Deane’s Diner

Joshua had been on the road for several hours and when he spotted the red neon sign blinking “Deane’s Diner” he let out a heavy sigh of relief.  His arms were numb from the vibration of the Panhead and his lower back was beginning to ache.  A couple other bikes were parked in the gravel parking lot in front of the diner along with several beat-up trucks.

Not one to judge an establishment by the vehicles parked outside, Josh gave no notice to the transportation hierarchy.  He got off his bike, pulled off his helmet then hung it on one of the handlebars.  He strode into the front entrance and was immediately greeted by every eye turning to look him over.  Again, not one to judge an establishment by its clientele he made his way to the bar and sat down on one of the vacant stools, relieved to be not moving.  He grabbed a menu and began perusing the offerings.  Thus engaged he did not see the barkeep come up to him.

“What’ll ya have?” came the low, sultry, almost hoarse voice.

An immediate impression of a Marlene Dietrich came to mind as Josh looked up.  He was shocked to find a small, spit of a woman, strawberry blonde hair in a braid over her left shoulder and wearing an oversized  t-shirt and jeans.

“Umm,” Joshua stuttered, “I’ll just have a beer to start.”

As she went to pour his beverage, Josh watched her through lowered eyelids.  Her voice did not match the petite woman whom he saw.  He wondered if she was the owner’s wife or perhaps daughter.  As she approached he tried to take a gauge of her age but there was nothing in her flawless alabaster skin except for a sprinkling of freckles and wire spectacles which sat halfway down her nose that gave him a clue and the dim lighting of the diner did not help.

“Here ya go,” she stated as she placed the cold brew in front of him.  “You want anything to eat?”

“Whaddya recommend?” Josh asked, hoping to start a conversation.

“The pulled pork is good today,” came the smokey reply.

“Great, set me up then.”

As the bartender turned to place the order Josh queried, “This place been around long?”

She looked back at him over her glasses, her brow knotted in a furrow as if she were trying to take his measure.  She gave the line cook the order and began to return back.

A couple of patrons at the pool table were beginning to argue.  She halted and briefly answered Joshua, “About twenty years.”  She then went around the opposite end of the bar and confronted the two men arguing.  They were both very big men, well over six feet each and the little redhead didn’t even come up to their chests.  Still she showed no fear when she laid her hands on each of their arms which caused the two to move away from her and each other.  However, the arguing and finger pointing continued.  The bartender pulled a chair over and stepped onto the seat.  This allowed her to just stand a bit above them.  The entire diner grew quiet at this point and in her deep throaty voice she ground out, “You two will not make a mess in this bar.  Am I understood?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” came the reply in unison.

She then stepped off the chair with assistance from both men and headed back to her duties behind the bar.

Josh let out a low whistle as she took his beer glass to refill it.  “That was something to see.  Still don’t you think the owner should take care of these guys?  They could’ve really hurt you, even accidentally.”

As she placed the refilled beverage in front of Josh she simply stated, “I’m Deane.”

Josh flushed just a little but felt compelled to ask, “Well, Deane, can I buy you a drink?”

A very smokey laughed issued from her.  “I only drink wine, and none is served here.”

Joshua was going to question why, but he already knew the answer.  Without wine, the bartender didn’t feel obligated to share a drink with fly-by nights like himself.  She became more intriguing all the time.

Bickering began again at the pool table.  Deane slapped the bar with a towel and in a dusky voice no louder than before said, “That’s it.  You two are outta here.  Now get.”

Completely taken aback by the petite owner’s ultimatum the two looked at each other then gathered up their leathers and started for the exit.  As they opened the door Deane shot at them, “Dinner’s at eight.  I expect you two to be on time.”

“Okay, mom,” answered one, while the other replied, “Sorry “bout the fight.”

Joshua’s mind was blown.  Never did he imagine that that pixie of a bartender could be a mom, much less a mom of two strapping young men.  He saw his already meagre chances of getting a date gone completely down the tubes.  And with that realization also came with a bit of jealousy.  Whomever had this woman’s heart, certainly had a treasure worth protecting.

Throwing his tab along with a generous tip on the bar, Josh waved to Deane in his most endearing fashion.  “Thanks for the beer and the grub.”

Deane waved back with her own endearing smile.  “Thanks and come again,” she replied.

Josh quickly got on his bike and headed back on the highway.  Deane’s Diner was a place he would remember with relish for a long time.

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This little bit of fun is dedicated to a most beloved family member.  Hope you enjoyed D.

 

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Any Given Sunday

Woman with Luggage by Raul Lieberwirth

Woman with Luggage by Raul Lieberwirth

 

It could be any given Sunday.  There she is, standing at the corner, in her usual running attire – tank top, shorts, and sneakers – her leg hooked over the other as she chooses what songs to listen to, hair up in the perfect messy ponytail.  But it isn’t any Sunday.  Instead of picking out songs, she is texting.  And instead of stretching, she’s waiting.  With her luggage.  For a taxi to come.

It had been a stupid mistake.  I tried to tell her that.  It would never happen again.  She never answers back.  She just kept packing.

Today, instead of leaving for a morning run, she is simply leaving.  I stare at the back of her head through the livingroom window.  All my powers of concentration bent on the task of willing her to turn around.  To look at me.  To change her mind.

But she doesn’t.  She remains in the same relaxed position.

The taxi arrives.  The driver gets out and stows the luggage in the trunk.  He opens the back door and she slides in.  Then they take off.  She never looks back.  And I stand here, looking at the spot where she once was, still willing her to come back to me.  But she’s gone.

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Thanks to Jeremy’s Weekly Challenge.

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A View Off The Porch – Oregon Coast

It’s been such a long time since Poncho and I have made any trips off the estate.  Last week we finally had an opportunity to do so when we visited some friends in the Waldport area of the central Oregon coast.  What beaurtiful country!

This is the view we were greeted with every day.

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Our friends have a lovely place.  And early spring is in full bloom.

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A gazebo provides the perfect locale to contemplate all things.

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Oregon has some really cool bridges.  This is in Waldport and it spans the mouth of Alsea Bay.

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Heading back north we made a few stops to take in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Oregon Coast.  This is Seal Rock National Wayside.  Didn’t see any seals though.  The color of the Pacific Ocean was extraordinary.

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Farther up the coast is this fantastic overlook just a few miles south of Cannon Beach.

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And no trip to the coast is complete for me without a stop in Cannon Beach to get out and see Haystack Rock.

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Of course, there has to be an “I Was Here” photo.

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The weather during our trip was spectacular.  Sunshine as far as the eye could see.  It still felt crisp out on the beach, but the wind was barely blowing which made the outing all the more enjoyable.

Posted in A View Off The Porch, Creative Non Fiction, Photography, Stream of Consciousness, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t Tease The Animals

 photo polarbear.jpg

Credit Unknown

 

Mom said there’d be days like this.

The twins just won’t leave me alone.  What was in that seal last night?  I can’t recall them being this rambunctious.

“Kaneq! . . . Pirta!  Would you two please go outside to play.”

Finally, maybe I can get a few minutes of quiet.

Now it’s too quiet.  Where did those two get off to?  What was that?  Did I just hear something scream?  Oh, by all that’s . . . what have they gotten into?  Did they just snare a rabbit?

Oh my goodness.  Look what you two have done.  One of those pitiful two legged creatures.  Kaneq’s got him in a hug, and Pirta is sliding up for the take down.

“Pirta . . . Kaneq . . . What have I told you about teasing those less fortunate than us?  That’s nothing more than a dumb animal.  You can’t toy with them like that.”

Did it just drop something?  These two leggers are so strange.  They seem to be unable to keep themselves warm so they wrap all this weird stuff around them.  And they play with all manner of items.  They must surely have a very protracted infancy.

What is this it just dropped?  There’s no scent to it.  Why does it want it back so badly?

“Here you go.  Just keep calm.  Twins, move away from it.  It doesn’t like being teased.”

Look how it holds that object.  You’d think it were the best cut of seal.  I’ll never understand these creatures.

“Come on, children, let’s go back to the cave and have a nap.  I think we’ve all earned one.”

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Thanks to moi and his Once More With Feeling Challenge.  I thought I’d write this from the Polar Bear’s perspective.  What they must think of us silly bare skinned creatures.  What comes to mind when you see this.  Join the fun.

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End Of The Innocence

Yorkshire Meadow by Malcolm Ludvigsen

Yorkshire Meadow by Malcolm Ludvigsen

 

Ever’ summer me an’ Bobby would get in all sorts a trouble.  It a start out the same; first day of summer break, Bobby would be at the kitchen door, bangin’ on the screen.  “Hey Mz. Peterson.  Can Billy come out?”  An’ before Mama could call me I’d be hittin’ the door an’ off the porch steps.  Not long after, Bobby be overtakin’ me.  I was always the fastest off the mark, but nobody could beat Bobby in the stretch.  Once he got his legs under him, there was no stoppin’ him.

Anyways, we’d always make a beeline through the hay fields; high and golden with the grass and pock marked with daisies.  In June, our trail was barely noticeable, but by August, we’d run a well worn path through the pasture.  The trail led to only one place; ole man Higgins’ pond.

There’s an old tire swing on one of the oaks.  Bobby would get to it first, already stripped of his overalls, flying over the pond whooping and hollering then cannonballin’ into the cold water.  This year I kept all my underclothes on; couldn’t tell ya why, just felt bashful or somethin’.  But I followed suit, giving my best Injun yell then splashing down into the crisp pond water.

As soon as I broke the surface and caught a big gulp of air, Bobby was right there ready for the game of who could splash who the most, then who could dunk the other.  It all started out as usual; waves of water flying over both our heads.  But when we commenced to dunking each other, Bobby at first seemed to wrestle harder than befor’.  I really had to struggle to get back above water.  Then he just treaded water, starin’ at me.  I got embarrassed and headed for shore.  He stayed in the water for a few more minutes then came out an’ sat next to me.  Neither of us said anything, but somethin’ had sure changed between us.

The bell rang from off my kitchen porch, an’ Mama’s clear singsong reached us all the way cross the fields:

“Willamena Mae . . . Robert Charles . . . lunchtime.”

I bolted for my overalls, and with my back turned, I quickly put them on.  When I looked back to see if Bobby was ready he was also turned away from me.  It was the quietest trip back to the house ever.  We didn’t tussle or chase or try to flush out rabbits.  That was the last summer me an’ Bobby hung out.

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Another one just under the wire.  While imagining this scene, I was reminded of many great young female characters:  John Steinbeck’s Ruthie Joad, William Faulkner’s Caddy Compson, Ray Bradbury’s Clarisse, and Harper Lee’s Scout Finch.  Thanks as always to Jeremy and his new weekly Challenge.

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Enter The Colosseum

Woman In Tunnel by Thomas Rousing

Woman In Tunnel by Thomas Rousing

 

Ophelia could hear the roar coming from the end of the tunnel.  Each time she traveled the now familiar route she was always shocked by how raucous the citizenry could be.
The dead and decaying leaves swirled around her legs silently; their rustle made mute by the sneers and jeers that she perceived.

Then at one of those strange moments where all noise ceases for just a second or two, Ophelia was struck by another sound she had not heard before; the angry yet fearful sound of a cat.  Her heart quickened.  What kind of devilry was waiting in that bright blinding light outside the tunnel.

She took a couple steps forward then stopped again to listen.  Above the din of noise she caught the growl again.  Slowly, and with more caution than she thought she possessed, Ophelia tiptoed her way to the tunnel’s exit.  And there, just inside the concrete structure, was a half grown orange tabby, trapped by some sort of snare that was placed by a careless person.  The domestic tiger growled and hissed at her then gave a plaintive cry.

“Oh, you poor baby,” Ophelia cooed as she slowly took a step toward the trapped kitten.

When she was about two feet from him she knelt down in the gravel and broken glass.  The feline hissed then cried again.  Ophelia took a careful visual inspection of how the snare was put together and how to get the kitten loose without too much trauma.

While Ophelia worked at the snare the orange kitten hissed a time or two but never struck out at her.  His terror was overpowering, but he understood that she was trying to help.

After what seemed like an eternity the little feline was loose.  He did not immediately bolt which gave Ophelia an opportunity to scoop him up and look at the injured leg.  There was severe abrasion to the skin, but it didn’t appear that anything was broken or deprived of blood flow.  She settled him into a more comfortable position in her arms and he made no attempt to escape.  Together they exited the tunnel and into the hustle and bustle of the cityscape.

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Thanks to Jeremy and his new weekly Challenge.

Check it out and join the fun.

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Burning Bridges

credit: iggy | original @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/iggy-ceran/5306880835/in/photostream/lightbox/ photo prague.jpg

Credit: Iggy

 

If there is one thing that I’m particularly good at it is burning bridges.  Over the years I’ve torched more than a few; disappointing both friends and family.  None could be repaired, but over the last few years I’ve tried to build new ones.  And I think I’ve done a pretty good job.  I’ve got a wife, a baby on the way, a good if boring job, and we’re about able to get our own flat.

But here’s the thing.  That itch that leads to blowing up my life and destroying those around me, well it’s begun again.  I’ve tried to ignore it which only worked for awhile.  Then I tried to pacify it by taking off from work for a pint every now and then, or going for hours long walks in the middle of the night.  But the itch persisted and has now made it clear that the only way I was to get any relief was to burn my newly built connections.

I sit on the hill overlooking the city.  An old, regal city full of history.  Something I could not say about my own life.  I look down to the river and count the bridges; exactly the same number as the connections in my life I was about to ruin.  The sun peaks over the horizon casting the metropolis in a warm golden glow.  With a cleansing sigh I stand up and sling the back pack across my shoulders.  My feet set to walking, striking the match that lights my beautifully created bridges afire.

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I am so glad Moi has restarted the Once More With Feeling Challenge.  His picture prompts almost always got my creative juices flowing.  What comes to mind when you see this picture?  Write it, post it, link it.

Posted in Fiction, Once More With Feeling Challenge, Stream of Consciousness, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments