Story Go Round 02/1/2002, round 2, #4

Brought to you by the word 'ptoie'


Ptoie! She spat decisively on the counter top, then wiped at the coffee stain with vigor. Dan and his coffee were both making too much mess these days, and the end was drawing near. The end of what, she wasn't sure. But Marie 's mouth was getting dry, and her patience had evaporated. Once again, and 5¢ tip. That was just swell. She wondered if he knew what it was like to be a waitress in this day and age. 1952 wasn't 2002, no sirree bob, not by any math nor calendar calculation known to man ("no, no, Alan, NO, you will not bring aliens into this, again." pause. "cuz I won't let you, that's why" pause "I don't care what Terry said." He's always saying something new, and if you really listen, well ... actually, its kind of fascinating. Stimulating. Like an April shower in an orchard full of rose blooms.

Marie could've used some roses. If Dan had given her just one - but no, no point in getting her hopes up. Things were what they were, and no hoping would change that. He'd been talking idlely about taking a trip to Reno if he could get the money for it. Once he'd paid for the motorcycle, from his job at Saul's Filling Station he'd fly. She'd be off with him arms wrapped around his torso, legs wrapped around themselves in a Kama Sutra reminiscent pose.

Ptoie! she spat again. The Kama Sutra always got her phlegm up. Karl stared at her vacantly behind his messy apron, spatula in hand, lower lip like a Lister bag. "You need some time to think," he said obscurely. Karl didn't say much, but some how he knew what to say to her. Marie nodded. "Take off at 9, Hector can cover for you till closing," he said, and went back to scraping the grill and the baseball game on the radio. Gratefully, she brought out three more plate specials to the diner regulars. Near 6pm, they always got Phil and Ed, the two north-side cops finishing their beat.

Ptoie! came a gobber of disgust. They were out of cream-filleds. If Ed didn't find one on his plate he'd close 'em down. She'd have to make a run to DD right now. She spit again for emphasis as she shoved the empty platter along the counter. She fainted in the aisle before she sensed the dehydration coming on. She caught her mouth around the knee of a customer, like a hog with an apple. The plates clattered to the floor and Phil jumped up with a curse, tomato soup dripping down his front. "Karl, you working this girl too hard?" he yelled at the kitchen.

Karl had only one word for Phil. "Dan," he shouted.

"Oh," Phil called back, and leaned over Marie. "Sorry, sis," he said, "I shoulda never introduced that rat to you."

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange