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Flash
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Honorable Mention
Flash Fiction by Renee K. Nicholson


 

 



Choose Word Smitten for Renee's Diners ClubThe Diners Club
by renee k. nicholson
Honorable Mention
2003 Storycove Flash Fiction Award


Across the table,
Marty has an elfin face, full of mischief, hair clipped short, turtleneck peeking from beneath a rugby, over his shoulders, baggy barn coat, worn collar. Sam is Marty’s friend, baseball cap tight to his face, layered shirts.
I’ve happened into Marty’s pub with Jenn, Eileen, waiting for “the storm of the new century” to begin. The locals anticipate inclement weather with the excitement of a minor holiday- like Columbus Day- where they don’t necessarily celebrate but stay home from work.

Sam and I are insta-friends, the way West Virginians are when they meet each other outside of God’s Country. Ohioans say the best West Virginians always move across the river. We’re hill people, this horizontal terrain numbing us like a long, dull headache. Sam is chain-smoking Marlboros.

“I’m trying to be healthier,” he says. “I switched to Ultra-Lights.”

A TV set hung over the bar charts clouds crossing a map – Illinois, Indiana, and then almost to Dayton- with the precision of Magellan. Two hours and the sleet, followed by snow, will descend. Driving will be reduced to inching along ice-packed roadways. While we sit around a table in the bar, people stock up on staples at Kroger.

I saw them as I drove over.

We aren’t the only people here. A drunken lady nestled on a barstool slides off, inebriated, ambles to the restroom. On the return trip she stops, says, “Your hair is magenta” to Jenn, who betrays annoyance with an amused smirk.

“Eggs and kegs,” announces Marty, garnering an enthusiastic grin from Sam. “Come along on Saturday.” The invitation reminds me of Morgantown, game day, hills filled with RVs and beer at six in the morning.
Eileen shifts on her stool, rakes her hand through short stalks of hair, taking it all in.

“Eggs are best from diners,” I say, remembering Ruby’s and Ketchy’s, a family owned, ten-tabled greasy-spoon serving the best fried egg sandwiches, heavy on Tabasco.

“Where are all the diners?” asks Sam, and we filter into an imaginary booth at a restaurant with no signage but a giant E-A-T.

“I love diners,” says Eileen, picking the cheese on her personal pizza.

“I love diner coffee,” says Jenn, who then takes a swig of her beer, a draft Harp, golden and potent.

“Eggs as greasy as chips.” Marty winks. He dislikes anything corporate. “We travel around, eat only at diners- no chains.” Marty is ring leader. “We rate them like fancy restaurants.”

Jenn chimes, “Chef-O-Nette,” lips cracking apart with speech and smile, a favorable nod from Eileen. “It’s a five-star joint.”

“That place on High,” says Sam. “Waitresses in polyester get extra points.”

“There’s a place outside Kokomo called Eat Here And Get Gas.” New initiates, our minds travel vast expanses of flat in search of 24-hour truck stops.

Marty smiles, leaves us dreaming of an Airstream trailer’s romp, cross-country, searching out fried eggs, fried chicken, homemade pies, skirting a storm that must come through.


 



We're delighted to present this flash fiction work by Renee K. Nicholson who is also a workshop member at Zoetrope Studios.




::Word Smitten's Annual TenTen Call for Fiction::
::the deadline to enter next year's competition is July 1, 2004::
::submission for reading and registration begins May 31 each year::
::this short story contest awards $1,010.00::


 


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