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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

The Long Road into Town (Part 3)

Part 1 of The Long Road into Town.
Part 2 of The Long Road into Town.

By the time Barney arrived, morning had broken. He walked into the diner on the edge of town in a distressed state.

“Someone get this girl some coffee and some hotcakes,” The waitress shouted as she ushed Barney to a seat and put a cup of coffee in front of him.

“I don’t have any money on me,” Barney replied.

“It’s on me, Hon. I don’t know what you went through last night, but it looks like hell. You deserve it.”

“There was a fire, and I can’t find someone.”

“County got that forest fire under control,” A trucker at a neighboring table interjected, “Heard it on the scanner. Also heard about a guy they found being sent to the hospital. Could be him? Your dad or something?”

“I’m not that old.” Barney realized his mistake, “I mean, he’s not that much older than me. About five years or so.”

“Well, after your done here, I’ll drive you over, and you can go see. Might want to get yourself checked out as well. My name’s Fred, by the way.”

“I’m B-Bar-,” Barney realized he was about to mess up again,”I’m Joanne.” Hearing himself say it aloud still felt so unreal, so he said it again but slightly softer, “I’m Joanne.”

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