I'm already late. Mom reminds me of this as I am en route by phoning my cell phone and asking where I am. "Two miles away," I reply in a monotone voice in order to show my complete apathy on the whole matter. I haven't even gotten there and I already can't wait to leave.

Eventually I arrive. Even though I'm late and Mom is supposedly worried sick, no one bothers to answer the door. Finally, I let myself in, and find both of them in the living room watching the news. I start to make my presence know, but before I can finish a syllable, Dad retorts, "Quiet! I'm trying to hear this!". I take a seat. I can't wait for dinner.

Finally the news finishes, we are free to leave. because the A/C is broken in Mom and Dad's car, it is decided that I should drive. A worse choice could not have been made. Fortunately, I had anticipated this, and had removed from my CD player the expletive-filled Buck 65 CD I had been listening to earlier and replaced it with a much more innocous Tom Waits album.

Well, I'm not about to sit here and contend that I'm the best driver in the world. In fact, I'm far from it. However, if there was any tiny fault that Mom and Dad could find, they were sure to let me know. "Slow down" was the first thing I heard as I reached 45 miles per hour, and "Faster, lest it take us all night" was all I heard if I let it drop lower than 40.

"This car rides bumpy."

"I can stop and let some air out of the tires if you think it might help."

No, I thought to myself, let them suffer. I can take it, and so can they. I was able to keep my mouth shut until we got to the restaurant, almost treasuring each bump in the poorly surfaced road.

After some time, we arrive at the restaurant, and I use the term usely. It's one of those off-the-beaten-path greasy spoons that my parents love so much. The kind of place where one end smells like aged cigarette smoke and the other smells like the deep frier. The farmers gather here in the morning for coffee and breakfast, and sometime return at night when it's too hot in the kitchen for their wives to do any cooking.

It's a typical greasy spoon, even down to the typical restaurant chairs, the ones with curved corners that were first made sometime in the seventies and the only thing that's changed through the years is the color of the upholstery. Hard as a rock to sit on, but able to withstand several decades worth of bar fights. The menu consists of burgers, sandwiches, and dinners, each of which are either grilled or deep fried. Hoping to eat light, I peruse the salad section of the menu, but it doesn't take long, because there isn't one. May God have mercy on any vegans who pass through here.

To be continued...

Sorry but I ran out of time. If you like it so far, email me and bug me to finish the story, but I'll warn that it doesn't get any better, unless you like Tom Waits references...

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