Welcome to Translation by Al McDermid

I was just beyond the smallest dot on the map, a crossroads with a diner and a gas station, when my water pump went out. I’d seen a tow truck parked next to the gas station, so I pulled off the road before overheating, and walked back up the road, passing the sign naming the town. It was shot up and rusting, but I could still read it:
pop. 12

As I approached the station, the mechanic, a lanky, long-haired kid, was already climbing into the truck.

“Saw you blow through here,” he said. “What happened?” The patch above his left pocket read ‘Clyde’.

“Water pump belt snapped.”

“Go over to the diner,” he said. “I’ll come get you when it’s fixed.”

In the diner, I sat at the counter and ordered coffee. The place was empty but for the waitress, the tag on her too-tight pink uniform read ‘Rosie’. I could hear the cook in the back.
“Want some pie with that, Hon?” Rosie asked me. “It’s rhubarb. Homemade, you know.” She was big hair country singer cute, so I could hardly resist.
I was on my second piece, this time with ice cream, when Clyde came in to tell me my car was fixed. I thanked Rosie, settled with Clyde, and headed out.
“See you soon,” Rosie said. Her usual ‘good bye’ I guessed.
Down the road a piece, I saw another shot up sign. I slammed on the brakes and backed up. It read:
pop. 13


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Filed under Al McDermid

14 responses to “Welcome to Translation by Al McDermid

  1. Intriguing! I could see this as a half hour on Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone!

    • Thanks. Wow, I do miss that show. And ‘Night Gallery’.

      This started as another story that I just couldn’t make work; now I think I’ll do some more with ‘Tranlation’.

      • Oh this story was great – am not that big on wide open spaces but this was fun and when you think about it, late at night, on your own, before you go to bed and pull the covers up to your chin … eerie … I said “Ha!” (and jolted others) when I read the name of the town!

        • Al McDermid

          Thanks Matt. You’ve given me an idea–perhaps I can create a different kind of scary, trapped in a perfectly pleasant town where everyone is nice, even helpful, but from which you cannot leave.

  2. well told, straight up with a nice, lemony twist. atmosphere building is intriguing. enjoyed this.

  3. Very creative use of the prompt, and a jolt of an ending that left me wondering what happens next.

  4. Oooh, this has a real Twilight zone feel to it. I loved this!

  5. Surreal. The big hair, the Rosie name tag, Pop 13. I always enjoy your take on the themes. Peace…

    • Al McDermid

      Thank you Linda. I think my take on the themes stems mostly from an inability to think in anything even remotely close to a straight line. I guess writing is one of the pursuits where that can be a positive attribute. :)

  6. Pingback: Week #27 – lost in translation « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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