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Junkie Diner
by S. F. Wright




I’d order toast because it was cheap, on top of which I’d spread butter, jelly - both being free

I never nodded out, unlike so many others, who, like me, ordered a minimal amount of food so they could use the bathroom.

I’d never get wrecked either, nor would come in that way; I’d arrive high, but respectfully so; would eat toast, drink coffee, smoke cigarettes; stare out the window.

“Hello? Sir?” The waitress had dyed blonde hair, a weary face, weathered body - certainly someone’s mother - yet her exasperated tone betrayed a tincture of concern. 

“Huh?” The junkie, in a dirty coat, with long natty hair, jerked awake and glared around, as though he were a doctor who’d just worked an 18-hour shift and was indignant that someone should rouse him.

The waitress shambled to the table in front of mine; we made eye contact, I smiled. But her eyes narrowed, her frown pierced me like daggers - I thought, Fuck you, even though it was only what you saw. And when she picked up the tip and walked away, I despised the cooling relief.

Finished my toast, smoked a cigarette, left a tip. But as I walked to the register, I kept my head down; and went back out into the world that is no more.




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