you going to do it?"
not sure," I tell Ordel as I watch the ants marching in the
won't hurt as much as you'd think," says Ordel, looking over
his shoulder past the sign that reads SALLY'S DINER WELCOMES ALL
RACES at the two girls sitting at the counter.
girls are giggling and talking about iguanas. One thinks they are
"cute" and the other thinks "diseased". Ordel
is eavesdropping on the conversation, looks over at me and says
"diseased". The girls hear Ordel and they look back at
us (in our booth) and continue giggling.
is sitting next to the girls.
waitress approaches and we both order pancakes and potatoes.
both look over at the counter where Saul sits and watch as he lights
up a cigarette.
is the best way, you know." Says Ordel, then adds, "Sometimes
it hurts, sometimes it doesn't." He looks back at the girls.
One is wearing a red sweater and green scarf and is looking back
and smiling at Ordel who looks back at me and says, "Most of
the time she won't feel a thing if you do it quickly."
I repeat Ordel and then say, "I don't know."
Ramones song begins playing. Ordel is tapping his foot to the beat
and nodding his head off-beat. Our food arrives. Ordel douses his
pancakes with maple syrup and devours his pancakes as I pick at
know, I had to do it once." Confesses Ordel.
I say without lifting my head, still picking at my potatoes.
she saw it coming and tried to stop it, but
" Ordel tails
give an understanding nod and then the light above Ordel burns out,
casting a ghoulish shadow onto him.
not just a pinch, you know," confirms Ordel.
the counter, Saul orders coffee. The two girls are still giggling
and glancing back at our booth. The girl in the red sweater who
is drinking iced tea is looking at Ordel. Next to her, the girl
in an orange trench coat eating a burrito covered with guacamole
is looking at me and grins as our eyes meet. I quickly look down
at our table and then over at Saul who is receiving a refill of
coffee and lighting another cigarette.
song comes on that sounds like either Jimmy Buffet or Neil Diamond,
but much more recent. Ordel attempts to tap his foot, but he is
unable. Squinting his eyes, Ordel looks up at me. "What type
of music do you call this?"
not sure." I eat a piece of potato and then say with the potato
half chewed in my mouth, "I think it's rock."
pulls out a small prescription bottle filled with orange pills (the
same color as the trench coat) out of his front shirt pocket, opens
the container, and dumps five into his hand. Placing the five pills
on the table, Ordel strategically buries the pills into his pancakes
and then covers them with more syrup. He notices me looking and
points to his face and says, "For my eyes," and then says,
"This sounds a lot like country to me."
swallow. "Maybe. It's very difficult to categorize music today."
gets up from his stool and walks over to our booth.
say it's country," says Ordel as Saul approaches and stands
for a moment. Saul stands at our table, looking out the window.
Not knowing what to do, we stare outside also, trying to figure
out what he's looking at. We both look up at Saul who is still staring
straight ahead and then says, "Might rain," and then pulls
out a pack of Merit cigarettes lights one and says, "Looks
says Ordel, glancing over at me. We both look up at Saul.
looks down at me and then at Ordel and says, "So?"
nods and then Saul nods.
reaches inside his jacket and pulls out a nine-millimeter Glock
and places it on our table top, in plain view. Ordel looks at me
and then down at the gun so I quickly grab it and hold it under
the table for a moment. The gun feels cold and is very heavy. I
place the gun into the front of my pants.
looks down at Ordel who pulls out his prescription bottle, places
two pills in his hand, and hands them to Saul. Saul walks back to
the counter where he asks for another refill, pops the pills, and
then lights a cigarette.
continues to glance back at the girl in the red sweater and then
asks me, "Do you think I'm shady?"
What do you mean?" I ask, trying to shift the gun to the right
pauses to pick at a fresh scar on his neck and continues, "I
had a girl last night, well not had her, but she was at a bar."
I say not really paying attention, continuing to fiddle with the
gun. For a split second I almost accidentally grab the trigger and
then the gun shifts over to the right.
she wouldn't go home with me because she said I looked shady."
Ordel shakes his head in disbelief.
know." Ordel stops and looks over at the corner where the ants
are marching, then says, "It's black, ghetto stereotype..."
Ordel can't finish as he waves his hands in the air and then grabs
a napkin from the table so he can wipe excess syrup off his face.
the window I see a bar with a blinking Samuel Adams neon sign. A
man dressed in black walks into the bar and I wonder what he's going
to order. As I stare across the street I contemplate going over
and having a beer with the man. Maybe he can help sort everything
darkened face looks at me and asks again, "So, are you going
to do it?"
music ends and the girls are no longer giggling.
stops for a moment.
looks at me with tear filled eyes and then his head comes crashing
down on the table.
song on the jukebox that may or may not be country begins.
the ants continue marching.
not sure." I say to no one in particular.