Coffee with a Devil Part One
Coffee with a devil
A Story in Serial - Part One
Viggo wavered on his feet in front of the Last Chance General Store. A hot, stale breeze sprayed one side of his face and neck with tiny grains of West Texas sand, but he ignored it. The general store that also doubled as a diner looked abandoned. He knew it wasn’t. With a heavy breath that nearly brought back his convulsive coughs and dry-heaving, he plodded up to the door. He didn’t bother looking down at the rusted door handle as his calloused hand absently twisted it open, and he shoved himself through as if he were carrying a heavy bag on his sweaty back.
Most people imagining the West Texas stretch of plains and endless oil fields expect a certain atmosphere when they enter these one-stop shops miles from anything resembling civilization. Hank Williams on the radio. Men in multiple gallon hats drinking sudsy ounces of cheap beer. The residual smell of fried bacon and crude oil mingled together, repulsing passers-through while soothing the locals. People are mostly wrong. Viggo expected nothing and was not disappointed.
The long traveler sensed only their smell. Felt only their ever-watching eyes fixed upon him as he limped through the doorway. His mind might have heard the bell above the door jamb before he reached behind and pushed the door shut. He heard their breathing. Heard their whispers, the never-ending taunts, and lies. Ignoring them, he walked past the carousels of five-dollar sunglasses and ten-dollar postcards in front of an old-timey cash register surrounded by rock candy and road maps. Turning to his left, he saw a young, pale man with messy black hair leaning against the window of the short-order kitchen.
The two of them exchanged nods and then the white shirt and apron-clad man lifted his chin in the direction of table and chair sets. Viggo didn’t bother to acknowledge this with another nod. He scratched the sand-riddled stubble of his jaw and aimed his plodding steps toward the table at the back of the diner, nearest the window. Two chairs. Opposite of one another. Viggo pulled out the chair on the window side and sat down so that he was facing the kitchen. He barely noticed the waiter coming up to the table; his eyes were fixed on the chair across the little round table.
Viggo motioned twice with his right hand. Yeah, come on.
The waiter set a plain mug down with a thud and then filled it halfway up with hot, fresh-smelling Columbian roast. Viggo didn’t bother to look up when the waiter asked if he wanted to order anything. He swiped the mug toward himself like a gambler collecting his chips after a winning hand but without the smile.
Viggo had no more smiles.
“If you need anything, all you have to do is ask.” The waiter had said it with his back turned as he was walking back toward the kitchen.
Viggo scoffed and lifted the steaming mug to his cracked lips. He took a sip that stung his top lip and made him suck a quick blast of air in through his teeth, but the bitter drink went down like a good memory, and Viggo felt a soothing chill run down his spine.
“Guess we’d better get started,” he said without having ever shifted his gaze from the chair across from him.
There was a chuckle and then a deep voice said, “Don’t you mean we’d better finish?”
Viggo sighed and took another sip of coffee as the demon’s dark, reptilian form appeared, sitting calmly in the chair.
To be continued…