Nickelback to the Rescue
We made our way to the back of the 1950’s retro diner. Bright white lights shining down on gleaming chrome counter edging and dull linoleum. The windows were covered in cheap white slat shades, miraculously dust free, and the small booths sported red vinyl seats with the occasional rip under tabletops rubbed so much there were bald spots showing. The counter faced a long line of windows, wrapping around in an L shape. There was even a glass pie box with whole pies and pieces of pies on white, not chipped, china.
Mostly booths, at the windows, with chairs at the counter for the old men who needed the waitresses to be close enough to hear their complaints and comments on their tired dried up lives. I took the paranoid seat facing the front door, waiting for Mark and praying the white hair guy wouldn’t be coming through the door. Carrie and I could play it cool, but we were more than a little bit spooked.
The thought of the scary guy coming through the front door kept running through my mind like a bad rerun of Scream.
“Yeah, yeah, I know, but I’ll make it worth your while if you come out and get us.” Carrie was using her sultry voice, the one that purred sex. Mark was probably hard and grabbing his keys. I just shook my head again in amusement. Carrie could make men, and some women, melt with that voice; and she delivered on what her voice promised.
“What’ll it be girls?” The past middle age waitress asked. Her wrinkles were well pancaked in tan spackle, but the skin under her chin said yellow. A sick yellow at that. Her light colored eyes floated back and forth between Carrie and me.
“Water, for me, and a coffee.” I said
“A strawberry milkshake please.” Carrie chirped.
“Anything else?” She asked with a bored, but barely perceivable, condescending air. I had thought I was good at being a snarky bitch while waiting tables but I had much to learn from this woman.
“A menu?” Carrie asked
“Hungry already? You’ll be getting plenty of protein from Mark soon enough.” I snarked.
“Bitch!” This set Carrie off giggling, yet again, but she bent down over her phone to sext Mark so he didn’t think about the other passenger. Anything that would get him here faster, I was good with.
“I’ll be back with a menu in a moment for you ladies.” The waitress sauntered off with barely a look back.
“What’ll you bet it’ll be 30 minutes before we get water.” I sighed. My leg was jiggling up and down in nervous energy.
Carrie didn’t even bother raising her head to look at me. “Not taking that bet. Suckers only.”
“Then it’s a good bet for you.” I smirked.
Carrie flipped me off, then went back to the phone. My hands started to shake. I kept thinking of the shots through the back window of the car, glass splintering around me, the tires squealing. Close, very close. Haven’t been that close since… I could hear screaming curses… different memory.
“Be right back!” I got up quickly, heading to the bathroom. I didn’t wait for Carrie to acknowledge the abandonment.
The hallway was behind our booth, not very well lit, but had his and her bathrooms, just past the open kitchen doorway. Thank god no unisex toilets. I hated those things. I wanted to pee with others who sat down to pee, not be stared at by some guy faking on taking a shit so he could walk by me while I sat with my pants around my ankles. Fuckers.
The door opened on only moderately creaky hinges. Two stalls, that smelled heavily of Lysol with a whiff of urine, were against the left sidewall. A blank wall, with only one hand air dryer attached, on the right. The wall was white plaster painted in a light patina of grime. I turned to the cracking sink, turning the faucet to cold to throw water on my face. The mirrors were intact, just a little warped along the edges. I looked up from trying to erase memories and saw three small windows above the two stalls. Using a sleeve to dry off, I leaned hard to the left, trying to reach for the edge of the first window. I could barely touch it. I stepped on the radiator that was under the second and third window, between the sink and the stalls. The windows were rusted shut. Even if they had opened, Carrie’s bubble butt would not have made it out. Not even sure, my not starved ass would make it through those rectangular windows. Damn. No back way out through this room.
“Probably coated with eons of grease and dead flies, anyway.” I muttered, irritated. “Fuckers!” I smacked the thin particle stall partition. “Too cheap to put in decent sized windows for a person to escape through.” Yeah, nothing like being thwarted by cheapskate owners.
I looked up at the ceiling. Solid, not paneled, except for a small rusting metal vent. I chewed my bottom lip. I wasn’t even sure Carrie could have walked on the wires holding up a panel ceiling, without falling on her butt.
Stepping out of the restroom, to my right, was a door with an exit sign overhead. I didn’t see an alarm sign if the door was opened. I glanced left to make sure the hallway was empty, then moved to the door. I pushed it open cautiously. I could smell the air, heavy and sweet with flowers, grease, rotting trash and asphalt, but heard no alarm and no monitor. A second way out. Yippee. There were a few cars out back, behind the trash bin. I smiled. Even better. Hotwire one of those puppies and we were gone. Time to get Carrie, pay the waitress and get the hell out of dodge.
Taking another deep breath, I pulled the door shut.
“Hey! No sneaking out without paying!” A heavy hand slammed down on my shoulder spinning me around. My arms flailed as I came off balance.
“What?” I snapped. Shit! I hadn’t been expecting this as I got my feet back underneath me.
The towering jowly manager stepped into my personal space, leaning close and backing me into the now closed exit door. His nametag proclaimed him a fully-grown adult who went by the name Timmy. “I said, you little bitch, NO SKIPPING OUT ON THE TAB!” He yowled at me. Bastard had to be 6”4 if an inch. Luckily not all muscle, not even close.
“Glad you clarified your concern you fat fuck.” I snapped. The verbal attack took him back for just a second, causing him to take a half step away in surprise, loosening the hand on my shoulder.
“Look you little cunt…” Timmy snarled again.
“Keep your paws off me or I swear I’ll scream rape.” I glared up at him.
He sneered. “You probably give blowjobs for nickels in the bath rooms. You can start with me right here.” Timmy started to reach for me again, more toward my boobs then to my shoulders.
I swept with my right arm, under his incoming, grabby hands, stepping left, and then shoving with the left arm as hard as I could into the fat of his arm and his back fat rolls. This pushed him forward into the exit door.
I turned and didn’t quite run back towards the main dining room. I could hear a thud and yowl of pain, followed by profanity. Definitely time to leave!
“Carrie! We need to get…” I skidded to a stop rounding the corner. Carrie had gotten her strawberry shake and something extra. Short and well-dressed was sitting next to Carrie, taking a long slow sip out of her straw. She was leaning as far away from him as possible, not quite shaking. She looked at me with not quite scared eyes. Rat Face in a suit, looked up at me with small mean eyes and smiled, motioning to the seat across from him with a manicured hand. He pulled the straw out of the shake and licked it from top to bottom, with what was supposed to be a seductive tongue move. This guy gave creepy a whole new vibe.
I had half a second to throw a glance to my side of the booth, hoping Carrie got the message. Before I could open my mouth to ask if he got that move from Creepy 101 or gay porn Danny does Dallas, to make him loose his cool and come at me, a huge beefy hand landed on my right shoulder again. A projectile! Right on time too! I grabbed Timmy’s thumb and hand and stepped forward while twisting my hip. The follow through was perfect. The manager went into rat face while Carrie managed to scramble over the table to my side and then out of the booth. The loud yell from the shorter guy draws attention to our side of the dinner, not to mention the manager’s loud expulsion of air and dinner.
“Carrie! This way!” I grabbed Carrie’s arm before she can head out the front door and dragged her back down the hallway towards the exit door.
“What? Why not the front door?” She panted, but followed me down the hallway.
“Rat Face probably has friends waiting for us out front! Gotta go another way!” I yelled back to her.
“Fuck! How did they find us?”
I straight-armed the door bar, slamming it open, not bothering to answer the obvious. The door didn’t automatically close; the wide open tunnel funneled loud cursing from behind us, spurring us to go faster.
We ran, stumbling over loose gravel behind the dinner and cut left onto the road sharply. I glanced left and see headlights flip on, right into my eyes. Headlights. Bright and high like from a really big truck. I hear an engine go from purring to a snarling rumble. I swear I could see scary black eyes dripping bloody tears from behind the headlights. It was my turn to stand with the deer in the headlights look. A chill swept up my spine leaving me in goose bumps from head to toe.
Carrie grabbed my hand and pulled me across the street into oncoming traffic as tires squeal 30 feet away from us. Cars honk horns angrily as we cut across the lanes of traffic. Two cars swerved to the right of us, then we were into the oncoming traffic side. The rumbling truck brushed past, missing us by inches, so close that one oncoming car swerved onto the sidewalk just missing a fire hydrant. Truckzilla’s tires squeal doing a 90 degree turn into an alley. The brake lights glowed like nightmarish eyes, as the truck backed into the street and traffic. They were going to make another pass at us.
“Stop! Stop!!” Carrie screamed at the top of her lungs in the oncoming lane of traffic. Another truck came towards us, neither as loud nor as impressive as the scary other truck, it screeched to a stop almost on top of us. Carrie squealed in surprise raising her hands in front of her as if that would stop a one-ton truck from squishing her flat.
I tugged Carrie’s arm towards the other side of the road when the truck’s passenger door opens up.
“What the fuck are you into this time?!” A very angry male voice yells at us over the horns behind him from the piling up traffic.
“Go go gogoogogogogo.!” The word blended into one long wail of fear and adrenaline as Carrie dove into the passenger side with me on her heels. The door barely closed in time for Mark to start pulling out. I shot a look out the window to where the other truck had been. It wasn’t there anymore. I was betting that whoever was driving wasn’t going to give up on us quite so easily.
“That was so fucking awesome! You threw him into that suit guy!” Carrie adrenaline shock started to wear off.
“Fuck! Fuck!” My hands start shaking. I really need a clove cigarette. My hands are shaking so hard I fumble the lighter and then the pack of cigarettes the hoodie’s front pocket.
“Don’t fucking smoke in my truck Autumn!” Mark snarled.
“Go to hell, Mark!”
“Damn it, Autumn! Which fucking frat house did you piss off this time?”
“None!” The cigarette dangled from my lips unlit. I was drawing air through it just to have the taste to calm me down.
“Bullshit!” Mark was yelling over the stereo, which was impressive. Nickleback was always played as loud as the human ears could stand, rattling windows and metal two cars over. “You don’t get almost run over for nothing!”
Carrie reached to turn the cd player down.
“We saw a fucking shooting, and they know who we are!” I screamed back at him, clenching my lighter so hard the edge was cutting into skin.
“We saw a shooting. At the pot greenhouse, we were going to buy from today. We saw all four of the guys who were involved.” Carrie was a bit calmer then I was dealing with Mark.
“And they have our purses.” I added bitterly.
“What?!” Carrie almost started to cry. “Fuck!” She whimpered. The full implication started to soak in. Her hands began to shake. She reached for one of my cigarettes. I handed the pack to her without taking my eyes from Mark.
“So fucking explain to me why… No. Don’t bother. I don’t want to know.” Mark beat his thumbs on the steering wheel, but he wouldn’t look at me. I stared at his hands for a moment. He had great hands. Long fingers, perfect for making difficult bridges on his bass, and wide palms perfect for holding sensitive body parts. Damn those hands. I took another drag on my non-lit cigarette. Not the same, but it helped.
“They, whoever the murdering bastards are, guessed where the car would die. Hell all they had to do was follow the road into town and look for that POS car dead on the side of the road.” I began to fidget with the cigarette between my fingers.
“Poor Blue!” Carrie sniffled.
“Poor Blue!? Fuck that piece of shit. Poor us! They know where we live. We can’t go home!”
“What about Blackie?” Carrie was pouting at this point.
“We can’t go back, Carrie. Blackie the fish will be just fine.” I snapped. Carrie just gave me a pitiful look. It was like kicking a puppy. “Fine! Maybe James can feed him, but we,” I motioned to her and I “Can’t go back any time soon.”
“If this is some ploy to get back together, I’m not buying it Autumn. You are NOT staying with me.” Mark gritted this out through clenched teeth as his hands gripped the wheel tightly. He had such beautiful hands, for an ass.
“I wouldn’t come back to you or fuck you with a three inch cactus, Mark!” I snarled back. “We need a knight in shining armor. Too bad we got a joker instead.” Cuttingly cruel.
“Look you cunt…”
“I’m not the one who cheated; fucking some stupid blond co-ed!”
“I’m not out nailing other guy’s girlfriends either, Autumn!”
“You lying mother fucker. You brought home Chris’s girlfriend to the house. Drunk horny and looking to nail someone.” He turned his head to say a few words in his defense when the truck swerved under the tight grip he was keeping. Carrie squealed in alarm, as the lamppost from the street got very close very quickly.
“Shit!” Mark swerved back into the main part of the road with a squeal of tire.
“Fine. Once! But you were the one who kept fucking her long after that night.”
“Well she was better in bed then you could ever hope to be.” I put in every ounce of contempt I could in that statement. Wouldn’t want him to miss the insult.
Mark slammed on the breaks. “That’s it! Get the fuck out of my truck!” Cars honked behind us. Mark and I glared around Carrie’s ample bosom. The anger was palatable in that very small truck cab. Hell, the city probably wouldn’t have held the outrage in.
The cars driving around and flipping Mark off didn’t seem to faze him or break his death glare at me. Carrie got us moving again.
“Mark. Please. Just to the police station. For me. Please.” Carrie laid a hand on his arm with her melting blue eyes. Mark looked down at her hand. He didn’t shake the hand off, and he did take a deep breath.
“Fine. For you, Carrie.” His voice was less angry but still the words snapped out like gunfire.
I opened my mouth to add something even more cutting about him always ready for the next blowjob when Carrie’s hand slapped over my mouth. I glared, and she pressed harder. Bitch! I thought loudly. Carrie just smiled and winked at me. Good thing she was my best friend or I’d have bitten her two favorite fingers off.