A car drifted by outside, its lights slowly fading into the gloom.
“Are we going to see each other again?”
Maybe means no. She knows it means no and he does. He will focus on the yeah, it will get him through the night. By morning time he will come around. Everyone does. They stayed for a little while, making small talk and finishing their coffee before exiting and driving off in the night tide, leaving one car left in the lot.
“Hows it going Trout?”
“Dare I ask?”
“One witness dead, another refuses to talk.”
“…shouldn’t have asked.”
Trout finishes what remains of his hash brown, downs the last of his black coffee before rising from his seat and adjusting his hat.
“How much do I owe you?”
“On the house given your day.”
“Ain’t arguing with that. See you around kid.”
Trout left, the door snapped shut and he drove off into the night. The diner was empty now. It gave me some time to wipe down the tables and collect the cups and plates that had been left out. In an idle moment like this I took sometime to simply look out of the window. It was now the early hours of the morning and the streets were empty, the roads were deserted. Under clouded skies the street lights covered for the missing moon and stars. It was quiet outside, the silence broken only by the sound of litter skittering over the pavement, propelled by a slight night breeze.
By now I had turned my attention to mopping the floor. Given the dullness of the task I was soon lost in thought. I remembered the couple who had been in here earlier. I have seen that scene enacted plenty of times. Seen the other ending many times as well. In fact I have seen a lot of things happen in this diner. Relationships that have splintered, those that have grown. People getting what they want, losing something dear to them. All of the happy moments, and lots of sad ones. And some random things. Like Trout solving a case. Lot of things go down in diners and their ilk.
Its late now and I should probably close up. But I will give it half an hour. Some stragglers come in occasionally, looking for decent meal and a nice warm drink. 15 minutes pass.
5 more minutes pass.
5 more minutes and I see someone in the darkness ambling across the road, accompanied by the gentle hum of an engine as a solitary car travels down the asphalt. He gets closer and then I hear that familiar ring.
“What will it be?”
He sits down at the counter “Coffee, black and a short stack.”
“I have got all night, if you want to talk…”
“Well, it went like this…”
Inspired by Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks:
Image courtesy of the Art Archive: http://www.artchive.com/
Tried something different with this. Feedback as always is welcomed. Tarmac changed to Asphalt.