A short psychological thriller about America’s Diner, by The Big Snake
I came to in a well-lit booth, sitting with a group of people. My senses still hazy, I scanned their faces… They looked familiar, but I couldn’t put a name to them. Not a single one. Scrambling to get my bearings, I darted my head back and forth and took in the surroundings. We appeared to be in some sort of diner, nothing too fancy… each booth was accented by its own hanging light, the tables seemed relatively clean and the seats had the kind of vinyl wrap that could be wiped clean with a moist rag. No family diner would be crazy enough to splurge on outfitting their booths with a plush fabric, not with all that maple syrup getting slung around. I peer over my shoulder and see a waitress walking away from our booth.
“Where is she going?” I ask out loud. “I’m quite hungry, I would like to order soon…” I was indeed quite hungry, but I was mostly hoping that a humble diner sandwich would calm my nerves… I felt incredibly uneasy.
“She just took our order, Jacob.” said the man sitting next to me in the booth.
“Yes, don’t worry Jacob. I’m sure the food will be out soon. The service here is usually very fast.” The strange yet familiar woman across the table said, leaning forward in an attempt to comfort me.
“But… I didn’t order… did I?” I slumped down in my seat. Considering the position I was in, perhaps I did order and just didn’t remember? I still couldn’t figure out who these people were, let alone where I was. I looked down at the floor. Something felt wrong. Very wrong. “Don’t worry, we ordered for you Jacob. We know what you like here,” said the man.
“Yeah, you get the same thing every time, Jacob!” The woman chimed in right after.
I continued to stare at the ground, as a matter of fact I couldn’t stop. There was something just downright disturbing about it.
“Oh… uh… and what would that be?” I asked, still fixated on the floor.
“A ham, egg and cheese sandwich!” The man replied in a jovial tone.
Just then something hit me… the floor, the reason I felt it was so wrong and disturbing finally revealed itself to me. It wasn’t carpeted! It was tile! I have never known a diner with tile floors! I’ve never been to a Denny’s that didn’t have a carpeted floor, and I was beginning to suspect that this wasn’t a Denny’s at all.
“What did you say I ordered again?” I picked my head up to look the man in the eyes.
“A ham, egg and cheese, Jacob. It’s what you always get.”
I sat quietly, leering at the man for several minutes. He began to look nervous, I could see tiny beads of sweat begin to form on his forehead.
“You mean… A Moon’s Over My-Hammy.” I said, with a quiet intensity that made it feel more like a scream.
“Oh, ummm, yes, that’s what I meant to-” I lunged forward and grabbed the man by the shirt.
“I don’t know who you are, or where you have taken me… but you’re not going to get away with this!”
“Jacob, please… I have no idea what you’re talking about!” I slapped the man in the face and began shaking him violently.
“LIAR!” I screamed. “TELL THE TRUTH”! At this point I had whipped myself into a panicked rage. “This isn’t a Denny’s at all! Is it?!”
“No, it is Jacob, I swear! He just forgot the name of the sandwich, it is an awful hard one to remember! We’ve all had a long night!” the woman across the table interjected urgently.
“Oh, is that right?” I said as I directed my hateful gaze upon her. “What was it that you said about the service here earlier? That is was usually very fast?? Doesn’t sound much like a Denny’s to me.” I exploded to my feet. “And I’m sure as hell not sticking around to find out what it truly is!”
I started making my way towards the door, until I heard someone yell “Grab him!” I was accosted by two large men from behind. I wildly kicked and thrashed about with all my might, like a salmon swimming upstream to it’s ancestral home- except theirs is a spawning pool… and mine is America’s Diner. Despite all my efforts, the large men overpowered me and began dragging me back to the booth I had fled. I could see the disgusting, non-Denny’s egg sandwich that was ordered for me sitting there, waiting for me. What was I going to do? I couldn’t eat it, just the thought of trying to made me absolutely sick to my stomach. As they were forcing me to sit down, I got desperate. So desperate that I soiled myself with the hope that the horrible smell would encourage them to let me leave the restaurant. This did not deter the men at all, as they held me down in place.
“Comfortable now? Jacob?” Asked the woman across the table. “We were just trying to buy you a breakfast sandwich, is all. I don’t understand why you must put up such a fight.”
Without a response or hesitation, I spit in her face.
She calmly wiped my saliva from her cheek, with an evil smirk on her face.
“Now, make him eat it.” She ordered the brutish men.
“No! I won’t do it! NO!” I screeched to the heavens, as one of them picked up the vile sandwich and the other grabbed my head and began to pull my mouth open.
There was nothing I could do at this point, I had to eat it and I did. It tasted fine. But it still wasn’t Denny’s. And I never drank that much again.