It’s the usual night in the city, dogs howling and whimpering because of cold, hunger, maybe loneliness, who knows maybe boredom. Cruising across these lonely streets was a beat cop, driving his issued station wagon. The night was cold and still, anyone and everyone who had a roof was deep in slumber. For the officer, it was his usual shift, along with his usual sorrows. An ageing career that hardly saw any peaks of success followed by a weak pension, not enough for his medical bills. The wagon passed by stores, closed at the midnight hours, these joints bustling with run of the mill consumers shelling bucks right, left and centre at anything advertised. Officer liked it old school, bucks for needs and dreams for wants. At this point, the officer felt the need for a cup of warm coffee. He remembered a nice cosy late-night diner on his route. He liked diners, they were as old school as it gets. He had never been to this diner for as long as he could remember. By the time, he processed this information, his wagon stood in front of the diner. The old rusty board read “Night Owl Diner”, written in bright red colour with a little owl painted next to it.
The board had been through many rains, it was tough to distinguish between the rust and paint. He pushed the door ajar, to enter the place. As he stepped into the diner, the wafting fragrance of coffee and tear-jerking nostalgia hit him. He politely greeted the owner, who stood behind a vintage metallic counter, wrapped in a white apron. The owner asked him,” What can I get you, officer”. The officer replied,” A nice cup of Coffee”. The owner asked, ” would you fancy something accompanying your coffee, perhaps some sweet confectionary item”. The officer thought for a moment and said, ” Add two doughnuts with the coffee”. The owner replied very well and turned towards the retro coffee maker. Officer glanced all around him and saw the pleasant antiquated decor. The decor, complete with a row of bar stools, adjacent to the rexine padded parlour sofa seats facing each other. As he turned towards his server, a smoking cup of coffee along with two chocolate-dipped doughnuts lay in his wait. He did like the look of his meal even though he knew cops get mocked for having doughnuts, he did appreciate the high on sugar and cholesterol dessert once in a while. While having these satisfying edibles, he stroked a conversation with the owner. Carefully wiping the corners of his mouth he asked,” How’s the business going?”. The owner replied briefly,” It’s going mild, I used to have a stampede back in the day”. The officer further asked in a casual way, ” you must have seen quite a few first dates right here, lads and missiles, all prim and prom trying to woo each other”. The owner said,” Sure”, while the Officer continued,” You see I met my missus in one such fine diner, 23 years back”. The owner spoke in reply, ” I’m sure some couples can claim the same for my joint”, while the officer nodded in acceptance. After taking another sip and a bite, the officer asked, ” the black and white photos on the wall, did the Hollywood folk actually dined at your establishment?” The owner proudly replied,” Back in the heyday, every one of them came here after the shoots”. The owner now inquired, ” you solving some case at this hour, inspector”. Officer answered with slight hesitation,” pal, beat cops don’t catch criminals, we catch colds and misery”. The officer sat slouching, enjoying a warm mug and chocolate-coated loaf, he turned his head around and something irked him. He saw a big wooden door, varnished black as the devil itself. The door did not match the joints appearance, it felt jarring and incoherent with the nostalgic tone. He asked the owner, ” Pal, whys there this ugly door here”. The owner said,” Nothing officer, just the restroom”. The officer frowned and said,” Is it open, I’d like to use the restroom”. The owner swiftly brushed the question aside, “It’s clogged and jammed, officer”. Officer got irritated and said, ” Pal, open the door, I’ll see for myself what’s in there and maybe do you a favour by plumbing it”. The owner answered back, ” office, would you be kind enough to unlock it yourself while I wash the plates here”. Officer mumbled sure and picked the keys, the owner placed on the counter. The officer stood, turned and marched towards the door, carelessly. A loud crack was heard and a shotgun shell had entered officer’s skull, obliterating its backside completely open. The owner stood behind the counter with a shotgun smoking just like a hot cup of coffee. He pressed a button just below his side of the counter and two men dressed in black came out of the hideous, almost ominous door and dragged the corpse inside. While the owner moved towards the bloody mess with a mop and bucket. Now what was behind the door, my guess is as good as anyone else. Drug den, the lair of evil, exquisite yet illegal club or the inferno hell itself, nobody knows. Just as this happened, dogs outside the diner were howling and whimpering, because of cold, hunger, maybe loneliness, who knows maybe they had witnessed something.