Don’t Drink The Bottled Water (Flash Fiction)


No matter how far I turned the A/C knob it blew warm air. GPS had me driving back roads for two hours.

Wish I had remembered to bring my charger.

I tossed my cell across the car satisfied as it bounced off the door clattering into the floor board. If I didn’t make Bible Camp soon, Mom and Dad would never let me do a solo trip again, or not until I’m 30.

I gave a sigh of relief as I read the big sign up ahead, Sweetie’s Diner.

I bet they’d have a phone.

The car had been sputtering for the last two miles and it now smelt hot. I really hated Texas heat. I pulled into the parking lot just as the car coughed and wheezed, steam rolling from under the hood. I got out.

Great, just great.

A sign next to the door made me pause, DON’T DRINK THE BOTTLED WATER!

Strange, was the sign a joke? Not a very funny one in this heat.

Shrugging I opened the door. Inside was marginally cooler than outside but not by much. I took a seat next to the big water cooler fan I spotted. Ceiling fans dotted every beam. The place was clean at least.

Pies, cakes, donuts, pastries of all types littered the counter tops and every shelf. Bottles of water lined a cooler that took up the whole north wall labeled, “Take One. They’re Free.” It looked more like a bakery rather than a backwoods diner, except for the large chalkboard displaying the menu selection.

An older, gypsy-like woman emerged from the back snagging a bottle of water from the cooler as she walked toward me. She sat the bottle in front of me and pulled a pen and pad from her apron pocket.

“Today’s lunch special is Cob Salad with a side of chopped beef served with watermelon chunks for dessert. The water is always free.” She pushed the cold bottle toward me. “You look really hot.”

I was really hot. I wanted that bottle of water, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the sign out front and all the free BOTTLED water inside.

What business does that?

I licked my lips and decided to use caution. “I’m good.”

“So, what can I get for you?” She inched the bottle a little closer to me.

I wish she’d stop doing that.

“A phone?”

“Sorry, no phones.” She paused.

Who doesn’t have a phone nowadays? I must have looked the way I felt.

“Don’t look so heartsick kid, I’ll ask Han to call for assistance on his ham radio for you?

“Really? I mean thanks, that’d be great.” Now I just needed to worry about how to tell Mom and Dad so they’d see how well I handled this situation on my own. I did not want to lose car privileges.

“So what do you want to eat or drink while you wait?”

I was so thirsty. “The special, but do you have soda?”

“Sure, I’ll get it for you.” She was back in under a minute. “Han hasn’t made this month’s supply order, so this off brand of orange soda is all we have in stock.” She sat it on the table and then disappeared in back.

I sipped my soda. It was icy cold. Someone was humming in the background. My eyes grew heavy and my head nodded forward. I sat up. It must be the heat. My body felt like a wet noodle. One minute,..

I just needed to rest my head for one minute.


“Did she drink it?” Han laid his knife down and turned on the furnace.

“Snoozing like a baby. That sign works every time.”

©All Rights Reserved Juneta Key

(Originally published July 27, 2016 Storytime Blog Hop on Writer’s Gambit.)

Storytime Blog Hop founded 2015 by students of the Holly Lisle’s writing course: How To Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writer’s.

If you enjoyed this story, click on the green heart on the left side below the article, and give it some love.

Juneta is a speculative fiction writer. She always wanted to live some place tropical retiring early from police/fire/EMT-911 communications dispatch. She is now a Texan living in Florida.

She loves writing about Gothic space opera, paranormal fantasy adventure, mysteries and romance with all the complexity of human nature mixed in, whether human or non-human, mage, mystic or pilot.Read More about Juneta Here

Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit Website & blog

Want to contact me? Email Me Here.

You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook and Mind ~ Heart ~ Spirit: The Journey blog.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.