The Diner Dilemma

diet, diner, diningI never go to diners because I’m always on a diet. At 49 years of age, you’d think I  –  Dr. Pauline Limone  –  would be tired of trying to reshape myself, and my body, into something it’s not.

But no. this month I’m on the OEG diet, the biggest fad going on at the college where I teach. I don’t think the students know of this diet. They’re too busy snacking on Ring Dings and getting drunk on mojitos every Friday night.

But at least ten professors are on the OEG Diet. I know this because we all Zoom twice weekly to share recipes and to moan about the ridiculousness of the OEG.

In fact, I’m supposed to be in the university faculty lounge right now, face masked and each of us sitting six feet apart, but if I eat one more OEG meal, I will… puke. And I’ll only vomit one color, since the OEG diet means its initials: Only Eat Green. 

So, surreptitiously, I sneak off campus, down Springer Avenue, past Main Street, and up Doodle Lane to the tiny diner I’ve heard my students talk about. “Best milkshake in the Midwest,” was one quote. Another was “That double sharp cheese grilled sandwich with bacon is better than sex.”

I look around after I open the squeaky diner door – no one I recognize, although granted those not eating are wearing face masks. I slink past the counter with three empty stool seats, noticing that only every other booth is available for diners. Gratefully I sink into the last one .

The waitress comes almost immediately and begins to pour a glass of water.

“Don’t bother,” I whisper. “I want one of your chocolate milkshakes – and it better not be green.” milkshake, Pixabay, MorningbirdPhoto

She sends me an expression that silently says, “You’re an odd duck,” and marches off. I tap my fingers on the sticky tabletop, lusting for this shake like a thirsty dog pants for water.

The door squeaks and a man enters the diner with a limp I recognize, as well as his dark brown trench coat.

Damn! Of all the diners in this metropolis . . . really? Has he been following me? But he ignores my back corner and sits at the counter. He opens a newspaper he brought along – looks like the Times – and scribbles in it with his signature silver pen.

I know instantly that some way, somehow, I must find out what he’s writing. Could it be? No, not on the newspaper!

diner, Pixabay, Mariamichelle

Part II Next Friday.

 

140 thoughts on “The Diner Dilemma

  1. Love this, Pam! 😀 Poor Dr Pauline Limone and her diets, the OEG sounds the stuff of nightmares and good for her to sneak away. As always you gently lull us into a false sense of security, then immediately build the tension, raising lots of questions before the finish! I want to know more ..NOW (imagine petulant child, feet stomping!) Happy Writing and wishing you a lovely weekend, my friend! Xx ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

    • I love the petulant child in you (although I know there is no such thing – you are one of the most patient people I know… ) But thanks for the kudos on the built-up tension in my story. My worry is always that readers will be disappointed at my sequels, and in this case, when they find out who the brown trench-coated man really is. But I can’t help it – he appeared and TOLD ME who he was. I will admit, I was quite surprised… stay tuned.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Poor Pauline! I hope she’s still able to enjoy that milkshake–yum!
    But now we’re going to have to wait a whole week to find out what happens. (I like the detail of the signature silver pen.) Maybe he’s doing the crossword, like my husband. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Ring dings and mojitos, I don’t think I have every tried these snacks. OEG is OMG! 🙂 Sounds good in the ideal, futuristic, Truman Show, or being taken over by AI. Real world? Nah! Now the suspense. I have to wait 7 days? Although, can Pam be bribed with a pizza or burger and fries to email me privately with Part 2?🙂 ( Funny how you switch the font to green.)

    Liked by 3 people

    • YOU’VE NEVER HAD A RING DING???!!! Oh, Erica. Go out and get one. Please. For your own education and edification of what to NEVER eat while on a diet and while NOT on a diet. 🙂
      I’m so tempted with your bribe. So very, very tempted. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  4. He’s actually writing an article about OEG diet adherents and he might very well be her husband/boyfriend. In any event there is surely to be a wild twist in this story that’s not green. Because, you, my dear, are the queen of dramatic twists!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Oooh you are good with cliff hangers! I would not survive on the OEG diet at all!
    My mind is thinking of the possibilities of what he is wrting that makes her cringe! Some embarrassing fact I think. Maybe he is her Ex and is wrtiing about her!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I remember eating in the faculty lounge where there was lots of GREEN. I often brought brown and red to the table. (Sorry comments don’t allow color in font choices.)

    Dang, you have made me hungry for a chocolate-brown milk shake. After all, it’s after 11:00 am in my time zone. Wild guess: Your silver-penned mystery man may be writing the date of the end of the pandemic, or some other prophetic message.

    Waiting with bated breath, once again, Pam! ((( )))

    Liked by 3 people

    • How I love your guess, Marian!! With some of the great guesses here, I could write a number of different stories with the same main character, Dr. Limone, but several different scenarios at the diner. Kinda fun.
      I, also, am now wishing for a chocolate milkshake. I have the milk, and I have the chocolate, but alas, no ice cream. Speaking of colors, though (it would be fun if we could change font colors in the comment section, wouldn’t it?) have you ever tried a Chocolate Chip Mint milk shake? It’s green but sure doesn’t taste like a vegetable. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Here we go again! You are the kind of writer that keeps me awake all night because I need to know what happens…next. You string us along with something we can’t let go of and just delight in our torment. 🙂 I’m thinking he’s the Dean and writing his order on the crossword in the paper. Burger, fries and milkshake. Probably a member of the OEG diet group too. As a person on my 579th diet this year, I’m ready to just be round and love it. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Round is a lovely shape. Round makes the world go ’round, and implies infinity and everlasting love. How’s that for creativity? 🙂 The last time I dieted was about 10 years ago, when I had to give up potatoes and all starchy things. Now what kind of life is that, without baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes… you get my drift. That diet was kicked to the side, and I now include butter and sour cream on my baked potato, thank you very much. 🙂
      EXCELLENT guess, Marlene. And I really like the idea that he’s part of the OEG diet group. It’s not the case, in this case, but if I wrote the story over again with a different ending, I think I’d use your wonderful idea. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Thanks for the delightful story (and chuckles) and cliffhanger Pam! I’m grateful to not have to do diets and all the attending craziness. I’ve never had a Ring ding either so I might need to join Erika and Pauline in their guilty pleasure. My guess is he’s a writer for a gossip column!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. An OEG diet sounds horrific–especially if one has to drink a green drink to boot! I’m thinking the mysterious man is a food critic/reviewer who was on the OEG and decided to sneak away for some REAL food. And I’ve not seen ring-dings in Victoria but I have eaten my share of Twinkies.. . .Have a great weekend Pam and hope that includes a chocolate milk shake. . .

    Liked by 3 people

    • What a delightful guess! I worry because guesses like yours are so good, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed when you find out who the “real” brown-trench-coated man is. But … maybe not. Fascinating that you can get Twinkies where you live. Twinkie production was suspended in 2012 when Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy, and there was a huge uproar by Twinkie lovers. A private equity firm stepped in to save the day. So funny.

      Liked by 3 people

      • We can definitely get Twinkies–it’s “tradition” has been passed along to the next generations 🙂 I heard that the supposedly :”last” Twinkie for 2012 was placed in a Time Capsule that is suppose to be opened in 2112. Wonder if it would still be edible and who the Lucky Person might be who gets to sample?

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Oh, sure, a ‘cliff-hanger! Keep’em hanging!
    Now I won’t be able to eat, enjoy TV, sleep, or write my next ‘best seller’! (The last item for humor only!)
    BUT, I’m gladly and happily waiting, ‘Warrior Princess’!
    BR

    Liked by 3 people

    • Even I haven’t been able to guess my endings, Janis! I just let the pen flow and find out what the heck the character is up to. This one really took me a bit past my comfort level, and I had to “up my game,” You’ll see what I mean next week. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Great job, Pam. I’m hooked like a giant sea bass. My favorite sentence involved “lusting for this shake like a thirsty dog pants for water.” I think that’s my look when it comes to milkshakes. 😎 Speaking of odd ducks, never go down Springer Avenue. 🤣

    Liked by 3 people

    • Haha. You must have inspired me unconsciously with “Springer Avenue.” I happen to be an odd duck and therefore appreciate odd ducks. Maybe we should start an “Odd Duck Club,” Pete. We’ll meet at some fun diner (once we’re all vaccinated, of course). I just realized now that the diner that probably inspired me in this story is one that was a few blocks from Gonzaga University in Spokane WA, where our daughter attended. Best diner in the country. Well . . . then there’s Rosebud in Somerville, MA. Oh dear. Believe it or not, I don’t go diner dining much. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • 😊 Diner dining—that’s fun to say. I’ve never eaten at the diner in Spokane, but I know that Gonzaga is a traditional basketball powerhouse. I wonder if that will get me a free meal at the diner? It might be worth the effort.

        I’m looking forward to part two.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. You’re killing me many times before next Friday, Pam! Pauline should have gone to a diner in the next town or next city or next county. Only one person on earth I heard of going for the OEG diet. It was my former supervisor’s brother who had cancer and he didn’t want to go through chemo but wanted to go on the OEG diet. I didn’t know if it worked. I hope tomorrow is next Friday!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Love your comment, Miriam. I thought I’d made up the “OEG” diet, but I jut googled “only eat green diet” because of your comment and lo and behold, it is a “thing.” But it’s also not a healthy thing because there aren’t enough nutrients in only eating green. That said, eating a bowl of spinach is certainly more healthy than drinking a chocolate milk shake. But…. I’ll take my chances. 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • I didn’t know it was a “thing” either. I know that the dark green vegetables kill the bacteria in the intestinal walls. I think my former supervisor’s brother had colon cancer and he tried to use the greens to kill the cancer. It wouldn’t be a regular diet though.
        It was very creative of you coming up with that story, Pam. My husband was raised in a vegetarian home in the first 10 years of his life. Some family members are still vegetarians. My daughter and her husband have been vegetarians for 15-17 years. 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m hoping that poor Pauline can just enjoy her milkshake and tell herself that the gentleman is only doing the crossword puzzle in The Times. Only Eating Green…that would get old very quickly! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I love it when you set us up, Pam. Luckily, only a two-part story, so we don’t have to wait too long for the sequel and the answers to all our questions. If I have to guess, the man with the newspaper is a fellow OEG dieter… 🙂 Have a wonderful Sunday and I’ll get back to your last email soon!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I’m guessing that he’s one of the ten professors who are on the OEG diet. I’ll have to wait until next week to find out. The other question is: What is he writing? She’s worried because it could be … what? I can’t guess.

    I haven’t had a milk shake in ages. I would have ordered strawberry.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. How to leave us hanging Pam…but I did like the looks of that milkshake and the diner is super cute. Everyone is on a diet at this time of the year, even me, although I don’t call it a diet I just call it getting back in check before I become completely hopeless. I’ll be back Friday for the rest of the story…Have a good week.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Delightful, Pam. I can’t wait to read more. I found your blog through a comment you left on Annika’s blog. Two intriguing stories in one morning! I’m glad I stumbled upon these new blogs. Happy writing!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Pingback: Diner Destiny | roughwighting

  19. From the picture could this be 70 years ago? A silver pen? Only the wealthy used those. Of course no one ate green only then. Hum an apparition? The God of milkshakes finally arrived with blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: The week gone by — Jan. 31 – A Silly Place

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