Excerpt from The Pork Chop Diner- Talyn Herson
His first thought was that the station had been vandalized. The light from the back of the walk in refrigerator illuminated empty shelves. One of the cooler doors hung askew from broken hinges and there was a large brown stain on the floor in front of the service counter. He could see a few open packages of chips, candy, and other staples scattered on the floor, as if someone had been rooting for a snack they couldn’t quite name.
There was no clerk. Rick didn’t believe anyone had worked here for quite some time. There was a thick layer of dust settled over everything; the only tracks through it were the tiny scratches of mice. If it’s been abandoned, why was the juice still running the sign, he wondered, or the cooler? There’s nothing in there to cool? The thought that someone had continued to pay the power bills on an empty building, simply for the appearance of being open, crossed his mind sending a shiver down his spine. He turned from the door and looked out over the town. Where were they getting their gas? It was not impossible to think there was another pumping station nearby but a town without a working gas station was… well… “weird.”
He shrugged his shoulders and headed back toward the car where Angie waited for a report. He didn’t want to upset her any further so he decided it would be best not to tell her what he had seen in the station. They would simply head back to one of the other businesses, find someone who could point them out on the map, and then leave this town behind them. Later tonight, if there was no rain, he could tell her what he observed in a ghostly tone around the campfire. He was sure once they were safely back, she would get a kick out of the whole situation. For now, he didn’t like the look in her eyes or the way she was biting at her nails.
“He must have stepped out.” Rick nodded toward the parked car.
“What do we do now?”
“I saw a diner on our way in. Porky’s or something. Let’s give that a try.”
She was still chewing away at the ends of her fingers. It took considerable will power not to tell her to knock it off.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather just keep driving to a better town?”
He considered this. “We’re almost out of gas. I don’t know when we would find another fill station, or which way to head looking for one. I think we should try to get some directions and something to eat. I’m starving.” He angled the car back toward the restaurant.