Masturbating in the corner booth, she held her left leg high as she wriggled and squirmed in front of two dirty old truckers. Ice cubes were shaking inside the tea glasses as she finished. He asked the man running the counter if she was a regular at the diner to which he spit on a glass and rubbed it with a cloth.
As most diners he had been in don’t encourage indecent behavior, this one had to have been the exception. And as far as he was concerned there need not be another.
He probably would not have stopped, but his balls were sticking to his thighs prompting him to get out somewhere and dry them out. Besides, no one was the wiser to the heist he had just bagged.
And with all professions, a cat burglar usually has a mighty few friends.
Among thieves, the word on the street is that traveling through Texas is the worst place to get caught. Personally, he just didn’t give a damn.
“What will it be sugar?”
Candy was the name stamped on the crooked pin that hung lopsided just about nipple down on her otherwise uneventful grout. And wouldn’t it be Candy that every louse would want?
Thinking he was cute, “So which will it be–sugar or candy, babe?” He turned his head to watch as the masturbating temptress went for the gold with her ankle crooked with an angle providing a wide crotch shot.
“You can catch a handful of crabs,” she paused to point at the ejaculation booth, “or take your chances with the menu. Either way, I couldn’t give a fuck less.”
There have been a few times in my career that I have been taken by surprise and once was my own fault. But it seemed just and right to let this one go. “Whatever you say babe but can I have a coffee to start.”
As she shifted and tilted her head a bit soon, I realized there was craziness there in her reaction. It was something just downright odd. The only way he could describe it now is just supernatural or space quid queer. It wasn’t anything that he could see, smell, taste or hear. It was the manner in which his guts gave way on him a deafening fear.
“Drink up, we close at one.”
Dragging his cup from the edge, he placed both hands on it as if to blow on it. But the cup was cold. He started to call after Candy, but he noticed the clock showed a quarter ‘til one. No point in asking he figured. He got what he got.
A troublesome group of bikers were sitting in a far booth to his right. They had been eyeing him and cutting the padding on the booth since he had arrived. The diner floor had fluffs of cotton reamed out. And it did not occur to him that there wasn’t any decent folk about.
At the end of the bar, where he firmly sat, two scrawny chicks ate greedily at what looked like canned dog food with eggs and smelled a little worse. He figured they were junkies and anyway who really gives a crap.
There was a smiling man sitting in a chair behind the register. The proprietor, as it were, had been there since he came in. Above his head there was a plaque on the smokey-yellow wall that read: Get what you came for and get the Hell out!
“Not much for business, are you?”
When the proprietor stood up from his chair, he could see how big he really was. “You got five minutes, before we close do you want anything else?”
The proprietor was staring down at his coffee which he had barely touched. “Nope, nope, this here coffee is about as good as it gets. I think I will just finish up here and be on down the road.”
The strain of his laughter was deep and disturbingly crass. “Bet your ass you wish you could.”
Now, he had taken an ass beatin’ in his day, but he was about to try and stiff the guy on a cup of coffee that had given swamp resin a good name.
“How much do I owe you pal?” I tried to be real cool.
“That depends on what you got to trade?”
“Well, I have a nice Jackson in my pocket that should do the trick.”
The jugular in his throat bulged out with each deep-chested laugh. “Perhaps, you didn’t hear me…” he saw Candy laughing it up too, “I asked you what you have to Trade?”
His particular interest in payment struck me odd. Was this a scam or was he damn sleep deprived and going half mad?
“Not sure what you want me to offer.”
The bikers were jumping up and down in the corner booth howling at him like some sick dog that just got run over by a Mack Truck.
There taunts were louder and crazier. “What ya got? What ya got? What can you trade for what you got?”
He slammed his coffee cup on the counter. The hoots and howls slowed to a stop.
“Here’s a damn twenty keep the fucking change.” He had meant it too.
But the proprietor’s big arm grabbed him under the cuff, and he had never been one to have another man lay hands on him without there being some bad scuff. “Look fellar, I am done.” But his hand did not release at first. “Let me go on my way, here take the money and we are square.”
He gritted his teeth and his jaw drew gravel. “WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO TRADE?”
No one in the joint let out even a whisper. Everyone was waiting to see what he would offer.
“I am not sure really. If money isn’t what you want, then what else can I offer?”
Hysterical laughter filled the otherwise quiet diner.
“What can he offer, he says?” The big man’s mocking tone made him mad, and he wanted to hit him in his glass jaw or kick him in his square ass.
“Look fucker, there is no need for this. Just tell me what you want to trade, and I will tell you if I got it?” At this point, it did not matter how ridiculous this whole scene was becoming because he was ready to go.
“What do I want?”
The bikers in the corner had been twisting and curling their way towards the counter, and now two of them were sitting on top of it.
“Oh, no son, you have it all wrong. It is not what I want but it is more of what you must trade.”
The singing chorus of bikers began, “what you must trade!”
“There ain’t gonna be no dick blowin’ or ass smashing if you know what I mean?” I flicked out my little pocket blade.
Oooohhh! Hahhahahah. Laughter broke out at the end of the bar.
“Now, now. Let’s keep this civil.” The smiling man kept smiling as he pointed at the coffee pot. “Someone had to make your coffee, now someone has to make the hamburger for tomorrow that’s all.”
Now at this point, he was watching the bikers looming over the junkie chicks still sitting at the end of the bar. It was obvious that the two were stoned beyond the stars.
“Why don’t you do it then, I mean this is your diner?” I figured it was the most logical thing I could say given the circumstances.
The smiling man stopped smiling.
The bikers stopped the wolf howling and all stared at him. Even the masturbating chick in the corner booth with the two dirty truckers stopped mid cum.
“Because I am the owner, and that is just how it has been done.”
Looking around, there weren’t that many options. He could fight his way out of the diner, or he could make the hamburger. The way he had it figured was that the hamburger would hurt less.
“Ok. Pal how much hamburger are we talking about?”
The smiling man started to laugh looking down the bar. “Oh, I would say there is about a hundred fifty pounds of it without the bones more or less.”
The bikers began a chorus, “a hundred fifty pounds…more or less!” Their shrieking laughter was at a decibel reaching his ear drums that ached.
“You heard him boys, we’ll have hamburger meat tonight!”
Amidst the merriment, the bikers, the smiling man, and the masturbation station all began to dance and sing crazily about the diner floor. He thought once to make a run for the door, but he knew it would be a battle or worse if he didn’t make it out.
So, he watched, along with the junkie chicks staring wide-eyed and unblinking, as they all slapped each other and gaggled to bit.
“Enough, already!” He was an impatient man. “Let’s get to this making of hamburgers so I can be on my way.”
“You heard him boys, let’s make some hamburger!” The bikers grabbed up both of the junkie chicks dragging them stoned and screaming by the hair of their heads towards the steel swinging doors.
“Hold on a minute, you want me to make them into hamburger meat? That is just insane, not to mention illegal!” He was about to commit a crime that he had no stomach, excuse the pun, to make.
The smiling man sat down at the counter next to him and spoke, “You said you wanted to leave right?”
“Well, here is your way out. Make our hamburger meat for tomorrow and your trade will be complete.”
“But…” He knew there was nothing logical he could argue that would possibly make sense, “I can’t just kill them and chop them up. Someone will miss them or worse I will be convicted of killing two innocent women no less. And for what? A cup of coffee costs at most a buck thirty-five.”
“Listen, I have seen your type before,” the smiling man paused, “you waltz in the diner here and order something that costs.” His face was still smiling but the creases around his eyes pinched tight. “It never occurs to anyone that someone has to make the stuff!”
“Why can’t you make it or one of your goons?”
“Because our job is to serve it to you,” he smiled a wide toothy grin, “it is the lonely stragglers job to make the food in one given respect. You see, your actually pretty lucky, I mean given the time you arrived. Had you gotten here earlier, then you would have been the one served.”
From the back he could hear the two junkies crying and begging for their very lives.
“Well, I guess you have a point there pal, I am a lucky dude.”
The smiling man led him back to the kitchen where a blood stained mess was about to occur. He held out a butcher knife to him saying, “Cut their throat first.”
By LaVa Payne