The Last Stop by Joanne Jagoda

Clarice waitressed at the last truck stop at the border where the men came for showers, hot food and diesel before the grueling trek through the mountains. When she arrived at work each morning, she went into the back to change. She never brought her uniform home because everything reeked of her mother’s cigarettes. Mama coughed half the night, and if she saw her spitting brown juice into pink tissues one more time she was going to scream.

She forced the uniform down over her wide hips and could barely close the buttons gaping over her full breasts. It had belonged to Steph, an itty bitty size six bitch. She begged Irv, that cheapskate, to replace it but he refused. He said the men liked eyeing her over their ham and eggs, and it was good for business.

She dreamed about getting out of this crummy place and mama’s stinkin’ house. Across the border she could breathe and start over.

Wiping the sticky counter, the door tinkled and a stranger came in, beer belly hanging over his jeans. Acting all manly because he just got out of the shower outside, he reeked of cheap aftershave.

“Hey Sugar. Give me your Special.” He devoured her with hungry eyes as she poured his coffee.

Clarice weighed her options. His pockmarked face repulsed her, but if she gave him what he wanted he might take her across the border. Then she could ditch him.

She pushed her chest out. “Hey baby,…”


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Filed under Joanne Jagoda

7 responses to “The Last Stop by Joanne Jagoda

  1. Randal Houle

    Nice story. The inner conflict and yearning is strong and makes the end believable, and meaningful.

  2. This story is really well drawn, the ending so sad, that someone might be in such dire circumstances. Realistic and tense. Great use of details and the interior conflict.

  3. i like how you jerked it away from the stereotype with a surprising shift. good job.

  4. I sympathized with the character and the ending took me by surprise.

  5. Joanne Jagoda

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

  6. For some reason, from the title, I knew this would be good! Oh how I love this: “Across the border she could breathe and start over.” Well written piece!

  7. Pingback: Week #37 – Border town | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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