Dinner at Rosa’s

Sometimes jobs fall right into your god damned lap.

Paulie and Tosh were sitting at a booth in Rosa’s, a twenty-four hour diner directly off the highway in a town that had grown up only to serve it. The highway, not Rosa’s. In the same large parking lot as Rosa’s there was a Trucker’s Haven Quick Stop and Mini-Mart, two separate gas stations, a couple dozen trucks parked for the night, and a handful of prostitutes making their rounds. Across the street was a large but cheap hotel called The Cozy Shack, which Paulie and Tosh had been arguing about. Paulie wanted to stop for the night. It was almost midnight, they had been driving since before nine that morning, and they still had something like six hours to get to Miami, despite crossing the Georgia-Florida line a few miles back. Tosh just wanted to make a run for it and sleep when they get there. They wouldn’t be able to start poking around until evening, anyway, so if they got into town around four, they could sleep until midafternoon.

“We won’t get there around four,” Paulie said. “We’ll be too busy being dead after falling asleep behind the wheel and steering the car into the Everglades.”

“We’re not going anywhere near the Everglades.”

“Not the point,” Paulie said. He took a sip of his coffee and made the same wincing face he had made after every sip he had taken of the wretched thing.

“Why are you still drinking that?” Tosh asked.

“I paid for it.”

“It was a dollar. I’ll give you the dollar if you stop drinking it and making that stupid face.”

“It’s the principle of the thing. And now you’re just avoiding this all together. Maybe we won’t drive the car into the Everglades. Maybe it will be a swamp. Maybe it will be an orange tree, or Cinderella’s fucking castle. The point is it won’t be on the road anymore.”

“I’m not tired. I’m nocturnal, remember?”

“You’re also a terrible driver.”

“Fuck you.”

“How many accidents have we been in the past three years? How many have been your fault?”

“I feel like this is beside the point.”

“Can I get you boys a refill?”

The waitress was blonde, busty, middle aged, and shamelessly flirting with Tosh. As did most of the women they met. Tosh was annoyingly attractive. Even Paulie had to admit it, and it pissed him right off. Tall, broad shoulders, muscular, with this blond hair that did this attractive wave thing on his head and these blue eyes that were so bright they practically served as high beams. A lot of the women would start talking to him thinking he was a movie star or a model. The bastard.

The cherry on top of the annoying, gorgeous cake was the charm. Tosh was handsome. Tosh knew it. Tosh knew how to use it. He smiled at the busty waitress so his dimples came out and Paulie thought she was going to swoon right in front of them, dropping the coffee pot and the tray of pie slices she was carrying.

“I think I’ve had my fill of caffeine for the night, Charlene, but my friend here would love a top off.”

“What? No, I don’t, I’m-”

Charlene wasn’t listening to him. She wasn’t even really looking at him, or his coffee cup, gauging when to stop out of the corner of her eye while she eye fucked Tosh. Thankfully, she missed her mark and only filled the cup up halfway.

“Are you staying in town tonight, or going off onto that big, lonely highway again?”

“My friend and I were just arguing about that, actually.”

“Tosh.”

“I’m starting to think maybe he was right about-”

“Tosh, seriously,” Paulie said. His tone had grown dark, and when Tosh actually looked at him, he could see his annoyance had been replaced with something else. Something harder.

“Your six,” Paulie said.

Tosh turned to look over his shoulder and almost immediately became pissed off. He usually didn’t sleep with the woman who flirted with him. He’d never be out of bed if he did that. He had wondered, off and on, if these women who gave him the hungry eyes would be so keen to follow up on their desires if they knew why it was happening or what was supposed to happen afterwards. Probably they’d run, but there was a small, terrified part of Tosh that imagined that they wouldn’t.

Anyway, he was completely ready to bang Charlene. It had been a few weeks, it looked like Paulie was going to win the argument about staying (he was the one with the car keys in his jeans pocket), and Charlene looked old enough to not get attached. Younger girls and women, even into their early thirties, always seemed to have even a small hope that their one night of fun was going to turn into something else, no matter how much Tosh assured them it wasn’t before even taking off his shirt. These older women, though, upper thirties, forties, maybe divorced, maybe with kids, they knew the score. They weren’t looking for commitment with a total stranger, and they weren’t looking for complications. They were looking for one night of sex, preferably with someone who wouldn’t mind leaving early in the morning before they had to get work or get the kids to school. He could see that in Charlene. She’d probably kick him out before he could even doze off, claiming she needed to shower and didn’t trust him alone in her bedroom.

What he saw over his shoulder ruined all of his plans. He wouldn’t be driving south to Miami tonight, and he wouldn’t be making sweet sweet love to Charlene the waitress, either. He would be working.

Across the diner in another booth, a young woman in jeans and a black tank top was talking to a young man, a trucker by the look of him, all stubble and weariness around his eyes. It was clear from their body language that they had just met, and that they were doing the same dance that Tosh and Charlene had been doing. As Tosh watched, she ran a bare foot up his leg. The young man blushed hard but didn’t remove it. She had pretty much closed this deal.

Behind them ran the pane glass window that ran around the whole of the diner. During the day it looked out at the mini mart and the trucks. At night, though it was dark enough outside and bright enough inside that the glass acted as a mirror. In the reflection of that particular booth, the young man was drinking his coffee with no one and blushing over nothing in particular. The woman’s reflection had been swallowed up by the aether, apparently.

Tosh turned back and sighed. God damn it. He fucking hated vampires.


I got one of those constantly running water fountains for the cats and Bruce thinks its the devil. Anyway, you should subscribe.

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