Sunday, January 13, 2008


"I scared the fly! Scared the fly!" The little girl screams in the booth next to us.

"You're scared of the fly, honey?" the mom says.



"They suck blood."

It was going well when we first entered, Mrs. Okie and I saw a booth available in our favorite section of our favorite diner where we eat the same thing every Sunday, served by the the same waitress who places our order in the kitchen when she sees us at the door and asks me the same question while pouring our coffee.

"With grits or no today, my friend."

"Yes, please."

"Okay, darlings, everything good?"

"Yeah, we're great," Mrs. Okie says.

"Good. And everything else?"

"Yes, thank you," I say.

"Great, good, nice to have good life." She said as she turned away and pulled her black vest down a little over her round backside.

"Jesse called when I was at work last night, he was . . ."

The girl screams about the blood sucker. She's all of three years old. And her mother tries to tell her that "no, those are mosquitoes that suck blood." And the three year-old's big sister, who must be around five, agrees with her sister that flies do suck blood; and the three year-old wails. "Sophie, why did you say that? You're just egging her on," then she rapid-fire pleads, "Ollie, Ollie, Ollie, flies don't suck blood." At first, I think she's going to swear, saying "holy, holy, holy." We're in the back of a narrow isle of parallel booths that ends at a wall with a large mirror. I'm across the isle and watching Ollie's reflection watch herself; she's enthralled and seems to be orchestrating her performance -- when her face cools she increases volume till she's back to beet red. She'd be a beautiful little girl if she'd stop screaming. Her sister is cute too, both are brunette with cherub faces and huge eyes. The mother's at an end, and after getting stares from an elderly couple sitting behind Ollie, she says, "I'm sure . . . you've had kids . . . and they were little, once . . . ." Sophie says mom, mom, mom and wants a trip to some store -- mom doesn't think that's a good idea because she's been misbehaving -- I'll be good tomorrow -- Tomorrow? What about the rest of today? -- Sophie thinks about that -- Ollie screams about the fly -- Sophie starts to stare at the old couple -- That's not polite, Sophie. Look away. Look at the mirror -- and Sophie looks at me looking at Ollie looking at herself -- I smile at Sophie -- she looks at Ollie and back at me and shrugs her shoulders, turns to her mother -- mom, mom, mom, mom -- You think about it, Sophie, I've told you about rewarding bad behavior . . .

Then I'm alone with my wife and breakfast and our waitress comes back.

"You okay? More coffee?"


"You need anything else?"

"No we're great, thanks."

"Good, my friend."


  1. You totally got the syntax of our waitress. She sounds even more "real" in your story than when I hear her talk in real life. I also love how you show that these two brats (who I wanted to clobber) have no effect on her. She goes about her business as if they were precious angels. Love the scene.

  2. Awesome. I've endured more than a few such situations...

  3. I like the flow of this. It is well paced from begining to end with the sensory detials acting like bread crumbs bring you home.

  4. reminds me of a time I was out to diner with my sister and brother-in-law when this little girl comes up to the table in the middle of our conversation (about why my brother-in-law doesn't want children) and he just looks down at her and says "go away I don't like kids" she threw a fit, it was terrible. oh , and Saxon says hi, and it was his birthday yesterday but he's been to busy to say comment and say thanks.

  5. I would have put all three in a corner, that would be including the mom to make the three.

    You did well... I was lost for a bit at a point but maybe because I need to read it again. Though I was lost in a good way at one point because it did seem real.