#2: Rusty Palmer

| November 2, 2010 | 5 Comments

Hello, all. Back again for day #2. This time, it’s a character from a long form comic that I’ve been working on for about a year. Fun stuff. Enjoy!

The air smelled as it always did when Rusty was around. The feint smell of burnt coffee and the molding filter resting above the pot. Cindy had stopped brewing him fresh pots years ago; he’d come in and sit for hours on end, not taking a sip of his cup until it was just above room temperature. Since the beginning, they hardly spoke more than the obligatory greetings that necessitated the waitress/customer relationship.

Rusty would stumble in the at the same hour every evening, 7 PM, just getting off his shift down at the precinct. He’d wander in, blank faced, almost bored. Most nights Cindy was standing behind the counter, wiping down some mess that Bobby, Slim, or some other regular had left in their place. The jingle bells attached the rickety old door of the diner seemed to have a different ring to them whenever Rusty walked in. Every time, without fail, Cindy would look up at just the right moment to see Detective Rusty Palmer walk through the door frame, removing his jacket and tossing the day’s newspaper on the counter top of his regular booth.

The evening had gone just like every shift before it, for as long as Cindy could remember. Except this time, when she wandered over to Rusty to give him a fresh cup of hours old coffee, something changed. A dimming of the street lamp outside, a pitch change in room tone. Even the static electricity between Cindy’s blouse and skin felt different. Thicker. It wasn’t long before Cindy realized why that was: as she leaned over to deliver Rusty’s new cup of coffee, his eyes weren’t adrift. They weren’t gazing into the ether, pondering whatever it was a loner dreams about. They were locked right on her.

In the split second where their eyes caught one another, Cindy didn’t feel awkward. There was no sense of aggression or mistrust between the two, it was as though after years of minimal conversation a flower had blossomed and their lives were out in the open. Years of silence suddenly giving birth to a genuine friendship. And then, more surprisingly, Rusty spoke.

“Have you read the paper today, Cindy?” he asked.

She hesitated for a moment, still trying to understand why he had chosen this moment to hold a friendly conversation about the news. She felt nervous.

“I… haven’t, no. I don’t typically read the paper unless a customer brings it in and leaves it but the only customer that I ever really see with it is you and you always take it when you leave so–,” was all that came out before Cindy realized that she might be making a fool of herself, rambling on to him like that. Rusty only smiled.

“There’s no point, really,” he replied, rather gently. “Nothing happens in Franklin Row anymore. Pretty frustrating for a cop, you know?”

One of the waitstaff dropped a plate in the kitchen as the shattering porcelain rang throughout the entire diner.

“Cindy, you’ve served me year after year, the same time, the same booth, the same order,” Rusty continued. “Don’t you find it strange that the highest ranking Detective in Franklin Row has nothing better to do with his evenings than sit in a mom and pop diner reading a newspaper that lost its crime section four years ago?”

Rusty stood up slowly, finally taking a sip of his fresh cup of coffee. He rolled the newspaper into a cylinder and handed it to her.

“Read up, sweetheart,” he said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

As Cindy stood there stunned, Rusty threw on his jacket and walked out the door, the bells jingling as it slammed shut behind him.

Category: Drama, Scifi

About the Author ()

Joey is a writer and hoarder of nerd things from New England, currently living existence outside of New York City. He often attends rhythmic ceremonial rituals and gambles away his hard earned money. Currently he’s working on his first novel while creating comics and developing the social writing website Social Pulp, which will be going live by the end of the year. He also serves as the Comics Channel Editor for the major pop culture website CraveOnline. You can find him on Twitter, or e-mail him a lengthy diatribe voicing your utter disgust.

Comments (5)

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  1. Anthony Ferrante says:

    Well written Joey, I like it and I’m intrigued to find out more about Franklin Row.

  2. Thanks man, much appreciated!

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