Arriving at the diner with John Zabka

Against all expectations, we ended up at a
. Cheryl had drove while John sat in the back of their red Jeep with me smoking hand rolled cigarettes. I was feeling a smooth type of wired from the matcha as Cheryl took us out of the lush greenery of their neighborhood and out into the scorched pavements of
proper. I squinted over to see that he was already prepared. That was one thing I admired about people who didn't need glasses. They could just throw on a pair of shades at ease. I did have a pair of prescription sunglasses but I'd left them in the car.

All three of us got plastic cups of water. No ice. Without his shades I could now look into his eyes. For the first minute they darted from place to place as he took sips from his water. After a moment he took a calm but deep breath and looked back at me. I was caught off guard by the sudden engagement. I looked away for just a moment before returning the gaze.

"It's good to talk with you, Bob. How long has it been that we've been seeing each other on the street? Eight years now?"

"Yeah eight. Since I saw you walking away from
in Bloomington."

"Gee eight years. And we never really talked. Just hi's and bye's right? But you know what I always thought we would be friends had the occasion presented itself."

"We were busy. But it's funny you say that because I felt similarly. When I saw you walking down the street. Saw myself in you."

"Hey look sorry I was kind of out of it when you came in. Busy day. Still busy these days I guess. Hope you aren't."

I raised my hands and slouched in a yes I still am but not too much way.

"I guess not much has changed for us. Well I hope you don't mind eating here. I know my Jamie kept telling you about how good of a cook I am, and he mentioned to me that you were really looking forward to coming over."

"It's alright. I love diners."

"Okay good. I like them too."

The waitress came over to take our order.

Cheryl smiled for us and said, "plus this one's really good."

"Yes," said
John Zabka
while giving the menu one final glaze over.

"Y'all ready?"

Cheryl got a vegetarian omelet. John got a turkey club. I got a burger with half a pound of red meat. Both John and I got refills on our water. Cheryl's cup was still full.

"And plus I really don't like to cook when I'm in flow. I think Jamie thinks I'm such a hot cook just because he's so distracting that he makes me unable to work. God I think I've gotten so much done these past two months since he's been out of town."


Flash Fiction Practice