Redundant | By: Lize Elizabeth Jacobs | | Category: Short Story - Introspective Bookmark and Share

Redundant


The clock on the diners wall seemed to be stuck on one minute to midnight, Allen noticed for the third time as he lit his umpteenth cigarette.
The cheap plastic stool cracked beneath his weight as he shifted from side to side hopelessly attempting to get comfortable. The ashtray was full.
Minutes before the diner was packed with figures he could only describe as typical; an overweight police officer ending his evening shift with a cup of coffee and a stale donut, a prostitute - twenty years past her prime, and some local students with nowhere better to be than their future place of employment.
Allen checked the clock again.
He was all-alone now; he looked at the counter and noticed nothing. He looked around the diner and noticed even less. He had been trapped in his own melancholy thoughts as the diner emptied.
How long has he been sitting there? In that same spot. On that same plastic stool. It didn\'t matter. Nothing did. His head was empty and so was his coffee mug.
The clock was stuck on one minute to midnight.
What time was it?
It didn\'t matter.

The bell above the diner door rang out as the door abruptly opened. A tall figure emerged. It was a man. Obviously. He was wearing a coat and hat. A strange look. As if he escaped from a film noir movie. He made his way towards the counter. But there was no one to serve him. Not that he demanded service. He just stood there, silently. After a while he turned around and looked at the clock. He then set his wristwatch to the same time.

Allen lit another cigarette.
The man noticed.
Allen picked up his packet and held it out.
The man walked over to the table, took the cigarette that was offered to him and sat down.
Neither one of the men spoke.
Neither one felt uncomfortable as they both puffed in silence.

Allen started to notice little eerie details about the stranger across from him at the table. His strong posture that directly contradicted his weak eyes. His ageless features that did not give any indication of how old he was. The misplaced gray hair just below the rim of his hat above his left ear. The man dropped his bud in Allenís mug.
The ashtray was full.

Allen noticed when the peculiar man stood up and left the diner fairly casually.
Where was he going? Where was he from? These questions occupied Allenís thoughts for only a second before he lit another cigarette.
What time was it?

The bell rang out again as the door opened. But there was no one. The door closed slowly. Must be the wind. There was no wind.
Allen dropped his cigarette to on the filthy floor. The ashtray was full.
He stared at the diner clock; it was a minute to twelve.
Was it time?

Allen slowly stood up and headed for the door but paused in the middle of the diner. He looked around for a moment then started for the door again.
Was it time?
He carefully opened the door and walked outÖ

The clock on the diners wall seemed to be stuck on one minute to midnight, Allen noticed for the third time as he lit his umpteenth cigarette.
The cheap plastic stool cracked beneath his weight as he shifted from side to side hopelessly attempting to get comfortable. The ashtray was full.

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