There Is Always A Hitch by John Patrick Robbins

Jake was a grizzled older looking dude harsh as the winters he endured as tough as the coffee he drank.

 

Most would fear his appearance alone.

Being six four and damn near three hundred pounds.

 

He wasn’t a man you would wanna encounter in a dark alley , let alone one sitting across from you in a well lit dinner.

 

The place was a ghost town aside from the old man and what he could only assume was his granddaughter.

 

She stared at Jake fear within her eyes.

 

“Hello kid.”

 

He said as he made his way to the counter.

 

“Stop staring sweetheart.”

 

Her grandfather said as he looked to Jake and nodded.

 

“What will it be Jake?”

 

Sandy asked.

 

She had been working here long as Jake could remember.

 

She didn’t care for Jake much and that’s probably because out of all the truckers that passed through this place he was one of the few men who hadn’t wanted a piece of ass with a side of fries.

 

He ordered his usual and turned to look at the oncoming storm outside.

 

“Looking bad out there can’t believe your not shutting down for the night Jake.”

 

Jake laughed he had been through worse.

Two divorces and one tour of Vietnam.

So a slight flurry did little to crack his nerves.

 

Jake just drank his coffee.

And as the time passed he felt the eyes of that little girl once again upon him.

 

It was strange and total annoyance to Jake being he largely hated children.

 

But her cuteness was undeniable although rather vomit provoking to him.

 

“Cindy stop staring this instant.”

 

Her grandfather snapped.

 

“I’m sorry sir, I don’t know why she is being so rude.”

 

“It’s cool not everyday you get to see a grizzly bear like me walking around, so where y’all headed on a night like this.”

 

Jake asked as he motioned Sandy over for a refill.

 

“South thankfully hoping to get home and out of this mess before the worst hits.”

 

“Well you better be careful this shit ain’t going to lighten up probably best to stop somewhere let it pass over.”

 

The old man seemed agitated for no reason looking at his little granddaughter.

 

“We have no choice and I rather not stop at some filthy motel I am driving through the night waitress check please.”

 

The old man paid his bill and as his little granddaughter continued to stare he snatched her by the arm as he pulled her along into the frozen night outside the dinner.

 

“Well he certainly was a charming fellow huh sweetheart?”

 

“Yeah and a cheap bastard to boot !, feel bad for that little girl though.”

 

Sandy said as she whipped down there table.

 

Jake finished off his third and final cup of coffee he didn’t know why that kid’s gaze haunted his thoughts.

 

She seemed stare into his soul there was something beyond fractured in those little girls eyes.

 

And as he laid in his bunk in the rig he finally understood why, as he saw those very same eyes on the evening news.

 

Apparently her name was Tabitha and her body was found in an alley somewhere outside of Richmond Virginia.

 

There were no leads.

 

Jake turned the television off called the number that had been flashed upon the screen.

 

He recalled the whole encounter that evening.

 

He knew it was pointless he had lived through hell himself and witnessed another’s that was far worse than anything he would ever endure.

 

That stare haunted him forever.

Jake appeared to be a monster of a man.

 

And that piece of shit just another ordinary old fool.

 

Looks can often be deceiving.

As many tales and future tragedies will often pass each other within the night.

 

Some of the darkest highways never see the light of day.

 

This is dedicated to those whose stories are left forever a mystery.

 

John Patrick Robbins
Is the editor of The Rye Whiskey Review and Under The Bleachers .
He is also the author of Sex Drugs & Poetry from Whiskey City Press .
His work has been published here at Punk Noir Magazine, Madusas Kitchen , The Mojave River Review , The San Pedro River Review , Ariel Chart , Red Fez, Angry Old Man Magazine , Blognostics .
His work is always unfiltered.
robb