21 March 2011

Page 11

Maurice sauntered into the Dew Drop Inn whistling a modified version of the 'Theme to the Pink Panther.' He cared not that the lady sitting by the cash register reading Good Housekeeping hardly noticed as he walked in. Two minutes later, he grew antsy when she was still reading the magazine.

The Pink Panther merged into the theme song to Jeopardy.

Two more minutes passed and she showed no signs of moving. He peered over her shoulder to find her engrossed in an article concerning global warming and the evolution of ceramic cats.

Jeopardy ended. She turned to him and asked,

"What is this world coming to?"

"They say it will come to an end," he replied.

The woman's name tag read Ell. Maurice figured it was a typo or she was trying to curse like the British.

"I'll have two cups of Earl Grey tea, Ms. Ell. And two cheeseburgers."

The Dew Drop Inn was a rustic sort of place. It was part gas station, part convenience store, part restaurant, and part moose lodge. The convenience part resembled a 1980's era Soviet grocery store; a box of Corn Flakes, some matches, those little spoons with flags on them, a stack of dusty Spam. . .and all watched over by a dog of dubious lineage named 'Scrap Iron' in the corner. He sat down by the window and watched as two old men stared intently at a dirty checkerboard. The first man resembled a mannequin; the second man resembled the first man, but talked even less. Neither got invited to many parties, had wooden personalities, and enjoyed watching Lawrence Welk and re-runs of Hee-Haw for hours on end with nary so much as moving a finger. It is rather difficult to explain how Maurice knew this, but he had a well-developed intuition concerning people which was one reason he felt called to be a monk.

In another corner stood a statue that looked to be whittled from a Hickory tree. A corncob pipe was stuck in it's mouth and it had a sort of crooked nose that if an inch shorter would make it appear almost life-like. It was rather dusty and he wondered why Ell didn't vacuum it's shaggy beard more often.

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