© 2020 by Derek Walker  //  777777  //  Contact

Follow the Bodies to Joe's Diner

I picked my homemade sign off the side of the road, walked it back to its rightful place, and hammered it into the ground. I walked about ten feet along I-80 and turned around to get a good view of it. 

 

Follow the Bodies

to Joe’s Diner!

 

I know it’s a weird gimmick—a nearly five-mile stretch of bodies leading interstate travelers to my restaurant in Oasis—but it works. 

 

Since the gypsum mine shut its doors three years ago, the town has gone downhill in a major way. The town has been reduced to me, twelve other people, and my diner. That’s it.

 

The other twelve residents of Oasis haven’t complained about my marketing tactics cause, let’s face it, they like Joe’s too, and if I didn’t have the cross-country traveler, I’d have to close my doors.

 

I followed the trail of bodies back to Joe’s, admiring a couple pulled off the side of the road taking a picture at the halfway point sign. 

 

You’re Halfway There! 

By the Way, How Many of 

These Bodies are REAL?

 

When I arrived at Joe’s, I was greeted by Timmo, a regular local sitting at the bar. There was a family of four sitting by the window. Cross-country travelers, I figured. I made eye contact briefly with the little girl—maybe eight years old—before she turned away. I smiled and approached the table.

 

“How’s the food, folks?” I asked.

 

The father looked up. “Food is wonderful, sir. You run a great operation,” he said.

 

“My employees are the best in the world,” I said.

 

The little girl whispered something into her mother’s ear.

 

The mother cleared her throat. “Sorry sir, my daughter was wondering—” she smiled and chuckled softly. “Are any of those bodies real?”

 

I laughed and the parents followed suit. I knelt next to the girl. “Are you in school?”

 

“Fourth grade,” she said.

 

“Perfect. I’ve got a math problem for you. The diner is 300,000 inches from the freeway. That means 25,000 feet. The average mannequin is six feet tall. That would mean I need 4,166 mannequins to stretch all the way from the interstate to the diner, right?”

 

“Okay…” she said.

 

“But the problem is, I could only buy ten tons worth of mannequins.”

 

“So…”

 

“So, the average mannequin is 50 pounds,” I said. “Do you know how much weight is in a ton?”

 

“Two-thousand pounds,” she said.

 

“That’s right. Let me make it simple. I needed 4,166 mannequins, but ten tons of mannequins only gives me 4,006.”

 

The father shifted uneasily and glanced at his wife.

 

“That means—” the girl said, sketching with her crayon on the backside of her kid menu. “That means that 160 of those bodies out there are real!”

 

“Very good, sweetheart!” I said, then walked back to the kitchen, slapping Timmo on the shoulder on the way.

 

“French dip is on point today, chief,” he said.

 

I tipped my hat.