Faye’s Diner by J.T. Seate was placed third in the 2012 Story Quest Short Story Contest, and was deservedly given a winning award. This subtle horror piece explores the theme of the uncertainty of death, in a ‘down home’ setting. GH
Faye’s Diner was a haven for old timers. They got together to play games; talk about who’d died, or how the world was going to hell in a handbasket. The biggest event ever at Faye’s was when the twenty-one year young Judy Beth Dinglehooper came into the place, climbed on a tabletop, and took off her clothes to encourage donations for a one-way ticket out of town. Wearing only her red slippers, she’d raised enough for at least a start.
Three years had passed since that classic morning. The table she’d climbed on top of was still held in an odd kind of reverence by those who knew the story. Those who’d been in the diner for Judy Beth’s performance marveled at how quickly those three years had flown by. Lord, how time flew for old duffers.
By nine o’clock in the morning, the dining room smelled of men and fried onions. The usual crowd passed along greetings while Faye made the rounds with her coffee pot. The men ranged in age from mid-sixties to eighty, mostly Social Security wards. Josh Potts and the slightly cross-eyed George Fraily were already shoving dominoes around a plastic checkered tablecloth while they sipped coffee and waited for their orders of ham and eggs. Josh nibbled on the thumbnail of the hand holding a domino while George patiently waited for him to make a play. Josh’s turd-brown, porkpie hat, with the brim bent up in front, perched atop his head in glaring conflict with his faded blue overalls. He was a character seldom at a loss for words.