WARREN VO: I hop up onto one of those swizzle stools. The ones that go up and down as you spin them around. There’s a stack of magazines behind the counter. The trashy ones. They’re Cheryl’s. Street lights cut in through the upper windows of the diner that line the ceiling and paint big rectangles all the way to the other side of the room. Over the counter Cheryl gives me a nod asking if I’ll take the usual. I nod back. Her gold hoop earrings flare out as she turns to the kitchen. She hits the metal window twice.

CHERYL: Warren’s plate!

MACK: Howdy Warren!

WARREN: Hey Mack.

WARREN VO: Cheryl turns back around and peers at me over the top of her pointed 60’s glasses. She’s leaning in for the scoop on the latest cop gossip. Now that has its obvious hang ups. I mean, you give a mouse a cookie and it’ll ask for some milk. But Cheryl, on the other hand, she could eat a whole bakery. But if there’s anyone I’d trust rubber ducking ideas through, well Princess would be first, but Cheryl’s a close second.

WARREN: Nothing yet. Nothing substantial that is. I did get a chance to take a peek at his room though.

WARREN VO: We both put our elbows on the counter and bring our faces together like kids at a slumber party. You know, telling secrets that won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

CHERYL: What do you think it is?

WARREN: Maybe nothin, or maybe somethin’… Could be just your usual teen existential crisis though based on his book selection it’s hard to tell. Cheryl brushes her brown hair back behind her ear.

CHERYL: What books exactly?

WARREN: Some Buddhist book on dying gracefully. But you’d think his mom would know about something like that if he were sick or something.

CHERYL: Yeah, you’d hope. But I haven’t met her. I don’t know.


MACK: Order up!

CHERYL: And the girl?

WARREN: Nothing yet.

WARREN VO: She puts the scramble down in front of me. There’s a ketchup smiley face on it. Mack keeps it classy at this fine establishment. He smiles proudly from the window.

WARREN: I’m not sure about this one. Kid goes missing. Out with his friends. She’s the last one to see him. End of story. No alibi for the girl. No motive. There’s something she’s not telling us though except for her rambling on about some nonsense or another. I’m sure she’ll settle down eventually and maybe then we’ll get something usable out of her. Well, I don’t think it’s anything sinister but she’s got a secret on the edge of that tongue. I can tell. I mean, he can’t just be gone.

WARREN VO: Cheryl pours us each a cup of coffee. She must live on that stuff. It’s a little late for caffeine but it rounds out the midnight breakfast experience. Another woman with two grey braids sits at the far booth. She’s flipping 3 cards at a time in an intense game of solitaire. She’s serious about it. She’s here more than I am. She’s worn a permanent sag into the green vinyl seat. Denim jacket. Matching jeans that are skinny and, yet, somehow she’s swimming in them. And next to her at the ready is one of those canes with the four little legs on them so it can stand on its own. She must live close by. I can’t imagine her walking very far with that thing.

CHERYL: Here, try this.

WARREN: Ah, Cheryl, it’s a school night and I gotta be up early.

CHERYL: Well, taste it at least.

WARREN VO: She slides a neon green drink down the bar. The air catches the tiny tropical umbrella and strands it on the counter. Now, Cheryl’s fine at mixing the classics but she should really stick to those.

[Warren smells and coughs]

WARREN: [TO CHERYL] Oh, gosh, that burns and I haven’t even tasted it yet. Whew. That’s some booze.

CHERYL: It’s supposed to burn. That means it’s workin’. Try it again.

WARREN VO: The 24 hour diner is covered in dark wood with green vinyl commercial booths. They’ve been here since before Mac and Cheryl took over. They haven’t changed it since then and that was the early 2000’s. Cheap, good, and basic. Dependable. That was their goal and they the mark for sure, but I wouldn’t bring a first date here. Well, on second thought, that may be a good litmus test. You can’t beat a $5.99 breakfast 24/7. Even Princess looks forward to those leftovers when I bring ‘em home, but I’m guessing it’s just the salt. I gotta hit the hay. Tomorrow’s the search.

NARRATOR: This is Cheryl. Thanks for listening to Husk. If you like what you heard, help keep us on the air. Rate and subscribe on iTunes. It’s important. We’ll be back in next week with a new episode. Until then – do you know where Dmitri is? Let us know at