A man came in and stood awhile, pondered the menu, then shyly offered his choice. He waited patiently, intent on the dinner that was prepared for him on the spot, in full view. He collected his napkins and duck sauce and chose a seat where he could watch the door.

A couple sat together in the opposite corner, filling the air between them with chatter and spiced breath. The woman laughs, “Boy when they say spicy they are not kidding!” The couple makes a neat pile of hot red peppers, an island in the middle of a foam plate. They each break open their fortune cookies and the man laughs, claiming that biting into your cookie first results in a better fortune. As if to prove his point his fortune says “Thinking is the tracking of the soul with itself.” The woman’s fortune, which was broken first says, “Don’t let friends impose on you, work calmly and silently.” and came wrapped in a stale cookie.

The cashier smiles at them on the way to the door, then watches as the woman tries to tip the her too full tray into the trash can and ended up dumping her uneaten food and untouched duck sauce on the floor. The cashier, smiling again says, “Don’t worry! I clean!” The couple could see her through the window, bending and muttering as they drove away.

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