The old man and
the diner waitress

By Zachary Level Mustaine

Updated: 2009-09-26

  1. He comes through the door in his usual manner
  2. Loud raucous complaining smiling
  3. taking his usual seat and attempting to light his usual cigarette.
  4. No smoking
  5. not in here says the waitress.
  6. He holds her in contempt with the look in his eye.
  7. Damn it I’m a war veteran I can smoke if I damn well please.
  8. “not in here Richard”
  9. Hell if I won’t, as he puts his unlit stick back in the box.
  10. You should be lighting my cigarettes.
  11. she hands him coffee.
  12. and my drinks should be free too.
  13. Then he turns to me as the waitress brings me my food.
  14. Two pancakes, hash browns, fried ham, coffee.
  15. You gonna eat all that boy?
  16. Yes sir I said.
  17. He leans back on his bar stool, grinning like a child.
  18. If I ate that, I’d be fat as Hell.
  19. I give him a smile.
  20. doesn’t matter what I get, he always says that.
  22. The waitress comes back around wiping out a dirty glass.
  23. “where ya been Rick? Haven’t seen you around in a week.”
  24. The old man concentrates on his napkin. sheepishly looking
  25. for some way to change the subject.
  26. He can’t think of a lie.
  27. Hospital.
  29. The guy next to me overhears.
  30. probably for a brain exam
  31. ya crazy old man.
  32. Richard laughs.
  33. but the Waitress doesn’t think its funny.
  34. Richard... why.... why were you in the Hospital?
  36. He gets real quiet. and when he looks up
  37. I swear to God I’ve never seen an old man look that scared.
  38. His eyes glisten as he pulls the waitress in closer to a whisper.
  39. “Susan.... I’m dying.”
  40. It was barely audible. certainly not meant for me to hear.
  41. I glanced around at the other patrons sitting at the counter.
  42. They didn’t seem to have heard what he said. or maybe they couldn’t understand it.
  43. or maybe it didn’t dawn on them what that meant.
  44. or maybe, unfortunately they didn’t give a rat’s ass.
  45. But the waitress knew.
  46. she knew Him too well to think he’d lie about that.
  48. and for a brief moment their eyes met from over the counter.
  49. she ceasing to be a waitress, he ceasing to be a customer.
  50. they began to be something beautiful
  51. a tear swelling up in her eye falling fast onto his cold
  52. clutching wrinkled little hand.
  53. and then the moment was over.
  54. the sound was turned back on and you could hear the clinking of silverware.
  55. people were talking as if nothing happened
  56. and he turned to the man next to him and discussed the Baseball game
  57. from the night before how the home team managed to squeeze by in the 15th inning.
  58. and I look in amazement at the secret beauty.
  59. of the relationship between
  60. the old man and the diner waitress.