Tragedy at the Diner

Daily Prompt: By the Skin of Your Teeth: a fictional short story

What is there to say.  I’m here only because I was quicker and smarter than someone else.  I’m not proud of it; I’m actually a little ashamed.  I shouldn’t have been there at all that day.  But, I had a few issues to work out and I wanted a drink while I did it.

I grabbed a table away from most of the customers, and started jotting down the pros and cons of my problem.  I wasn’t paying much attention to what was going on around me.  I was actually making some progress with my dilemma.  I looked up from my writing when I heard a strange noise, and saw the window shattering.  I couldn’t understand at first what had happened but things seemed to start moving in slow motion.  It was like watching a replay on a sportscast, but this was real, here and now.

There was a truck coming straight at me sideways.  It looked like a giant metal wall closing in on me like you see in those horror shows about claustrophobia.  I didn’t realize it was a truck at first.  I just saw the top of it.  I thought I was a goner.  Then the thing comes to a screeching stop just shy of where me and a couple other people were.  It had wiped out the counter and part of the kitchen blocking off our way out.  I started to breathe again, not realizing I had been holding my breath.  That’s when I smelled the smoke.

I figured I had only a few minutes to get out of there before the smoke got to me.  I didn’t care at all about the other people that were trapped with me; it was all about saving my own skin.  First thing I did was pull my shirt over my face and look for daylight.  I saw some up by the roof where it had collapsed on the truck.  There was enough rubble on the ground to allow me to reach it.  That hole was small.  I managed to get through it though.  But once I got up on top of the truck, I couldn’t see any way of getting down again.  I tried climbing onto the roof of the building, but it felt like it was going to give way on me.  So, I screamed my head off till I couldn’t scream any more.  Then I sat and waited in the freezing sleet for someone to come and rescue me.

It wasn’t till then that I thought of the other people who were in the diner with me.  That’s when I went back to the hole I had found and tried to help them get out.  If I had thought of them a little earlier, maybe they wouldn’t have gotten so much smoke in their lungs and wouldn’t need to spend so much time in the hospital.  Like I said, I’m a little ashamed of myself.

It didn’t take long for the fire crew to get to us.  They’re the real heroes here.  If not for them even more people would have died that day.

Somewhere in that mess is my notebook.  It has some pretty embarrassing stuff written in it.  If you find it, please don’t read it.


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