Fiction Friday–The Diner

(I’ve been grading papers and Friday escaped when I wasn’t paying attention. Since it’s fiction, let’s all just pretend that it’s Friday.)

Scene: a diner–you know the kind: red vinyl booths, laminate tables, chrome, and stools at the counter. The waitress is wearing a shirt dress in mint with short, cuffed sleeves and comfortable shoes. The man in the booth looks like a lumberjack who’s never seen a tree–all clean, pressed flannel and a creative beard.

“Hiya hon, what can I getcha?” The waitress plops down flatware wrapped in a napkin along with a laminated menu card. Breakfast food predominate.

The man immediately opens up the package and starts examining and polishing the fork. He looks up. “How are these cleaned?”

“Paulo, in the back. He’s our dishwasher. Faster than a blink of a gnat’s eye.”

“At what temperature are these cleansed?”

“I don’t know about cleansing, hon, but it’s hot enough to burn. You from the health department? You wanna go back and look?”

The man sighs. “No, I guess it’s okay. Where are your eggs from?”

“Chickens?”

“What breed of chicken?”

“I don’t rightly know. The package just says ‘Eggs.'” She thinks for a second. “The eggs are white, if that helps.”

“Hmm. Do you think you could check?”

“Check what, hon?”

“The breed of chicken.”

“I… suppose. I can ask the manager, but I don’t think he knows.” The waitress goes to the manager and they have a conversation with many glances towards the bearded man and shrugs. She comes back. “He says they come on a truck. They’re real fresh, though. Arrived this morning.”

“Fine. Now, about your flour. Where is it grown? Do you know the varietal?”

“The what now?”

“The var… the kind of wheat.”

“I’m not sure. It comes in a sack with a crown on it.”

“Hmm. And your water?”

“It comes out of the tap, and I don’t know anything else about it.”

“Your coffee…”

“Winner of the Best Cuppa Joe award three years running,” the waitress says proudly.

“Would you know how long it’s been roasted? What beans are used? Are they fair trade?”

The waitress looks at the man for a long moment. “The come out of the can. I made a new pot about five minutes ago. And if two bucks for endless refills isn’t a fair trade, I don’t know what to tell you.”

This time the man stares at the waitress for a good long time. He nods. “I’ll have the hash with two fried eggs on top, some white toast, and a cup of coffee.”

“How you want that coffee?”

“Oh, with foamed skim milk, a shot of caramel, and cocoa-dusted whipped cream.”

“We got sugar, creamer in those little cups, and black.”

“Cream, then?”

“You got it, hon. Be right up.”

 

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