There’d been a bit of a fuss when someone from out of town noticed. It wouldn’t have been a problem, excepting that the particular someone was a journalist. Worse, a journalist who hadn’t produced a big story in a while. And he’d recognised the potential in this one.
He’d spotted the writing on the gas station’s bathroom wall when he’d taken the paper for a bit of an undisturbed sit down. His peace had been shattered by the occupants of a couple of motor homes. OK, so the kids were probably going stir crazy shut up inside whilst their folks did the long-distance driving, even so, the noise level had ramped up to positively nuclear and it’d driven the journalist straight to the gents.
The paper being dull, he’d started to read the graffiti. Some of it was pretty funny, smartly so, which was kinda unexpected for a small town in the middle of nowheresville hicktown. And then he spotted it. The prophesy. Or should I say this first one.
It was written in sharpie and the lettering was a bit wild. No neat cursive here. Unusually for graffiti, it appeared to have been dated. A quick google established that if the date noted on the wall was indeed correct, it pre-dated the occurrence. Intrigued, the journalist checked out the rest of his cubicle’s walls. There was one more – with wild lettering and dated. It too pre-dated the occurrence it appeared to be prophesying.
Finishing up in a hurry, he checked out the other cubicles and found two more in each. Each with the same wild lettering, each dated, each date preceeding the event being prophesied. But the walls in the main room were clean, so clean that he’d suspected a recent re-decoration. His spidey-senses prickled.
Having washed up, he returned to the diner, ordered more coffee and some of the home-made pie. When the waitress delivered both, he was able to engage her in what appeared to be mindless chatter about the bathroom walls. When she visibly tensed at his seemingly innocent question, he dropped it quickly, realising there could be something there.
It’d taken a while to find someone willing to talk – it being a small town ‘n all – but he’d finally dug up a mean-spirited old biddy who’d spilled the beans. Turned out the handwriting matched that of the waitress’s son – who was special … and she’d said special as if to stress the quotes around the word. Apparently it’d taken multiples coats of special paint to cover the graffiti on the main walls, which is why they hadn’t started on the cubicles yet. He’d got there in the nick time. Being a pro he’d snapped pictures on his phone, holding up the day’s newspaper in each and every one as a time stamp. Leaving town, he took it to an old friend in the FBI, someone who’d previously kept first dibs on a story for him, if he’d shared the lead.
The next time he went by, the gas station was closed and incident tape prevented anyone from entering. He finally got clearance from his FBI friend phoned through to the local cops who let him in, though it was clear there were really unhappy about it. He paid a visit to his old biddy contact who confirmed that the FBI had taken the special boy into custody and that the town was mad as hell. Sure he’d been making prophesies, but they all knew he’d not actually made them happen. Hell, they were happening all across the country, and he never left town. Ever.
They’d had to release the boy eventually, but no matter what he’d tried, the waitress wouldn’t let the journalist get near her boy. And the town were all supporting her. Every stranger who enquired was pretty much run out of town. Oh and the old biddy got banned from the gas station.
The journalist took to hiring a random selection of strangers to stop, buy coffee and a pie, then pay a visit to the gents. Whilst there, he got them to take a snap of any new prophesy, together with the obligatory daily paper. Any new prophesy was shared with the FBI, after which they’d both tried to figure out where it might happen. There’d been 6 more to date, and they’d not managed to do anything about them, ‘cept recognise them when they’d occurred. They might have been able to persuade the old President to talk to the waitress and her boy. But no luck with the new guy. With his huge ego, he wasn’t going to risk being involved in something that far-fetched.
© Debra Carey, 2018