I stopped in a diner for lunch. It was one of those diners where you could get breakfast at any time of the day. I ordered eggs, scrambled, and country ham with home-fries and toast. The waitress poured me water in a plastic cup. It was her birthday.
“You want anythin’ else to drink, sweetie?”
“A coffee…and do you have any cranberry juice?”
“Just the coffee then. Thanks!”
I opened my book to read.
There was a fella in a booth behind me — looked like one of them old time blues guys; 3-piece suit and fedora. Looking sharp. He was finishing his meal and reading a bit of the paper.
The bookie in a booth to the right of the blues guy was takin’ bets from the cook for next week’s games and punchin’ the data into his laptop.
An old gentleman came in and took a seat two stools to the left of me and greeted the waitress a happy birthday. He ordered fried chicken, mashed taters with gravy and a side of corn.
A man sat down two stools to my right and drank 5 cups of coffee and talked about how he drank lots of coffee.
I tasted my taters and then my eggs before seasoning them both with salt and pepper. The country ham was cured and salted enough. My coffee was refilled by the birthday girl.
The old blues man behind me got up slowly and made his way out carefully, using empty stools and counter tops for balance.
I smoked a cigarette, payed my bill and walked out. I never wished my waitress a happy birthday.
I got to my car, kicked my shoes off and drove on.