There is a diner in a small town in Arkansas. I feel that this adequately covers up the identity as I just described dozens of places all around the state. This was one town over from where I grew up and I had ties to the owners.
I started working there my senior year of high school. It was my first real job and I was excited. It’s not that hard. Just turn on that southern charm and you will make it.
When I first started, I would be making milkshakes when out of the corner of my eye I would see someone standing at the counter, but when I turned around, no one was there. It wasn’t a constant thing as we were pretty busy most nights with real customers standing at the counter. I chalked this up to me being an eager new employee and not wanting to miss a customer. The events that followed cast a different light on this.
Like many small town diners, we had a pool table in the back of the dinning area. Once there were no customers left and it was getting close to closing time, it was my job to sweep and mop under and around that table. I would often do this alone while the rest of my co-workers did other closing stuff. About two months or so into working there, I was alone sweeping near the table when I heard the pool balls hitting each other inside. It wasn’t loud or violent. It was more like one was pushed and hit the ball in front of it causing a domino effect with accompanying “click clicks” that grew softer then stopped. It only lasted maybe a second just enough to catch my attention.
Now, I’m a person of science. I treat any paranormal activity with great skepticism. I do believe in ghosts but I think most activity can be explained rationally. I believe fear gives them power so I didn’t want to show weakness. I quickly finished my task and moved back to the kitchen with my other coworkers. I didn’t want to tell them what I saw because I was still new and getting to know them. They treated me as “the kid” and I was trying to shake that title.
Over the coming months, I caught bits and pieces of lore surrounding the diner. I was told once by a customer that he had been coming ever since it opened in the 50s. He asked me straight out if I had met the ghost. I had almost forgotten what happened with the pool table. I decided not to tell him. He belonged to that class of customers who love to mess with the young female waitresses and I didn’t want to give him the opportunity. He told me about a car that had caught fire in the parking lot in the first couple decades of being open. Apparently, some dumb teenage boys were playing with firecrackers when one went into a nearby car with one of their friends inside. The young man died in the blaze. The customer told me that if I left the pool balls out on the table at closing in the morning they would be moved around. He even went as far to suggest that I leave them in a certian pattern I would remember or at least take a picture so I could tell if anything had changed. I just nodded my head and internally swore I would never do it. I ain’t tempting no spirits like that. It’s hard to know if the guy was messing with me or telling the truth. He said he had worked here as a teenager and had witnessed paranormal events himself. I just brushed it off and continued with my day.
Some time later, our manager and other co-workers were hanging out in the dinning area on a particularly slow night. I mentioned what the customer said. My manager corroborated the story of the man dying in the parking lot although she didn’t know any more information. She said that she knew this place was haunted. She would come in some mornings and find salt all over a few tables. At first she thought it was the night staff not doing their work, until she closed one night and opened the next morning to find the salt on the tables when she knew she had cleaned them the night before. Other co-workers had also seen the salt on the tables. Sometimes it would even happen during the shift. A table that had been cleaned would be found with salt later on in the night.
The possible paranormal activity increased the longer I worked there. It all seemed to be concentrated on me. Empty boxes would fall off shelves and hit my head. The ice scoop would fall off it’s perch on top of the coke machine when no one as near it. One time, I was on my phone in the back of the kitchen. A cook was getting ready for the day. She took something out of the utensils bucket on the counter. I was leaning against this counter about three feet from the bucket. She had taken a couple steps when a large cutting knife fell out of the bucket, slid down the various tubs that were left to dry between me and the bucket, and spun around so it was pointing to me. It was only a few inches from where I was leaning. None of my co-workers noticed what happened so I didn’t want to alarm them. I just put it back and left the kitchen. I tried to rationalize the event but couldn’t. There was no way my co-worker caused it otherwise it would have happened immediately.
I confided in a good friend who worked there as well about my experiences. She said she has noticed more weird things happening when I’m around. We joked that the ghost was in love with me. We didn’t really take any of it seriously.
Now this may be unrelated, but every relationship an employee had ended all within a year of each other. These weren’t high school romances, three of them were marriages, and two others were long term relationship. This happened to everyone with a relationship. The day one of my co-worker’s husband left her, I remarked to my friend that I was the only one left who still had a relationship. That night, my long term boyfriend broke up with me. This isn’t exactly paranormal but it felt like a curse. This is how the ghost went from being in love with me to actually sabotaging relationships. It was all very strange.
The final event happened as I was training a new girl a month or so before I left for college. Once again, I was sweeping under the table alone when the balls started rolling around in the table. It was louder than the first time nearly a year before, and lasted a little longer. But I was tired and didn’t want to stay any longer than I had to so I ignored it. I went around to the other side of the table. There was a little window where you could see the balls inside. I was directly in front of it, my head only inches from the window when I heard the balls moving. I looked up and saw them rolling. It was only the one ball hitting the others. I can even remember that it was the ball with an orange stripe. I noped out of there and brought the new girl back with me to finish sweeping.
Ever since I left, my friend told me that the activity has quieted down. Now I work with a self proclaim sensitive. Once again, I’m skeptical of her abilities but recent events has made me rethink my position, but that’s a story for another day. Thanks for listening.