“Peas and beans
That’s today’s news
Do you want some stewed prunes?”
My friend Alice, the waitress, looked at the two truck drivers expectantly as they sipped on their drinks. They both looked over their menus at each other, and then at her. The guy called ‘Ralph’ began to laugh until his friend ‘Jack’ kicked him under the table.
“Well, ma’am,” Jack drawled. “I’m not one for prunes. How ‘bout the burger and fries?”
“Burgers and fries cooked just right.
Medium or done a little light?”
Alice acquired a Master’s in English with me once, aeons ago, but now she owned a funky diner in the middle of nowhere, U.S.A. And she had certainly put her own twist, or seasoning, to the place.
“Uh, yes, I’d like mine rare please.”
Alice then looked at Ralph, whose mouth was spread open like a day-old newspaper. He jumped when Jack kicked him again. “Tuna salad, I think,” Ralph mumbled. His red beard trembled when he answered, and he looked like he wanted to bolt for the door. However, the two men were sitting in a booth at the far side of the diner called “A Rhyme for all Seasonings.” I had a feeling that Ralph was the kind who always picked a table near the door when he went out to a bar or a diner, but when they arrived, every booth had been full except this one.
“Celery and mayo is nice.
How ‘bout some rye bread sliced?” Alice asked.
Ralph stared at Alice as if she was an exhibit at a high tech museum. She stood there in front of him, light brown hair highlighted with silver, little white cap sitting on top like a tiny Easter bonnet, tight white uniform around curving hips and bosom, hands on her hips waiting for his answer.
“Huh?” Ralph responded.
“Do you want rye bread?” Jack asked with exasperation.
“No, white,” Jack answered defensively.
“White is pretty, wheat is better.
Haven’t you read the Surgeon General’s letter?” Alice replied.
“White!” Ralph barked. “White. White. White!”
“Relax and smile buster.
No need to spit and bluster.”
Alice swung her ample hips away from Ralph, winked at Jack and me (sitting at the nearby counter), and swayed off.
“What in the hell was that?” spluttered Ralph. “This is a hell of a diner.”
“Hey, look around, Mr. Shakespeare,” said Jack. “This is one place we can get a little literary education while making a pit stop. The guys love it here. They feel smarter when they hit the road.”
Ralph looked at the packed diner. “Well, I’ll be. I just feel stupider.”
“Next time, order the wheat, stupid,” Jack replied. Then he shouted, “Hey Alice, “how ‘bout another round. The last one went too easily down!”
The diner burst into applause.