Long Beach Diner- a flash fiction story from the West Coast.

One of the more exciting things I’ve found since starting this blog is where stories present themselves. For the most part I am restricting myself to posting flash fiction stories based on or inspired in some way by my trips around the world with the airline. Unending source of ideas? Well, yes, but simply being somewhere different, looking at a famous sight, or listening in on a conversation in a foreign language doesn’t necessarily offer instant inspiration. Sometimes the spark just isn’t there. Perhaps this has more to do with my state of mind, (or jet lag), I don’t know. But I do know that after nearly 48 hours in Los Angeles this week, (well, Long Beach to be more precise), I was still looking for that one prompt for my story. I had been on a 30 mile cycle along the coast, eaten out a couple of times with ample people watching opportunities and walked around Long Beach itself. I even took a photo of a converted watch tower, which I may still use for a story, but still had no starting point which I wanted to use. Then, when I wasn’t even thinking about it, my story walked into the diner where I was having breakfast. My story literally presented itself to me on a plate. So, here it is, my flash fiction (and my #fridayflash entry) from LA, with thanks to the lovely people and food at the Long Beach Cafe. (Credit where it’s due I think).  I am off sailing in Greece this weekend for a week. No technology available, so in between pulling ropes (the right ones I hope), and dropping anchor, I shall dust off my notepad and pen and look for inspiration. Or perhaps it will just come floating by.

Long Beach Diner

The woman wrung her hands and slouched over the counter, her sheep-dog hair falling in greasy drapes over a thrift-store lumberjack shirt.

‘More coffee Bella?’

She looked up at the waitress.

‘Busy today, ain’t it?’

‘Convention’s on. More coming in now.’

The door opened drenching the counter in bright Pacific light.

Bella looked nervously at the booth on her left, but the waitress left it empty. She grunted. Wrung her hands. Sipped coffee.

Her shadow was thrown against the wall as someone else entered. This was her; she could smell her soap.

The newcomer took the empty booth and the waitress dropped a menu on the table, smiling at Bella as she passed.

‘Not long now hon.’

Bella glanced furtively at the booth, straining to hear the waitress take the order.

When her food arrived, the woman carefully split the pancakes between two plates and took one over to the counter.

‘Breakfast,’ she said quietly.

Bella nodded, eyes staring at the food. She counted to ten then began to eat; slowly; methodically.

As she left, the woman placed a hand on Bella’s shoulder.

‘Didn’t see you at the cemetery yesterday. It was Mom and Dad’s anniversary.’

‘I was with the Queen,’ said Bella, flinching.

Outside, the woman looked over the sparkling water to the red funnels of the Queen Mary standing proudly in line; beneath them, in the ballroom, danced memories of a wedding anniversary and two young sisters held hands as their parents entwined in a lost embrace.

Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA

copyright: flyingscribbler 2010.

2 comments on “Long Beach Diner- a flash fiction story from the West Coast.

  1. GP Ching says:

    This was an interesting look at a family managing what I perceive as mental illness. I enjoyed the tenderness between the sisters and how the waitress has come to know their routine. Nicely done.

    • When i saw this character in the diner i wasn’t sure if she was mentally ill or just a victim of bad luck. Sadly, the one leads to the other all too often. It was the reliance on small kindnesses which really gripped me. Thanks for your comments. I’ve been on holiday with no technology, hence the delay in replying.

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