A Random Scene in Time



Here is a short scene. I lay it out before you, and should you have something you liked or that didn’t work for you, please feel free to make a note in the comment section below.


On the third day of her solo road trip, Verna stopped for more than fuel, a rest room, and truck stop fare. She no longer felt an urgency to keep going. Entering a small town along an even smaller, forested road, she parked on the main street. Finally able to stretch her legs and back outside the shops and restaurants, she took in the fresh air that smelled of honeysuckle, roses, and hyacinths continuing their way upward from the soil.

Verna followed a wind-driven page, blown from her research folio the moment she took it out of her backpack. She ran after it through the propped-open door. Glancing around, she found confirmation of what she knew would be inside. As if she’d been there a thousand times, she strolled in and sat at her favorite table where she could people-watch those outside and in.

Wait. She didn’t have any favorites here. It was irritating, being in this constant state of déjà vu.

She couldn’t believe she was here, in this place, taking her seat. Passing through New Jersey for the first time in her life, she couldn’t possibly have been inside “The Crooked Needle” before. She would have known it for certain. Everything was well-made, clearly from a different era, with many planes and rounds of rubbed wood. Shade and light reflected the late afternoon hour. Around that corner behind the cash register, there would be, what? She knew it was the spiral staircase. She wondered whether it was still there.

She recognized the satisfying aromas of coffee, bacon, and blueberry pie.

“What will you have for lunch today, Ma’am?” Startled out of her reverie by the alto voice of the waitress, she blurted out an old favorite.

I was thinking about having an A.L.T. That’s avocado instead of the bacon. Your tomatoes are homegrown, right?”

“Yes, Ma’am. Finest in the county. The family’s been growing them out back for over 200 years. You been here before?”

“Ye… I mean, No. No I haven’t. I’ll also have a seltzer with a twist. Thanks.” She jabbed the menu outward and turned toward the window to see a teenage girl looking in at her from the other side.

She knew she was tired from her long drive, but realized after turning away that there was something odd about the girl’s clothing. She wasn’t sure of current fashion, but enough to know that it probably didn’t include crinoline.

There was a familiarity in her eyes and the upward turn of her lips. I’ve seen you before.