It was nearly closing time. I was wiping down the counter one time before laying out the paper mats and setups. Val is kind of adamant that we have everything ready for the breakfast crew. It’s a crap diner and the pay is lousy, but in 1981 I’m lucky to have a job, and every now and then I get a decent tip. Every now and then I meet a guy who is pleasant, is happy with the service, and isn’t trying to get into my pantyhose.
I didn’t notice when the college kid in the charcoal overcoat left; just heard the front door close.
Over at his booth I discovered enough cash to cover the check and a decent tip, and the book he’d been reading: “Jitterbug Perfume,” by Tom Robbins.
The check ended up on the spike, the cash in the till minus my tip, and the book ended up in my purse. My dogs were killing me, but it looked like tonight I’d be dancing a bit before I fell asleep.
Later, in bed with a glass of red and Knuckles purring at my feet, I opened the cover and discovered a note:
“The book is an acquired taste. You anticipated my every need tonight. Not trying to pick you up. If you like the book, maybe give me a call and tell me why. No strings. — Neil — 822-0820”
Shit! I stayed up all night reading. I liked it. I liked it a lot.
* * *
Trying my hand at a writing exercise — write in a voice different from your own. In this case, that of a woman. Stirring up memories of a diner I knew as a child. I would appreciate feedback on how well… or less than well… I did. Also on how well I placed it in the early 80s (if you dare admit you have any memories of them).