Coffee and Eggs

A revision of an older story. Purpose is to begin to focus on character. I felt I needed to set the stage first with some setting.

Coffee and Eggs
A crisp blue-sky morning. Writer’s notebook in front of me. Sitting with a cup of coffee at a small rural eatery. The kind with pictures of colorful trout swimming in small streams hanging from the walls. I sit and wait for a friend to arrive for our morning breakfast. I’m usually the first one there. I like that. I like that I have time to sit and observe and write.

As I sip my coffee I watch as common folk come in from the evening shift at a local nursing home. A local doctor and his wife chatting over eggs and coffee. Landscapers coming in for a quick chow down before they start their day in what looks to be a hot one. Summer folks, loud, happy, and relaxed enjoying huge breakfasts of eggs, whipped cream topped strawberry pancakes, and of course coffee or milk. As I sit note-taking drinking my coffee I can’t help but notice the waitresses. She deserves the biggest of tips because she is working the worst of shifts. I remember those days, and not longingly. I will leave extra in my tip. I don’t really even need to make mental note of that. It’s automatic.

But as I sit here I realize it’s not the tourists or landscapers that catch my curiosity. It’s a group of older men who use their hands for work. They are all wearing outdoor clothing, looking like they just came in from the woods. Dirty hands, wood chips sticking to their red or blue flannel shirts. Grubby, well-worn and well-loved baseball caps with the revered “B” proudly displayed on each. This table was enticing because it also holds one young man who was one of them, but not. Unlike his companions, his Red Sox cap is on backwards. I watch him, wondering what it must be like for him sitting amongst such elders. “He probably gets ragged on a lot,” I find myself thinking. He has a huge appetite. Eating a heaping of eggs, sausages, and home fries with a generous amount of ketchup over everything. Holding his spoon like a shovel, he focuses intensely on his food with a lowered head. He drinks a lot of coffee; lots of cream and sugar. While he appears very much within himself he never stops listening to the conversations of the table. I begin to wonder….

Liz finally enters. My attention diverted.

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