By Nicholas Slade
“I can’t take this anymore.”
“What’s wrong, Kate?”
“Everything, Rose,” I said. “Nothing ever happens in this town. I have been working here in this diner for two years now and nothing has changed. Every day has its regular routine, day after day, and I’m just sick of it.”
“Well, you can’t really expect things to change just by standing around complaining about it, you know?” she said. “You’ve got to find your own path and walk it.”
“How many fortune cookies did you have to crack open to get that line?”
I knew she was right. Rose usually was about those things. But it still didn’t change how frustrated I felt. After college I thought I was going places, but instead I ended up stuck working at a diner in the middle of Hicksville, U.S.A.
“Sometimes, I just wish something would happen, anything at all.”
I heard the entrance bell ring. I went to greet the customer as I always do. He was dressed oddly. A little like Duckie from Pretty in Pink.
“Good evening sir, would you like a booth or a table?”
He pointed at me while pushing up his sunglasses. Why he was wearing sunglasses in the middle of the night, I’ll never know.
“A booth would be fine pretty lady.”
I walked him to his booth. He sat down and put his sunglasses on the table.
“Would you like something to drink?”
“For sure dudette, something hip and cool. Nothing gnarly, but something radical.”
“Whatever you say buddy,” I said with slight annoyance.
I walked back to the kitchen. What the heck is that guy’s problem? I thought.
I brought him his drink and set it on the table.
“Thanks pretty lady,” he said as he took a drink from his glass. “Whoo, that drink was outrageous, totally flash.”
“Excuse me,” I asked. “But what’s up with all the 80s lingo?”
“80s?” he said looking confused. “Oh. Well, this is a little embarrassing. I always get these two decades mixed up. I must look pretty ridiculous in this get up, huh? Well, I can fix that.”
He pulled out a strange looking remote.
“Time for a quick change,” he said as he pushed a button.
A light surrounded his body. I fell to the ground in shock. When the light faded, his appearance had changed. He was now wearing a brown suit and his hair was a lot neater. I looked around to see if anyone else had seen that, to make sure I hadn’t lost my mind, but there was no one.
“There, this should do the trick,” he said as he was fixing his tie.
He looked down and saw me on the floor.
“Oh dear, it seems I surprised you. Here, let me help you up.”
He reached his hand down to me and I grabbed it. I was still feeling a little shaky and sat down in the booth across from him.
“Okay, what the hell was that?” I asked frantically.
“Oh, that was my deluxe fashion switcher. Neat, huh?”
“Do you know how lucky you are no one was around to see that? If this wasn’t the late shift, this place would be full of people.”
“But no one did see it, so we’re all good.”
“I saw it.”
“Well, you seem like a nice enough person. I think I can trust you.”
“You don’t even know me.”
“Oh, that’s right, we haven’t been properly introduced. My name is Wells. What’s yours?”
“It’s Kate, but never mind all that. Just what the heck are you?”
“Oh, I’m just your average adventurer.”
“What kind of adventurer?”
“Time, my dear. Time and space.” He looked very impressed with himself.
“Wait a minute, are you saying you’re some kind of… time traveler?”
“Well, I prefer to be called a time adventurer, but if you wish to call me that, then, yes.”
“And you expect me to believe that?”
“You want proof? Well, alright.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a screened device and started typing on it.
“Your name is Kate Stein,” he said as he looked at the screen. “You are originally from Kansas, after college you left the state to start over, but became stuck in a dead end job at this diner. You long for adventure, but you don’t know how to go out and search for it.”
He looked up from the screen. “Shall I continue?”
“How could you know all that?”
“Time traveler,” he said as a smile flashed across his face. “So, do you really want it?”
“I never said adventure, per say.”
“Well, that was my word for it. But you do want a change of pace, yes?”
“Well, yes, I suppose I do.”
He folded his hands and paused for a moment. “Well then… why don’t you come with me?”
“With you? To what, the future?”
“The future, the past, anywhere you like.”
“I don’t know. This is just so much to take in.”
He reached across the table and grabbed my hand and smiled.
I can promise you one thing… it will never be boring.”
I remember smiling uncontrollably.
“Well then, what are we waiting for?”
He picked up his sunglasses and put them on. “Let’s jet.”
We got up and went for the door. Rose walked out and saw us.
“Where are you going, Kate?” she asked.
I looked back at her.
“I’ve found my path, Rose,” I said. “And now I’m going to walk it.”
“Well, good luck then,” she said as we ran out the door.
That was the last time I ever looked back and I don’t think I ever will again.
- - -
Nicholas Slade is a writer currently living in Florida. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to Florida in 2012 and is currently studying for his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. He has previously been published in Linguistic Erosion, Farther Stars Than These, and Yesteryear Fiction.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
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