#44 Over Easy

by Michael Downend

Jackie’s making eggs over easy when I walk in. I sit at the counter.

Same seat as the old days.

Coffee, says the waitress.

Yeah, I say, and scrambled eggs. Not runny. I hate runny eggs.

Jackie hasn’t aged. No gray hair like mine. Still thin. I wish I could have stayed like that. Twenty-five years. Like the first day I walked in.

Remember me, I say. He looks, shakes his head.

Sorry, he says, and pushes sausages around the grill. They sizzle; I remember the sound, the smell. Like toast. Everyone remembers that hot toaster smell.

You never forget that.

Jackie spatulas the eggs onto a plate, lines up the sausages.

The waitress flips the toast onto the plate. Like short to second, Belanger to Grich, Concepcion to Morgan, she’s done it a thousand times.

I used to like baseball. The players are different now. They used to care about it.

Not anymore.

I ask Jackie again. You don’t remember me? From the old days—every morning.

Jackie says when was that. I say to him when you first opened. Like I said, Jackie tells me. Must have been some other place, some other time.

The waitress says more coffee, Carl? I look at her. Fat, old, worn out.

See, I say to Jackie. She remembers. You remember, don’t ya, I say to her.

I look at her name tag. Marlene. Marlene.

I tell her I dated a girl in high school named Marlene.

I know, she says.

3 comments:

Aerin said...

Brilliant. The voice, the details, the punch at the end. I don't even know baseball and I understood how those references added to the very dense texture of this intriguing little piece. Nice.

Sam Knight said...

I love the subtle way you got your message across. You made it hit home without hitting me with it. Not an easy task in such a short story.

Jade said...

Nicely written piece. I'm waiting to hear the history with Jackie, whether there's a score to settle, or a wrong to right.