24-Hour Diner

anecdote / fiction

There’s a diner I visit sometimes when sleep doesn’t come easy.

Tonight I order corn beef hash and eggs sunny side up and wheat toast and OJ.

Coffee, she asks. And I turn over the cup. The sound of the coffee pouring comforts me like the presence of a few strangers at this hour and the mechanical din of the soda refrigerator at the entrance and the fact that I’m sitting at a booth by myself instead of at the bar and the familiar scenes from the ’90s heist movie playing on the TV.

One Drop Does It proclaims the gringo hot sauce I drench a portion of my hash with. More like twelve.

I don’t want to go home yet so I order a slice of warm apple pie à la mode. Behind me two men discuss their buddy who thinks he’s getting into business school but clearly isn’t getting into business school. Afterward one smugly dissects the platform of the contemporary Republican Party.

I sigh as my pie arrives.