“I can’t get any reception for my phone around here. The towers must be too far apart.”
“What do people around here do about that?”
“Talk to each other in person, I guess.” She was getting annoyed. “What’ll it be, mister?”
“Coffee black if it’s fresh. Otherwise, I’d like cream and sugar for it.”
He looked around. She knew his type. She could tell he noticed the place was empty and must have figured the coffee had been sitting on the burner all morning. A real detective.
“It’s fresh enough,” she said. She wasn’t smiling.
“People around here aren’t too friendly, are they?”
“It’s like anyplace else. Takes us awhile to warm up to strangers.
June set his coffee down in front of him. Before she could turn around he said, “So you’re June, huh?”
“That’s what it says on my name tag.”
“Well, June, how long have you lived here?”
“Are you writing a book, mister?”
“Hey, I’m just passing the time, which I have plenty of until I can get my car fixed. They tell me at that so-called mechanic’s across the road they have to drive to another town an hour from here to get a new solenoid. I’m stuck until tomorrow and can’t even make a phone call.”
June didn’t say anything as the guy—he was maybe forty-five, about her age—doctored his coffee with the cream and sugar she’d given him. She could tell he was interested in her, at least up to a point. She had a bad-news detector that went off whenever she met a man who wouldn’t be good for her. And it was screaming at her now. In fact, she was picking up something else—the kind of thing that goes right by a man but that women pick up on right away. She couldn’t put her finger on why, but this guy gave her a major case of the creeps. She had a feeling he was going to make another move. She was thinking of calling for Roy, the cook, but he was probably sleeping in the back.
“So what time do you get off? I notice you’re not wearing a ring.”
“Two things, mister,” June said. “First, I don’t wear my ring when I work, and second, you’re so far from being anybody’s type I’d appreciate it if you’d just leave before I have to call the cook out here. I don’t want this to turn into a discussion. Okay?”
The guy didn’t even look upset. He got up and left. She figured he must be used to pissing people off.
(Submitted in the 500-word maximum category.)