Closing Time


“Here’s the pitch!” the television boomed.  Ronnie Jordan sat bolt upright in the leather recliner.  “There’s the swing, and it’s a long fly ball to deep left field.”  He glanced at his watch; 4:59 p.m.  “It could be; it might be; it—”

“Shit!” Ronnie spat, shutting off the television.  He stumbled out of the door and hopped into his mother’s car.  Sirens wailed, both approaching and from somewhere south.  His first thought was they were at Del Rio’s Steakhouse, not even a mile down the road, at his mother’s place of employment...at his own place of employment.

Ronnie shook the thought aside as he backed the Caprice from the driveway and began his short trek up the gravel road.  More sirens wailed.  Red and blue lights flashed by on the main highway.  By the time he reached the end of the gravel, there was a plethora of wailing sirens from his left; south; close.  He could see the edge of Del Rio’s parking lot where he sat and believed the lights were illuminating from there.  He hoped not.
Ronnie sped the quarter mile or so to Del Rio’s.  His stomach sank as his assumptions proved correct.  Four police cruisers sat near the front door, sirens still wailing and lights flashing. An ambulance was backed up to the front door.

Ronnie slammed on the breaks near the back entrance, jammed the transmission into PARK, and exited without even killing the ignition.  “Not momma,” he began repeating aloud as he made his way through the screened-in area where the washing machine rested.  He slowly and cautiously entered through the double metal doors opening up on the dishwashing area.  No one was in sight.

Ronnie thought of calling out but didn’t.  He did not dare do that.  He had no clue as to what was going on or what had happened.  It might prove better to keep his presence unknown for the time being.

He moved quietly through the dishwashing area and down the narrow hallway where the employee’s restroom was located.  A single strand of caution tape stretched out across the doorway at the end of the hall, the doorway that would take him into the kitchen.  “Not momma,” he said one final time as ducked beneath the piece of tape.





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