Scene from a Diner at the End of the World

The first paragraph of today’s piece is a writing prompt given to me by my buddy Rob. Thanks, Rob!

Our restaurant is utterly empty, sterile from the counter to the back wall. It is lunchtime, but nobody has come in, and my apprehension gestates in my belly like meat more questionable than the stuff we serve.

“You know, old man Wing’s lucky I’m such a responsible employee,” Jack mutters.

I say nothing. Jack has already given this speech at least ten times since Sally and Bryan hadn’t shown up to replace us, and since then irritation had given way to confusion had given way to the beginnings of fear.

“What if, like, the world ended?” I ask.

“Huh?”

“Like a zombie apocalypse. Or nuclear war. Or maybe it was the Rapture.”

“That’s stupid,” Jack said with a snort.

“Yeah. It is. But I haven’t even seen someone walk by the window. The streets are empty.”

“You’re stupid. Don’t be stupid.”

“You’re a dick.”

“And you’re a pussy.”

“Alright, tough guy. Why don’t you go out and find somebody? I’m sure Wing would love you being proactive about bringing in customers.”

Jack’s eyes dart towards the door. He licks his lips, a snake tasting the air. “Yeah, alright. See you in a minute, pussy.”

“Fine.”

He leaves. I start counting.

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