Jimmy’s Roadside Café: Kindness in the Heart of a Stranger (Drabblecast Director’s Cut)

So, I was having kind of a crappy morning. I’d been up way past my bedtime in a futile chat session with a support tech about my screwed-up computer, which culminated in the tech taking remote control of the computer and doing a bunch of stuff that screwed it up even worse. When I finally got to bed, I was so angry I lay there wide-awake and fuming for several hours. So, it was in a rather grim and frazzled state that I got behind the wheel for my morning commute.

Before hitting the road, I found the latest episode from the Drabblecast podcast—the director’s cut of “Jimmy’s Roadside Café”—and hit Play.

And then…as my eyes filled with tears and the landscape became a gleaming, orange ocean of liquid metal, my spirit lifted. By the end, it had me thinking OMG, I want to read everything Ramsey Shehadeh has ever written.

Strangers brought together by violence and death. A post-apocalyptic café in the median of I-95. Amid it all—Jimmy, who lives in the present, never dwelling on the past, never worrying what tomorrow may bring. The writing is flawless but made even more wrenching by its performance and selection of accompanying music.

However unlikely it may seem that a story about a devastated and disease-ridden wasteland could lift one’s soul with happy tears, if you’re in need of a good cry, this one just might help you along.

“Jimmy’s Roadside Café” was first published in Strange Horizons, June 2008.

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