Chuck's Roadside Diner
7:18 PM Monday
"We've been in business since 1952. We'll be in business for a long time coming. Slow periods are just part of this business."
Mary Anne didn't know how much longer she could make it. Divorced and left supporting two kids, her waitress job at Chuck's didn't come close to making ends meet. She also worked part-time at the laundromat, but that didn't provide much of a paycheck either. Had it not been for her ex-husband knocking her up at seventeen and again at nineteen, she might have been able to continue her education. As it was, she was in a hole from which she could not exhume herself. The bills and debts kept piling up and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.
There was old Earl, sitting at the table drinking coffee and eating a bran muffin. Sometimes he ate a whole meal and sometimes just coffee. No matter what he ate or how long he stayed, he always left a quarter on the table. Mary Anne couldn't really fault him for that. Earl honestly believed his quarter was a generous offering.
Mary Anne supposed she could go into town and get a waitress job at a bar or restaurant that did more business and attracted affluent customers. Mary Anne didn't have much of an attachment to Chuck's, but the other possibilities weren't all that open to Mary Anne. Back in town they had a Hooters, but the girls there were tipped for the quality of their ass rather than the value of their service, and Mary Anne was in her thirties with two kids. She knew no one would tip her based on the way her ass looked in orange shorts. There was a nightclub and a few nice restaurants, but they preferred younger waitresses who had experience in a "high energy environment." Six years working at Chuck's was the antithesis of that. Mary Anne was locked into where she was.
Mary Anne created a plan to solve her problems. Her kids were in their teens and in a few years college would be a consideration. Mary Anne's only investment was in a life insurance policy. Her kids were named as the beneficiaries with the money designated to go into a college trust fund if Mary Anne passed on before they were twenty-one years of age. Both were fairly good students in school, but not so good that they would have scholarships thrown in their direction. Mary Anne feared they would fall into the same life traps she had, or become as shiftless and irresponsible as their father. Still having a sense of humor and a sense of the ironic, Mary Anne decided to starve herself to death in the middle of a restaurant. It would take time, but Mary Anne had plenty of that.
at its best,