two men walk into the diner at 8:20 AM. i am the only server. i greet them and tell them they can sit wherever they want. one of them starts walking to a booth. the other is tall and large, standing by the counter, and says, “you aren’t going to seat me?” i laugh and tell him “this isn’t that type of place, your friend seems to know where to sit” as nicely as i can. he stares at me and puts out his hand. i shake his hand. “my name is shawn.” “i’m mallory.” his hand is huge around mine and he doesn't let go right away. i take my hand back from him. i grab two menus and two sets of silverware. shawn slides his hand down my back as he sits down at the booth. i put the menus and silverware on the table and ask for their drink orders. i get their drinks. i tell myself i am a goddamn machine. i put the drinks down and ask what they want. “two eggs over easy, not too runny, kind of crisp hash browns, crispy bacon but not burnt, toast buttered to the edges.” “one egg scrambled with cheese, tots instead of hash browns, sausage patties.” “got it.” “wait read that back to me.” “two eggs over easy, not too runny-" “oh you don’t have to actually do that.” shawn laughs hard. he is staring at my torso. he says “i need frank’s red hot sauce.” i say “we don’t have that one, we only have what's on your table.” shawn reaches over for the hot sauce and slams it on the table in front of me.
“shake the hot sauce.”
Mallory Whitten lives in Ohio. Her second book, god box, is forthcoming from Monster House Press in February 2017.