She recalled how well prepared he’d seemed. How he’d breezed past her  booth to a stool at the counter. Clean khakis, a bright red knapsack, some sort of double hat. A bucket cap fitted so well over a baseball cap, or a type she’d not seen before. Doffed, it revealed a good haircut, short on the sides in salt and pepper, and well chosen eyeglasses. He’d pulled off one upper layer at a time, three in all, as if testing the atmosphere in steps, and settled on a somehow still crisp button-down shirt. Two waitresses had recognized him, one moving opposite him behind the counter, the other to his side to view his cellphone offering. A picture or two, she’d decided. About five-ten, medium build, possibly retired – it was a late Tuesday morning after all. Mid sixties to early seventies. On a bike or afoot? He puzzled only a moment over the soup choice, and when a waitress delivered his ice water with a hefty slice of lemon he plucked the fruit from the rim of the glass, put it whole into his mouth, chewed it for ten seconds and swallowed.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sofie One Crow on April 27, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Wait…wait, don’t stop there! What happened next?


  2. Two points: the title is too explicit, attempting to drive the reader towards a reaction you have devised, rather than trusting him/her to react in some other way. Button-down needs a hyphen. Otherwise brisk, concise and ambiguously (ie, creatively mysterious) climactic. Funny how when we read fiction we so often speculate about some kind of crime. Thus I’m left wondering whether or not just sucking a lemon but swallowing the rind indicates an unhealthy predilection for chainsaws or bigtime manipulation of hedge-funds.

    I’d like to comment on the fact he was simultaneously wearing two hats – weird for me, a Brit, but possibly quite commonoplace in US restaurants offering a choice of soups.

    Best line by far: “as if testing the atmosphere in steps”.


  3. Yes Robbie, I admit the title was thrown in at the end with (at least subconscious) intentions as you describe. Both of you…the scene is from real life, though switched in gender perspective. I can’t imagine where I got the notion to do something like that. Two hats seemed very unusual…I’m still unsure of the true nature of the hat. More, Sophie? Well, I’ll think about it. Maybe a different vignette….from the gentleman’s side.


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