Loretta’s teeth smashed against each other as she aggressively scribbled down onto her notepad. The disgusting man in the blue plaid shirt licked his lips as he spat out his order. Every time he walked into the diner Loretta’s brown skin felt as if it were going to jump off of her and run away into the mountains surrounding the middle of nowhere diner. The man’s eyes penetrated her outfit as she tried to suppress visions of herself stabbing him in the neck with her pen.
“Is that all?” She swallowed, praying for the chance to get away from the man’s repulsive gaze.
“Yea, for now,” he winked.
Loretta almost screamed as she gripped her pen tighter and forced out a smile, “Great.”
Loretta let out a sigh of relief as she walked into the kitchen to find Paul stirring a big pot of chili. Paul was short and skinny with dark sandy hair. He was quiet but Loretta always thought he was a sweetheart. Loretta looked down at her watch. Damn it was only midnight, two more hours before she had to clean and close up.
Kelsey quickly stomped into the kitchen.
“If I have to get “a sweet tea with a pinch of lemon” for that woman one more time, I am gonna scream!” She exclaimed, walking to the walk-in freezer and coming back out with a bag of lemons.
“Ms. Winkle is in one of her passive aggressive moods again, I see,” Loretta shook her head.
Kelsey was taller than Loretta with long brown hair and long legs to match. Loretta always envied the way that the waitress outfit framed her tiny figure. Kelsey was beautiful and she never hid it.
“Oh she is way passed passive aggressive; the woman basically told me that the reason me and her son Sammy never worked out is because I dress like a slut,” Kelsey rolled her eyes.
“No, she still doesn’t know he’s gay,” Loretta smirked.
“She actually thinks him and Joey are just roommates,” Kelsey shrugged. “I don’t know how much clearer it can be.”
Loretta laughed, “I read this article for a psychology class at the community college once about how back in like the 50’s doctors use to inject gay and lesbian patients with vomit inducing drugs and make them watch slideshows of homoerotic images so that their mind would reject homosexual thoughts. It was crazy.”
“You are such a weird little nerd,” Kelsey laughed.
Paul turned to Kelsey and asked, “You see Henry tonight?”
“Why are you asking me?” she snarled in response.
Paul raised his brows.
“I told you, I’m done messing around with my boss,” she complained.
“I saw him in the parking lot when I was out on break,” Loretta laughed and turned to Paul. “Can I get a Tuesday Special for the asshole in the plaid shirt, please?”
“Are you talking about Tommy Green?” Kelsey questioned.
“Ugh, yeah, I can’t stand that guy,” Loretta cringed.
“What? He’s like the cutest guy in town and he’s the only one that’s got a brain worth a dime,” Kelsey exclaimed.
“Eww no way,” Loretta shrieked. “He is such a pig.”
“Yeah a beautiful pig,” Kelsey argued. “He’s tall, blonde, and those arms were built to carry a Queen.”
“You need help; serious help,” Loretta remarked.
“If he’s into you, you’d be lucky to get a taste,” Kelsey teased.
“Gross!” Loretta exaggerated. “I can’t stand guys who don’t understand that not every woman wants to sleep with him.”
“Other than you, every woman and a handful of men in this town want to sleep with him,” Kelsey cried. “You must got some weird taste.”
“Just because I don’t want a man who has looked at my boobs more times than he has looked at my eyes doesn’t mean I have ‘weird taste’. It means I have high standards.”
“Yeah well you keep telling yourself that Miss Thang and I’ll go climb Tommy’s high standard,” Kelsey laughed as she walked out of the kitchen with two glasses of water in her hand.
“You can do better, Miss Loretta,” Paul let out as he handed her a bacon cheese burger with a side of potato wedges.
“Thank you Paul,” Loretta smiled as she turned to exit the kitchen.
She took a deep breath, ground her teeth and walked out of the kitchen. As soon as she made her way from the back, Tommy Green was looking her up and down. She forced another smile and plopped the plate down onto his table.
“Here ya go, can I get you anything else? No? Great. Enjoy,” she vomited out as she rushed to another table in her area.
Tommy didn’t even have a chance to reply before Loretta was on to the next table. Loretta tried as hard as she could to avoid Tommy Green’s table for the rest the night, only bringing him a refill of water and the bill. His attempts to flirt or even grab her attention failed epically the entire night. Loretta almost felt accomplished as closing time came around and the last few customers paid their bills, left their tips and exited the diner.
As 2am approached, two men remained in the bar, Tommy Green and some strange white man in a cowboy hat and dark trench coat. He had been in Loretta’s section since midnight so Kelsey was doing everything possible to avoid eye contact with the man. Loretta approached the man who seemed agitated but she preferred him over Tommy Green especially since the man never really looked at her much, let alone her chest.
“Last call for drinks,” Loretta smiled. “We’re closing now, Mister.”
The man clutched his mug tightly and looked up at Loretta. His eyes glazed over orange and Loretta almost jumped over the counter as she backed away from the man. The man grinned as he stood up from his stool and crept closer to Loretta.
“I’m not here for the coffee,” the man’s grin widened. “I’m here for souls.”
Loretta tried to scream but something stopped her voice from making it out of her mouth as she froze against the counter. The man’s grin grew even wider, revealing rows and rows of sharp disgusting teeth. Before Loretta could react the man squeezed his slimy hands around her arms and sneered as he puckered his lips towards hers.
The sound of a plate breaking snapped Loretta out of her fear and the man’s grip loosened. Loretta watched as the man’s grin twisted into shock and he fell to the floor. Tommy Green stood over his body his plate shattered around the floor. He rushed to Loretta and held her in his arms.
“Are you okay?” He questioned caringly.
“Yes,” she whispered.
He looked down into her eyes and she gazed back at his. Maybe he isn’t such a bad guy, Loretta thought. Kelsey and Paul quickly rushed in from the kitchen and Loretta quickly jumped out of Tommy’s arms.
“Is everything okay, Miss Loretta,” Paul asked, a kitchen knife in his hand.
“Yes,” she said, stepping away from Tommy. “This creepy guy tried to attack me and…”
“And I saved her,” Tommy proudly boasted.
“Excuse me, I didn’t need any saving,” Loretta argued. “I had mace in my pocket and I was just about to whip it out and burn his eyes out.”
“Can’t you just say thank you,” Tommy remarked.
“Can you not be a caveman?” Loretta replied.
“Yea, so I’d hate to ruin this thing going on right now between you two but what guy are you talking about?” Kelsey asked.
“The guy right there on the floor,” Loretta searched around the room realizing the man was no longer unconscious on the floor.
“Where the hell did he go?” Tommy exclaimed.
“Hell precisely,” the man grinned as he picked Tommy up and threw him across the diner. His body crashed into a table breaking it as he landed.
“I’m here for your souls and I will have them,” the man grinned, his orange eyes burning as he walked toward Loretta.
Kelsey began screaming and Paul swiftly leapt in front of Loretta swinging his knife at the man with the orange eyes. The man laughed and punched Paul across the room. Loretta backed away from the man her heart pounding inside her chest. The man crept closer as Kelsey continued to scream in terror. Loretta thanked the heavens for Kelsey’s annoying and distracting scream as the man reached his hand out for Loretta.
“I wasn’t lying,” she confessed to the man who stopped right in front of her.
“Huh?” his menacing face shifting into confusion.
“I really do have mace in my pocket,” Loretta said pulling it from her pocket and instantaneously spraying the man in the face.
The man roared in pain and Loretta quickly kicked him between the legs and rushed to Kelsey. Loretta grabbed Kelsey by the wrist and dragged her into the kitchen. The two of them reached the dark kitchen and quickly hid behind the giant stove. Tears running down her face Kelsey squeezed Loretta’s wrist.
“What was that?” she cried.
Loretta took a deep breath and replied, “You know those old stories about the devil coming to town and buying rounds of shots for everyone in the bar and then stealing their souls when they’re all too drunk to know any better.”
“Yea but…” Kelsey sniffled.
“My uncle told me about a man with a cowboy hat and orange eyes buying everyone shots down at the old Barrel Pub,” Loretta confessed.
“You mean the bar that burned down when we were little?” Kelsey cried.
“Yea, my dad died in there,” Loretta confessed.
Kelsey began sobbing even more, “My mom was in there when it burn down.”
Loretta’s eyes grew wider, “I took a mythology class down at the community college and…”
“You are such a nerd,” Kelsey cried.
Loretta rolled her eyes. “And some cultures believe that until a child is seven years old their souls technically belong to their parents, meaning that their soul could be sold to the devil by their parents.”
“Why are you telling me this shit?” Kelsey sobbed.
“Because I was six when my dad died in that fire,” Loretta admitted.
“Oh shit,” Kelsey cried. “I was six too.”
Loretta’s face twisted with irritation. “I know that. Our birthdays are like a week apart.”
Suddenly the girls heard the kitchen door creak open. They could hear heavy footsteps stomp further into the kitchen.
“Your souls belong to me,” the man snarled. “There’s nothing you can do to keep me from taking what is mine.”
“Henry’s gun,” Kelsey whispered.
“It’s up at the front under the counter,” Loretta whispered back.
“He has another one in his office behind his desk,” Kelsey remembered.
“I’m going to go get it. I want you to go hide behind the big fryers,” Loretta instructed.
“I can smell your filthy souls,” the man howled, his steps moving closer.
Loretta quickly put her hand over Kelsey’s mouth trapping her yelp of panic inside. Loretta looked at Kelsey, put her finger to her own mouth and moved her hand away from Kelsey’s mouth. She quietly crawled into the darkness while Kelsey stayed behind. Loretta held her breath as she realized that the footsteps had ceased. She scurried across the large kitchen towards the manager’s office. When she reached the door her heart sank; it was closed.
Loretta slowly crouched up and clutched the doorknob in her hand. She quietly turned the knob, praying that it wouldn’t screech or squeak as she pushed it open wide enough for her to fit through. Loretta quickly entered the dark room and tiptoed to Henry’s desk. The dim street light shined through the window as Loretta reached the desk and quietly began digging through drawers. Her heart began doing backflips in her chest as soon as she found Henry’s pistol. Loretta carefully pulled out the magazine as if it wasn’t only her second time holding a gun. It was empty.
Loretta’s heart almost fell down to her pinky toe. Why the hell did Henry have an empty gun? She thought. She didn’t see any bullets in the drawer so she quietly crept to the large storage cabinet in the corner of the office. She slowly pulled the doors open and she screamed as Henry’s lifeless body fell on top of her. Loretta struggled to push him off of her. She put her hand over her mouth and backed herself against his desk. Tears streaming down her cheeks, she turned towards the door as she heard footsteps moving quickly towards the office. She was caught.
Suddenly the loud bang of pots tumbling to the floor broke her from her daze and she got to her feet and dug through the large storage cabinet. Thank you, Kelsey, she thought as she found an empty box of bullets in the cabinet. Loretta began to sob as she realized there was no hope of shooting the fiend. Kelsey’s cry for help quickly transformed Loretta and she rushed out of the dark room. Loretta almost tripped over a pile of dishes as she made her to the kitchen. She grabbed the heaviest pot there and shuffled through the darkness towards Kelsey’s screams.
Loretta froze as she reached the man pulling Kelsey up her by her hair and lifting her onto her feet. The man grinned presenting his sharp disgusting teeth. Kelsey continued to scream as she wrestled her hair out of the man’s grip. She quickly slapped the man and his grin disappeared as he threw her against the stove. Kelsey screamed in agony as her back slapped against the giant stove.
“Your mommy promised me your soul and I plan on taking what I am owed,” the man snarled.
“Hey shit head,” Loretta yelled from behind the man. “Its 2014 and we’re in the USA. Women have a say in what happens to their bodies, minds and souls.”
As the man turned around Loretta quickly swung the large pan in her hands down onto the top of his head. The man fell to the ground with a hard thud. Loretta raised the pot over head and continued to slap it down onto his head five more times. Her breathing became heavy as she handed the pan to Kelsey. Kelsey grabbed the pan and began hammering it onto the man’s head six more times until her arms stopped and she sat down against the stove.
Suddenly the kitchen door swung open and Paul rushed in, knife in hand. He observed the scene and put his hands on his hips.
“I guess that’s done then,” he coughed out.
“What are we gonna do with the body,” Kelsey finally let out.
After a few moments of silence Paul finally lifted his head and simply replied, “I burnt the chili last night.”
Loretta and Kelsey looked at each other and laughed.
The next afternoon the diner was busy with people; it seemed as if everyone had heard about the “break-in” the night before and everyone wanted to see the survivors and their “hero” Tommy. Or at least that’s how Loretta, Kelsey and Paul had told it to the police. To everyone in town the bar was robbed by a guy with a gun and Tommy managed to fight him off but not before the man left him with a black eye and a dislocated shoulder. Tommy didn’t really remember what happened but he was happy to finally be getting attention from Loretta.
“What can I get the hero?” Loretta smiled as she reached Tommy’s usual table.
Tommy smiled and replied, “Can I have the turkey chili special?”
Loretta twitched then quickly grabbed the menu from Tommy, “I’ll have Paul grill you up some steak, special for you.”
Tommy smiled as he watched Loretta strut toward the kitchen. Loretta smiled as she turned to Kelsey who was taking Ms. Winkle’s order.
“May I recommend the turkey chili,” Kelsey grinned. “It’s fresh and organic.”
Ms. Winkle nodded and handed the menu to Kelsey who strutted passed Loretta and grinned. Everyone seemed to love the chili that afternoon.