I hope they play some Waylon Jennings

The little white balls scattered everywhere. Like children pouring out after a too-long bus ride. He tried to corral them. It did little good. He righted the salt shaker and grabbed a napkin. He surreptitiously swept those rolling escapees off the end of his table.

Then he dried his palms.

The waitress slowed as she walked by. She gave him a “Still waiting, sweetheart?” look. He nodded. She gave him a smile and continued on her way, balancing three plates of (overcooked by 15%) french fries.

The waitress was pretty. He’d give her… mid-thirties. Though, of course, not to her face. In less harsh lighting, she could easily go mid to late-twenties. She reminded him of Annabeth Gish. Kind of. And he suspected that she was going to continue to age well.

Hundreds of trips into a steamy kitchen, clearly was wreaking havoc with her hair, and causing her to constantly tuck it behind her ear. She bit her lower lip a little as she wrote down orders, unleashing the faintest beginnings of a dimple.

Still, she looked like she had some miles on her. But, not the bad kind. Hers were the result of hard work. Yet, she seemed untouched by bitterness. Admittedly, relying on tips factored in, but it was more than that.

She was appealing. Warm.

Or maybe he’d just like any woman who would bring him french fries.

He straightened his silverware. He unfolded the corner of his paper place mat. He reached for the salt shaker, but stopped himself.

He looked at the clock.

He tugged at the collar of his t-shirt. It seemed tighter than usual. He wondered, “Why did I wear green? Makes me look washed out.” He considered going to his car for his jacket.

He noticed a trucker sitting at the counter. The giant of a man taking a break from his giant of a plate of food to make silent burping faces. The trucker tipped his baseball cap back and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand.

The trucker had a tattoo on his arm. It looked like “Daisy”… or maybe “Maisy.” He wondered if the trucker was still with her. He then watched the trucker open and pour three little bottles of whiskey into his coffee, and suspected that maybe Daisy/Maisy was a thing of the past.

Still, he wondered if the ink was a lasting, loving tribute, or just a painful daily reminder. Perhaps it was both.

As his wonderings faded, he turned his attention back to the clock. And then to the main eating area.

As he fanned himself with the multi-stained menu, he noticed that the diner began to resemble some of that video footage of a street at night. The kind where they mess with the speeds and the lights all blur together.

There was a beauty in this chaos too. Chairs pushed in and out. Waitresses avoiding them, and each other, in a never ending ballet of reassuring gluttony. Classic country music on the juke box seemed, to him, a perfect soundtrack. They were tales of heartbreak and woe, but still catchy. Defiant.

He was beginning to feel some affection for this little diner.

His waitress walked by again. She gave him a smile. A genuine smile. He clearly saw two dimples.

He felt bad that he was about to rob the place.

0 thoughts on “I hope they play some Waylon Jennings

  1. Lovely piece. You did a great job of drawing us in and then pulling the rug out right there at the end. Nice work.

    One minor suggestion, if I may be so bold. At the point where you’re writing about the trucker’s tattoo, I found the “Daisy/Maisy” to be a bit jarring. There’s something kind of shorthand about the slash that clashes with the narrative flow. I think “Daisy or Maisy” would work better there.

    Needless to say, this is just my personal opinion and stylistic choices are purely subjective. I just wanted to throw my two cents in.

  2. I like the line about the “never ending ballet of reassuring gluttony.”

    And, of course, your patented twist at the end!

    Bask in the warm glow of my comment.

  3. At first I thought this was just a creative way to tell a true story about something that happened to you…but then, I don’t think you rob diners. Do you?

    Anyway, really enjoyable.

  4. Fantastic. I just found your blog today through Jurgen Nation and while your post on the Canadian Labor party made me laugh (the whole guy who runs the mic bit), this story will keep me coming back. I hope you catch some big fish and come back with some stories to match.

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