The Librarian and the Waitress: Part 1

December 4, 2009

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Editor’s note: Sometimes, the writer is not in control of a story. This story was supposed to be a simple 500-700 word story for Fiction Friday. The characters, however, refused to go away quite so quickly, insisting on a longer story … which is why this story ended up being 2000 words. Catch part 1 today, part 2 tomorrow, and the conclusion on Sunday.


“Whatcha reading?”

Ray looked up to find the waitress smiling at him. He held the book up for her to see.

“Ah, the latest book by Martin Kelly. I love his stuff. How do you like this one?”

“It’s pretty good,” replied Ray. “In fact, I have just a few pages left. I’ll leave it behind for you to read, if you want.’

“I’d like that,” replied Jaymi with a smile. “You could pick it up the next time you come through town.”

Ray was about to tell her that she could keep the book, since he usually stopped for a bite at the truck stop ten miles to the east, and was only eating at this hole in the wall because the other place for closed for remodeling. Then he thought the better of it. He realized that he really wouldn’t mind seeing Jaymi again.

Ray had a burger and fries before deciding to prolong his stay by ordering a slice of pie. Jaymi topped it with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream – on the house. Reluctantly, Ray was forced to leave – the road beckoned, and he needed to get his load delivered. He tipped his waitress generously and left behind the book.

Ray made a conscious effort to be finished with his next book before he was scheduled to drive through Springfield again. He ignored the previous truck stop that had been his regular haunt, and ate at the restaurant where Jaymi worked. She seemed pleased to see him. They swapped books – Ray receiving his previous book back and Jaymi receiving a fresh new book to read. After the only other customer in the restaurant left, Jaymi pulled off her apron and sat at across the table from him, and they discussed the plot of Martin Kelly’s book.

Each time Ray drove through Springfield, he’d leave behind a new book and retrieve the previous one. He was quickly becoming Jaymi’s personal bookmobile – but he didn’t mind. A friendship began to grow. Their conversations at first focused on the books that they shared, but eventually spread to many other topics. Ray would share tales from the road, and Jaymi would talk about the people she met in the restaurant.

One night, he pulled into the restaurant a mere twenty minutes before closing time. Jaymi greeted him with her trademark smile.

“How are you, Ray? You look a little tired.”

“Yeah, it’s been a very long day. Once I get a hot meal, I’m going straight back to the truck to grab a good night’s sleep.”

“You know,” commented Jaymi, “I have a spare bedroom. I bet it would feel good to sleep on a real bed for once. And I’m not a half bad cook. If you want to hang around until I get off work at 10, we can go to my place and I could make something for you.”

Ray grinned. “That sounds like a great idea. I’ll just have a coffee.”

Jaymi poured a cup of high test caffeinated coffee from the pot and busied herself with end of day work while Ray enjoyed his hot drink. A half hour later, they pulled up in front of Jaymi’s house – a modest, but well maintained ranch.

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