“Thanks for the coffee, hon”, muttered Barnswell Chesterfield, as the bleary eyed blonde set a sloshing cup onto the diner’s counter. With vaguely disguised amusement, his friend Carleton Towers watched as Barney proceeded to put first one, then two, then three, four and finally five spoonfuls of sugar into the noxious black brew.
“Sweet enough for you?” asked Carleton, shaking his head in disgust. “Kind of defeats the purpose, don’t it? I thought coffee was supposed to be bitter, kinda like your ex-wife.”
“Well, shit, Carl, she might’a been a little sweeter, too. At least to me. I think she saved all that for the fellow she run off with from down the plant. Doubt that’ll last too long, though. He’ll wise up soon enough.”
The waitress returned with two orders of bacon, eggs, hashbrowns and scrapple, the grease fairly dripping off the plates as she dropped the orders in front of the hungry men.
“Get ‘cha anything else? Enjoy,” she asked in a bored monotone, as she scooted away without waiting for an answer. There was a boisterous, more handsome group of young men sitting at the other end, certainly more entertaining than these two old buffalos. Probably better tippers, too.
Barney eyed the food with suspicion, wondering what was actually in that brown patty that purported to be made from actual meat. Tasted good, though, and the scrapple here was a guilty pleasure that he allowed himself from time to time, Doctor’s orders be damned. He was a free man and could do as he pleased, and he and Carl were off to an early start for a relaxing day of fishing and beer, so cholesterol be damned. The weather today was predicted to be cool and clear, and Chesterfield was looking forward to kicking back and putting the world’s troubles behind him and dreaming of a couple of big, fat rockfish.
“You gonna finish that?” asked Carl as he reached out into the shiney puddle of grease in which floated a last piece of bacon.
“ You fat fuck, keep your hands to yourself……..” Barney started to reply, while at the same instant a commotion erupted from the other end of the counter. The waitress recoiled from the group of young bucks, and a surprisingly muffled series of pop, pop, pops filled the confined space of the diner. Barnswell’s head exploded in a mist of red as he fell face first into the remains of his breakfast.
Upon first surveying the scene, Detective Sergeant Turnbuckle’s first thought was, “……always wondered what was in scrapple.”

Copyright 2011 Michael G. Stewart – may not be reproduced without permission



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