Chuck Wendig posted a cool challenge: Take a book title by Stephen King, and write a new story, in a different Genre, extra points for non-horror. Mr. Mercedes was a very cool thriller indeed, so I wrote this story, which is not as thrilling in any way, but I hope you’ll still enjoy it!
He wiped the window and stared at the sunset, red and yellow lingering before darkness arrived. This was the last car he would ever wash as a professional, and even though he dreamt about this day for 35 years, it was still hard to believe that from tomorrow on he would no longer be known as Mr. Mercedes.
He grabbed his hat, waved goodbye to the boys at the gas station and went into the office. Meryl was sitting behind the counter, lost in a typing marathon, oblivious to the handsome elderly man staring at her. He watched her, glasses drawn down, revealing beautiful blue eyes surrounded by tiny wrinkles, eager to get on top of today’s assignments, mundane as they were.
“Hey Meryl,” he said and took off his hat.
Meryl finished a sentence and lifted her eyes from the screen. “Ike! I didn’t see you come in.”
Ike chuckled. “Yeah,” He said, “I watched you trying to take over the world.”
Meryl laughed. “Hardly, unless you call doing April salaries taking over the world.”
“Well,” Ike said and leaned on the chair in front of her desk. “That depends on who you ask.”
Her smile was prettier than the sunset, which was already a distant memory in his mind. “So that’s it? Mr. Mercedes is now a name to be taught in Carl’s wash & garage history lessons?”
“Yeah, right. As if someone would remember me by this name or by any other.”
“Come on, Ike,” Meryl said and took off her glasses. “We will always remember you. You’ve been here longer than anyone, including Carl.”
Ike’s eyes dropped to the floor. “Yeah, I know.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that,” She said.
“It’s okay,” Ike said, eyes still drawn to the floor.
Meryl shook her head. “So what are you doing tomorrow? Any amazing plans?”
“Well…” Ike said and looked at her. He had planned this for so long, but now that the moment arrived, he felt like a brick was tied to his heart, dragging his courage down, down, down.
“Yes?” Meryl asked. “Making a special breakfest? Golfing? Watching that show you mentioned? Something about a killer and a retired cop?”
“I actually wanted to…” A phone rang, cutting him mid sentence.
“I’m sorry,” Meryl said, “I’ll try to be quick.”
Ike nodded as Meryl picked up the phone. “Carl’s wash & garage, how may I help? Hey Johnny!” She said and her eyes lighted up. “I’m gooood, how are you?”
Johnny’s voice was too quiet for Ike to hear, but he didn’t need to. He watched Meryl laugh and play with her hair. After another moment of chuckles from Meryl, he put on his hat. “Goodbye Meryl,” He said and walked to the door.
“I’m so sorry,” She said and covered the phone with her palm. “Enjoy every minute of it!”
“Ok,” he said and closed the door behind him.
He stood outside’s Carl’s and watched Meryl through the glass door. She was smiling even harder and playing with her hair again. He dug out the movie tickets he bought the night before and dropped them in the garbage can. He took one good look at all the cars he would never wash again and walked home. Maybe he will watch that show, something his ex-wife mentioned about a retired cop on one last crusade.