A Greasy Spoon Interlude

Submitted into Contest #110 in response to: Set your story in a roadside diner.... view prompt

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American Lesbian Fiction

A Greasy Spoon Interlude

Georgia tucked into her mixed grill with gusto; I had always envied her appetite. It was mid-July and hot as hell. The diner was by the roadside of interstate 55, a lot of miles from everywhere. I had met Georgia in college, where she was taking a master’s in veterinary studies, and I was majoring in biology. I loved her from the moment I set eyes on her. She walked straight up to me, introduced herself, and asked me my name. From that day forward, she insisted on calling me Abi-normal instead of the usual “Gale-force everyone christened me on finding out my name was Abagail.

Georgia was five feet three towards my five feet five inches. She was also my first truly lesbian lover. Our love affair was a loosely jointed thing between us; unlike with guys, we did not need to claim ownership of each other’s bodies or sexuality. The summer we both graduated, we made a spur of the moment and sparingly mapped out plan to go hitch-hiking around the southern states of the U.S.A we called home. Now, six weeks into our road trip, we found ourselves almost broke and famished in Lottie’s Lucky Diner. How such a petite girl as Georgia could put away so much food, especially of the wrong kind, was beyond my comprehension, but she did regularly. I was also at a loss to explain why Lottie had called her diner lucky; the only answer that came to mind was the mischievous thought that maybe it was lucky because so far it had escaped the attentions of the food safety inspectorate.

It was much too hot for me to eat at two in the afternoon, so I watched Georgia eating for a while and then turned my attention to the staff and other diners. Lottie was nowhere to be seen, and the spotty kid flipping the burgers kept all his attention on the grill plate and whatever Country & Western station he was listening to through his headphones. It was an imposition on him whenever a customer rang the counter service bell. Not that there were many customers. Though running on maximum, the air conditioning units had long since given up trying to keep the diner cool. The diner was so close to the roadside every order was served with a free side order of interstate gasoline fumes. The pretty young waitress serving the food must have taken a vow of silence; she was so quiet in her work.

We needed to find work, and soon but for now, I had to sit quietly and listen to the never-ending drone of the passing interstate traffic. I almost envied burger boy his headphones. Almost, but I was more of an earbuds person. They are discreet and unassuming. I scanned the large, laminated menu list pinned above the service counter. It was old and boasted a film of grease; I had briefly toyed with the notion of ordering the small salad the menu advertised. But on seeing the salad offering, another customer was served, I decided it was best not to tempt faith. Instead, I turned my attention back to people watching. There were only half a dozen other customers, mostly middle-aged long-haul truck drivers. They probably used Lottie’s as a regular stop off to break the monotony of their journeys. These were also the type of men we mainly relied upon for our road trip. Most drivers of those long-haul rigs were only too happy to offer a ride to a couple of pretty young female hitch-hikers. In almost all cases, the drivers were genuine. The few who were not quickly learned we were armed and knew how to use those arms. In fact, it was one of the other diners, a truck driver named Harry, who was the man that had dropped us off at Lottie’s Diner an hour earlier that same afternoon. Harry Johnson had made record time on his haul from Kansas City to Orlando, FL. He had a few hours to kill before he could drop off his load of computer casings and pick up his return load of machine ball bearings. When he dropped us off outside, Lottie’s had told us if we were still around when he was leaving, we were welcome to continue the journey in his truck with him. Georgia finished her grill by using the last piece of fried bread to mop up the last of the now congealed grease from her plate. Once done, she sat back, let a loud burp, and wandered over to the jukebox in the corner. A quick once-over of the available tunes confirmed both our earlier suspicions. Old country & western standards the lot of them. Plenty of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Dollie Parton, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Hank Williams Snr. Patsy Cline etc. Not a bad selection if you are contemplating suicide, but they didn’t really float our boat. From there, Georgia next went over to the pool table and, turning to me and grinning wickedly, called out so that everyone could hear, “how about we break some balls, girl.” It really didn’t go down too well in our present location, but she didn’t care. I got up and went over to the pool table, where Georgia challenged me to a best of five series of games. We paid five dollars to “burger boy,” whose name was actually Joe Williams, and he retrieved the pool balls, some chalk, and a couple cues from behind the grill counter. It turned out that Joe was an ex-con, and about the only job he could manage to get was flipping burgers here at the diner. Lottie was his aunt, and she had given him the job as a favor to his mother, Nancy.

Georgia was somewhat a pool shark, and she almost always beat me when we played. Today though, I was holding my own against her. It wasn’t long before we had us an audience of bored truck drivers who were knocking great sport out of watching two young women dressed in faded cut-off jeans bending over a pool table. Eventually, Georgina ran out three two winner in our best of five contest, and I had to leave the table. One of the truck drivers, Jed Coulson, challenged Georgia to another best of five, so I left her there enjoying all of the attention around the pool table; she always had been an attention whore. In small talk, I went back to the service counter and engaged “burger boy” Joe and the waitress, Lee-Ann Ormsby. It turned out Joe and Lee-Ann were second cousins. She was seventeen and had just discovered she was pregnant and unsure of who the father was. They both hated their jobs, their lives in general, and the god-forsaken place they had been unlucky enough to be born in. Joe, who was twenty-seven, had just done time for assault and breaking and entering. They were not his first offenses. Both knew they were born on the wrong side of the track, and life had very little to offer them. Life was something that was happening somewhere else while they had been left at the now-closed ticket counter.  

The onlookers at the pool table were now getting very excited, bets had been placed on the outcome of the pool match between Georgia and Jed Coulson, and Georgia was leading two one after the first three frames. This left Coulson needing to win all two of the remaining frames to avoid the humiliation of taking a beating from a mere girl. The money and crowd were on Georgia’s side because Jed was a local bully and troublemaker and generally disliked. The next frame went down to the black, which Jed fluked to win and tie the match at two-all. Now it all came down to the deciding frame; it was a tense frame with neither player taking chances and playing cagily. But Coulson, who had been drinking, made a bad mistake about halfway into the frame, leaving Georgia the chance to clear the table, which she did with comparative ease to win the match and thirty dollars in bet money. There and then, it all kicked off. Jed Coulson was a bad loser and was not taking his humiliation lightly, so he lunged at Georgia with his pool cue and caught her a sharp blow to the side of her head with the butt end of it. She crumbled immediately but to make matters worse, she hit her head off the side of the pool table as she fell. This double trauma to the head caused Georgia to suffer a severe concussion and impacted heavily on her vision, speech, and coordination for many months to come. It also ended our road trip and led to the break up of our relationship.                 

September 08, 2021 16:30

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16:22 Sep 12, 2021

You know what... I like it. The ending kept me on a very pied opinion for a few seconds, but, with how well you built up the final scene and even the secondary characters, I have to say: it was perfect. This reminds me a lot of Raymond Carver, had he fleshed out any of his work. I would be elated to read more from you, Liam. I loved this.


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