I went to the Downsville Diner for dinner. The place already had Halloween decorations up, even though it was still September, and the weather had just started to cool.
A tall skeleton stood at the entrance. It laughed at me as I walked by. A tiny witch stood at the specials board which said their one special was soup. That’s it. That’s all it said. Soup. What kind of soup? Probably chicken noodle. That’s was my guess, anyway.
I took a seat. The counter had the most decorations. They had made men out of old clothes and masks filled with dead leaves(which was weird because the leaves had just started to change). They made two of these guys and had them sitting at the counter. Their faces were turned towards me, making them look like they were staring at my lovely figure. Whoever ran this place decided to have two Halloween decorations take up those seats instead of paying customers. I loved that. This diner was really good at Halloween. It was better at Halloween than any horror movie. Ever. It had that special something.
Then there was the waitress. She was unfriendly and looked as old as time and she looked me like I had boogers in my beard. And maybe I did. I don’t know.
“What do you need?” she asked.
“It says a cheese omelet with home fries is six bucks,” I said to her.
“So, how much does it cost if I add some veggies and maybe some sausage?”
“If YOU add some veggies?”
“What? No. I mean, if the chef adds some veggies. How much would that cost?”
“I don’t know.”
“I only have like eight bucks.”
“That will be fine.”
The omelet tasted so good because I was hungover. The night before I had traveled down to visit an old friend. It was his fortieth birthday. He put on a big party. There was drinking. There was jokes. There was laughter. At one point, some young men who were really into cross fit decided to wrestle and choke each other for fun. Did I mention there was drinking?
There was also dancing and fried chicken. At around two in the morning I noticed most of the other guests had gone home and the table with the chicken had been abandoned. I went to the chicken. I ate many pieces of it at a feverish pace. At one point I felt someones presence. A lurker. I turned and saw young, very attractive hipster girl. She looked scared. I made a grumbling sound. Pieces of chicken fell from my mouth.
The night continued. The birthday boy and I felt determined to win the party, so we stayed up until five talking about our home towns and how much they had changed. He had grown up in Shelter Island and I had grown up in Sag Harbor. Both places were located on the east end of Long Island, way too close to the fangs of the Hampton’s. And both places had broken our hearts by becoming too fancy. Now we both lived in Upstate New York, a place that couldn’t become fancy no matter how hard it tried at times.
In the end neither of us won the party. It was a draw. We both went to bed around the same time.
Not long after we went to bed, his son woke everyone up. We spent the morning prowling around town with his son who was four and very charming. They were sweet together. They both got distracted by the same things. We’d pass a broken down car and they would both go “Oh wow!” Then head right for it. They both felt so comfortable around old rusty things. His son hit the car like it was a drum. We noticed a bee flying nearby. “Careful,” my friend said to his kid. “I think there are some bees living in there. You don’t want to get stung.”