Friday, May 23, 2014
Diner (Blogophilia 13.7-No Points Extra Post)
Atlanta Highway seemed surreal. Asphalt and concrete stretched for miles in all directions and dimensions. Sensations of elevation and descent alternated as light posts and warehouses floated across his vision. The Toyota wasn’t a car, but a mutant space plane rapidly traversing this so called reality. The Pigs created this illusion of “Reality”. Jeremy smiled at the thought. It didn’t matter how many substances the Pigs put into him, he rejected this concept and had since the fire. All he saw was the illusion aw it was projected from the central location. Even this train of thought was a delusion. He knew that.
It was never mentioned in polite, or any other, company. The small, white room was too close of a memory for him to relive.
A gnawing sensation began to rise up from his gut. Hunger? Time won’t let me eat. There are things to do and plans to make. When did he eat last? At 3 sheets, whenever that was. He remembered absent mindedly gnawing on some wings the bartender gave him. Did he even order them? The memory of cayenne burning his lips and tongue came up to override the hunger.
The blonde harridan had been jawing silently over the bar while he ate. What was her name? Nancy Grace? What a misnamed spokeswhore Mother lived in her cruel and unfeeling eyes. Jeremy could tell she cared not a whit whether anyone was hurt by her poison. Had she started, as Don Henley put it, as a “bubbleheaded bleach blonde”. It didn’t matter. She was one of them, but one target at a time.
The city slowly faded from view. Lit parking lots were replaced by dense forest, punctuated with jewel like farm houses. The highway had been improved a great deal since the last time he had been out. It must be freeway all the way to Athens so those football fans have to be able to get their place of worship. Football was just another distraction to keep the sheep happy and occupied. A glowing indigo haze appeared on the horizon, while the asphalt seemed to blend into oblivion.
His vision began to flicker. The pain changed from gnawing to burning, as if his body was saying “pay attention to me.” He was going to have to stop. In the distance, there was the lit sign of a well-known diner chain. Carefully putting on the turn signal, Jeremy turned in. He glanced at his face in the rear view mirror. The hair was combed and the face was clean. But his eyes showed the toll of the last few days. His stomach barked again and he opened the car door.
“Hello Darkness, my old friend…” came from the sound system of a room lit brighter than the Day Room at the hospital. Irony is thicker than thought, isn’t it? Paul Simon himself would appreciate it. Two old men sat at the counter silently shoveling their food away. They looked like the living mannequins he had seen a store use for as a sales gimmick. Mechanically, the forks traveled from plate to mouth, over and over again.
Jeremy thought about joining them for a moment, but decided an empty booth was better. Grabbing a menu, he stared blankly for a few minutes. Jumbles of words rose from a mustard background, not making sense. Maybe he did have to eat after all. Squinting, he saw the picture of a large spread.
“What’cha havin’, Sweetheart?” A tired, shrill voice asked, the mouth working on a chunk of stale gum.
The sound shook Jeremy out of his thoughts and he looked up. The owner of the voice was white, youngish and fat. Stringy, dishwater hair framed a haggard face. “Twinkie” was the name on her uniform tag. She looked like she’d had a few of those, for sure. A cartoon character’s red legs peeked out from under the right sleeve. She smelled of overwork and poor habits, but who was he to judge? Jeremy guessed she had been here for all time.
“I’ll take the All Star Plate, eggs over light, with coffee.” Jeremy replied with a smile and as much confidence as he could muster.
Tubby wasn’t charmed. She turned and shouted the order to a large man with no teeth, using a coded language that reminded him of the Korean lady at the dry cleaners. Shrugging confirmation, a giant paw grabbed bacon from a stainless steel bin and threw it on the grill. Jeremy hid a small grin as he watched the meat scream as it lay shriveling and shrinking under the heat.
“Murray. He’s the one that should happen to. “ He said under his breath. A tingling sensation started battling his hunger and almost won. Looking he saw the waitress coming with the muddy joe. Tubby laid the cup down with four small packets of white liquid. Tearing the top off one of the packs, his thought train came back to his hunger as he saw the change in color. It was only cream in the most liberal sense of the word, but it did the job. A pack of sugar then disappeared into the muck and it was ready even for the likes of him.
As he drank from the cup of life, he leaned back on the bench. The turn off to the farm was only a mile up the road from here. Then there was a short drive down a dirt road. So how much risk was it to stop here? Not much, it will be a little while before he fires up his bacon grill. No one will think about him eating his lonely meal. This little piece of planning.
Closing his eyes, it felt as almost nothing had changed out here. He wondered if the farm had. If he remembered right, the farmhouse was on the left hand side of the little dirt road, only partially visible from the road. The driveway went over a small hill and then dropped down behind the house. The plan was to drive by the house and turn around in the next driveway, which was around a sharp curve. He would have a better view of the place coming the other way. The pasture on the far side of the hill behind the house intrigued him. It should provide a private area to test his theories as the process of revenge is refined. The tingling feeling returned. He was looking forward to the party, even if his guests of honor wouldn’t.
The focus was interrupted by the mixed smells of bacon and fat waitress. In a very bored voice, Twinkie asked if there would be anything else. Jeremy shook his head and she turned back to the old men at the counter. One of them was holding his cup as if it was a chalice to be filled. Pulling the pot from its burner, she topped him off and walked into the store room. Jeremy was still invisible to the world.