The long tubed florescent lights above the cash register buzzed and popped as Karii walked through the front door of the diner. It flickered for a moment, then came back on, then flickered again.
She could feel eyes on her as soon as she stepped inside.
A large woman stood behind the counter, having just turned away from the stack of dishes in the sink on the back wall. She was short and had an apron on to keep the dish water from getting on her clothes. Behind her the clean dishes were stacked neatly on the drying rack. The woman stepped up to the cash register and smiled at Karii.
“Hello,” Karii said, sticking her hands in her pants pockets and inching up to the counter. “I had some trouble coming down the mountain. Electrical – ” Karii motioned over her shoulder back toward her truck with her hand.
“Oh, dear,” the woman said. “That’s terrible.”
Karii noticed a man sitting at the counter to her left. He quickly glanced over at her, realized she was looking at him, then looked quickly back down at his cup of coffee, refusing to make eye contact. He took a sip.
“I was wondering -” Karii looked back at the woman. “Is the mechanic on duty?”
“I’m the mechanic.”
Karii looked back over at the man drinking his coffee. He set his cup down and slowly spun around on the stool, this time looking up at her.
“Oh, thank God,” Karii said. “I was wondering if you could look at my truck? I think it’s some sort of electrical–”
“Off duty now,” The man said, turning back to his coffee.