At a Diner

I was at a diner with no waitress eating runny eggs. He was already in there to the right of me. I could tell he was hungrier for talk than food, but that only scared me more so I climbed on deeper inside myself to stay warm. I could feel his eyes on the side of my head the whole time but I pretended not to see. Even though you’d have to be deaf not to hear that breathing. I just kept staring at something more than the egg yolks on my plate.

The thing is I had seen him coming in. He was so very strange looking. One of those deformed human blob bodies, so twisted and asymmetrical that he needed one of those rascal wheelchair things to move around. I saw a hand but no arm. A shoulder on the right and a hunchback on the left. He had long greasy hair and a giant bald spot. A Ron Jeremy head on a broken penguin body. A hideous and sad body. His breathing was loud and laborious, a slow heavy snarl beating to the world’s pace. In. Out. In. Out. More creature than man.

“Been raining all day huh?” He said to me still staring at the side of my head. I looked over slowly and pretended to be nonchalant with a semi-smile “Yeah it’s terrible out there.” And then turned back to the eggs dismissive. I caught a glimpse of the sharp yellow badger teeth in his mouth. The halogen lights flickered.

I heard the bells on the door. There was pure silence for a few seconds. Then an unsure footstep. Then another. They were slow and moving closer. Suddenly she was right next to me.

“Excuse me.” I looked up. She was a Mexican girl. My age, maybe a little older. She was wearing hospital scrubs and a big ugly cheap purse. The shoes on her feet were the ones that were shaped like crocs but without the Swiss cheese holes. Her hair was greasy and curled and her face was very plain, very Mexican, with a flat nose. Her plain face repulsed me but I smiled and gave her a courteous nod hello before I realized she looked like she wanted to ask me something.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” she said and I could see her eyes go up to look at the other man, but only for a second. “Uh… Sorry I was just wondering if you have any change for a dollar? I’m at a meter outside and it doesn’t take credit card and I need to run across the street so…”

I checked my pockets for change even though I knew I had none. “Mmm I’m so sorry I don’t.” And I looked at her with that “wish I could help ya” face because I did.

The man-blob suddenly screamed out “I got it!” We both jumped a little and looked over to see him shifting groaning creaking twisting unzipping pockets and fannypacks and unrolling heavy aluminum foils and taking out coins “here here!”. He was holding them up in his fat little trembling hand that looked as if it was coming straight out of his shoulder. He was smiling wide and proud with those sharp badger teeth. After a moment, she acclimated and smiled. “Oh thank you sir!” And she reached out carefully and took the coins and tried giving him the dollar. “No no! No!” He yelled at her. “Oh no… Please. Take it.” “No no.” She gave up trying. “Ok. Well… Thank you so much!” He smiled and started zipping it all up but kept his eyes and smile on her the whole time “Been raining all day huh?” “Yeah ha.”

She started for the door. “What’s it like now?!” He yelled stopping her. “Is it any better now or no?” She thought about it maybe if just to avoid looking at him. “Mmm yeah its a little better but…” He was smiling his desperate crooked smile. “But not really right?” “Mmm no I guess not.” “Haha!” he laughed nervous.

She started for the door again. “Where are you going!?” She stopped “excuse me?” “Uhh right now. What did you have to park for?” “Oh uh I have to go to the pharmacy over there so…”

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