fast and have been gone for so long. Damn, these chips are good! Do you wanna tell him or should I?”Report

  5. Mike Dwyer says:

    “Really? How so?” replied the young man, reaching behind his back to adjust the .45 he had tucked into his belt.

    Sensing something amiss, the the man behind the counter gave a nervous smile. “Just familiar, like I’ve seen your faces somewhere before. Do I know you two?”

    “You knew our father,” said the girl coldly. “Of course, that was a long time ago and you were dressed in different clothes back then. A uniform. Black. With a red armband. Do you remember it?”

    The man’s smile disappeared. His eyes darted to the shotgun propped behind the kitchen door. A decade ago he might have made it there in time. Now? He would be dead before he took two steps.

    “How did you know?”

    The young man gritted his teeth and took out the pistol. A random meal here two years ago while passing through on his way to Gulfport. An odd item on the menu that seemed out of place.

    “Schnitzel. Who the fuck serves schnitzel in Mississippi?”Report

  6. Mike Schilling says:

    “I get that a lot. I must look like a buncha people. Anyway, we’d like a couple of burgers. Fries too, and some beer to drink.”

    The middle-aged man shook his head, as if to clear it, but continued to eye them both. “Yeah, maybe that’s all it is. What do you want on the burgers?”

    “Cheese, grilled onion. ” It came to Jim in a flash. “Maybe some arugula. If you got it.”

    “Arugu who?”

    “It’s a green. Great source of folic acid and Vitamin K.”

    “And, what you fry it?”

    “No, just put it in the bun.”

    “Man, I can see you’re not from around here.” He walked over to the grill and started to cook.

    Jim breathed an inward sigh of relief.Report