Sunday, March 5, 2017

#6 Thunder and Lighting

The next morning Howard called in sick. There was no way he could face work today. He made some coffee and contemplated what to do. He felt unmoored, like a ship lost at sea.

Looking at the clock on his wall, he decided an early lunch wouldn't be a bad idea. He left his apartment and wandered down Simone Boulevard. He was in no rush and when he came upon on alley leading off the main street he decided to see where it went. Maybe he'd find a new place to eat.

But as he got farther and farther from what was familiar he began to have second thoughts. Each turn he made brought him deeper into a part of the city he didn't even know existed. There were no stores or restaurants only endless uniform brick walls. He tried to retrace his steps but with no landmarks, Howard was hopelessly lost.

A absurd fear began to rise in his throat. What if he never found his way out of this eerie place? Howard began to run, the looming brick walls blurring in his vision. Suddenly a massive crack of thunder shook the ground and swollen drops of rain began to pour from the sky. In no time Howard was soaked to the bone.

The rain brought him to his senses and he slowed down to catch his breath. He needed to calm down. If he kept walking he'd come across someone he could ask for directions. Eventually Howard caught sight of a flash of color in the distance. As he got closer he realized it was a small restaurant. Finally, he thought to himself, surely someone inside would be able to direct him back to civilization.

He opened the door and was greeted with a classic American diner that looked like it had been taken straight out of the fifties. A checkered white counter with circular stools dominated the center of the restaurant and brightly colored booths lined the windows. A jukebox sat in the corner. Dripping wet, Howard approached the only person in the place, a man in a white apron polishing glasses behind the counter.

"Hey excuse me sir. Can you tell me where I am? How do I get back to Simone Boulevard?"

The man looked up and took Howard in.

"Whoa slow down there bud. What's the hurry? Stay a while."

He passed Howard a menu. Reluctantly, Howard took it and realized he was in in fact ravenously hungry. He figured it wouldn't hurt to eat a meal before finding out how to get home.

Ordering a burger and a chocolate milkshake, he took a seat at one of the stools at the counter. The man went back to the kitchen and in what seemed like an unnaturally short amount of time he brought out the food.

When Howard bit into his burger, succulent juices spurted out and dripped down his chin. His taste buds exploded as they met the perfectly seasoned meat. It was by far the best burger he had ever tasted. He washed the bite down with an ice cold swallow of the deliciously sweet milkshake and marveled at what he had stumbled across.

The tastes brought back memories of a time before he'd gotten his consulting job when he had experimented with cooking. He had always dreamed of being a restaurant chef but when it came to time to get a job he'd settled for the safe option. Suddenly it struck him. What if he never went back to his consulting job? What if he started his own restaurant?