4:00am- Back to the Diner

He was up earlier than most times I was actually just after 3:30 but he couldn’t sleep anymore. Hungry again and needing some bad coffee from “Joe’s”, he started the long walk down again, past the toll booth that still took dimes; and the guy who waited by the side of the road and always asked “got any spare thoughts, mister?”

“Plenty”, he says…”Get your own” and shuffled off to the diner.

The lights over the entry doors must have needed working because they kept blinking off and on randomly, like they were burning out; or a portent of what might just be going on inside because it was loud in there this morning. As he reached for the door handle, still in greasy condition and needing a good wipe down, he heard some plates breaking and a loud voice screaming “These eggs are for crap!”

It was Spike. He knew it now. So he flipped the collar up on his coat and started to pretend to read his newspaper. “Here’s hopin’ booth number 6 is open”, he thought, almost out loud, so he could just slide in and disappear.

Number 6 was open. “Thank Christ”, he thought, careful not to say anything out loud and draw attention to himself. That would happen anyway when Deidre, the waitress, showed up –so he realized, at last, that he was only delaying the inevitable. And so, taking a deep breath, he read his paper and steadied himself.

“Oi!”, came a voice from down the way. “You! , Wanker! I see you bothered to show up today for change, that’s nice isn’t it, you jackass, you.” spat the voice; Then spat on the floor

This would be Spike. Spike was always angry. Spike didn’t like runny eggs, nor did she have any concept of patience, tact , or peaceful communication. Deidre tolerated her but, only for a time. He looked desperately for her as well, as this was the one time he would welcome the lurid outfits and elongated cigarette ash that always defies the laws of Newton; but, Deirdre wssn’t anywhere to be seen.

He could hear her yelling at the cook about the “damn eggs were shite again! What’ve I told you time and time and time again??”…so he now wasn’t really in a hurry to see her either.

Spike would be easier to deal with, he thought to himself, if he could see her face. She always wore one of those full on, stretchy, spiked masks that cover one’s entire head. He once saw one advertised on Facebook and, strangely, found it arousing, but then remembered who wore it and that was the end of that.

The spikes mirrored her personality as well, they screamed “DO NOT TOUCH ME!”, and were always either an angry shade of red or, if she was really in a mood, white.

“Oi!”, Spike yelled out again, “If you’re not coming ‘ere then I’m comin’ there, you hear me?” and she rose and started to come his way. She was clad in leather. Black, an so tight it creaked when she walked. Her heels, at least 8 inches high, were railroad spikes and they were blazing. She wore a tie-on corset over her outfit that covered her entire torso and was so covered in spikes, one couldn’t see any definition to her considerably endowed body outline. Her entire presence shrieked, “I AM NOT HAVING IT TODAY!”.

She didn’t pour herself into the booth like Trace did, She INVADED it. She sat across from him, reached around to grab a deserted menu from the booth behind them, and threw it into his face. “Make an order you wanker! Go ahead! Get SOMETHING done for a change!”. He opened the menu and began to do as he was told. Where was Deidre? He really needed her to show up–and now.

Spike just turned her head to one side..silently this time. she pointed at the menu top with her black, polished fingernail and tapped it…slowly. “Now…..” she hissed.

He looked at the menu…and started to stutter his order for her; “I-Ill h-have the..” he stammered “YOU’LL HAVE WHAT YOU’RE GIVEN!” she barked, “Deidre! Where the hell are ya? And where are my damn eggs? They had better be right or you’ll wear ’em again you cow!”

Deidre finally appeared….and slowly approached. He saw instantly she was NOT happy. She had been changing clothes apparently because her usual lurid outfit of pink and flowers (or blue with birds depending on her mood) had been replaced with one of very bright orange, highlighted with small sunbursts on them.

“Well..” sarcastically snarled Spike, “We look quite the Orange Ripple now, don’t we?”. It was then he noticed Deidre had changed her name tag too. It was spelled differently. The I and the D in the middle of her name were very large so it now read “DeIDre”…he wondered why. why would the I and the D being larger be significant?

DeIDre, as she onw was apparenlty tagged, leaned over Spike very quitely. He ponderous girth and heavy bosom fat against Spike’s lean, taut and very spiked body. “‘Ere are your eggs, Love”, she whispered in a very, small but very intense voice. “…and we know our PLACE now Don’t we?” she added…”You’d better get back to it or leave this gent here the hell alone.”

DeIDre straightened again, but didn’t break her eye contact with Spike..”Juust you remember who run things in THIS place, dearie…” she said; “You may be all the RAGE…but I control you and you damn well know it”.

Spike sat quietly for a minute. Then pointed again at him and said “He’s the problem, not me…he doesn’t listen to me. He just gets a bollocking and doesn’t use the menu like I need him to–I mean, Come on DeIDre, jus’ once right? Jus’ once he could he stand up for ‘imself??”

DeIDre leaned close to me, ash dangling but not falling and whispered, “She’s right you know..but she sucks at saying it…she needs to stop ALL THAT NOISE and let me help you ORDER. That’s my JOB as the WAITRESS, SPIKE!!!” At this, Spike actually cowed, and took her eggs, and slunk back to booth number 12, where she usually belonged as 6 was taken by him.

“These eggs are better DeIDre”, was all Spike said anymore during that visit.

DeIDre asked him now officially, “So , Love; now that all that’s over what’ll it be?”. He paused, and opened the menu. Out of the corner of his eye, from booth number 12, he saw Spike stiffen a little and watch him; “I think I’ll have the “Face the Workday Special” today….with an extra side of assurance and maybe a smidge of hope.”. In her blazing, orange dress with the little pattern of sunbursts on it, DeIDre actually managed–just for a moment–a small smile. The ash still hung on for dear life, but he fleeting smile was still there. “Good choice, dearie; I’ll get it going…”

She went back to the kitchen and, as was normal, returned bearing a mirrored tray.

And He looked and saw that it was Good. And the Evening and the Morning was the first day.

He looked at Spike, and she, at least he thought so through her mask, looked back at him and nodded; gave him the finger and said “Now go on you tossing jackass!, eat it all like a good boy!–or you’ll hear from me again!”

“And me too”, said DeIDre who was still standing there and who drew close…”After all; You don’t mess with the management here you know, love…”

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