Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Bad Penny, Life Two

David waved the whole story off like a bad smell in the air.

“I can’t explain it.”

“Really?” the waitress asked, tilting her head at him. “Because you’ve spent the last hour doing something that sounded an awful lot like it, hon.”

“It’s ridiculous.” He laid his fists on the counter and hunched a little on his stool. “But when I close my eyes at night, I feel like that penny followed me.”

The waitress shook her head with a sad smile. “Something that beat up was probably destroyed by now.”

“There’s no proving it, though.”

“So you think it’s in your pocket change?”

“No.” He wanted to look up but his admission was too embarrassingly heavy to raise his head. “I check.”

She lowered until her face was level with the countertop, so that she could look David in the eyes. She was cute. Too plump to be traditionally pretty, but there was something spritely in her. Christ, she was saintly to put up with him complaining for so long. Slow day or not.

“Should I check the register?”

“That’s okay.”

“So you think this evil penny killed your dad and flunked you out of college? You think it has that much power?”

“I don’t think it. I just can’t unthink it.”

She got up and waltzed over to the cash register. It rang open and David heard her sift through the change. He inhaled and rolled his eyes at himself.

She returned with a penny. It had the brightness of new minting on it, not the evil thing he worried about.

“I don’t mean to drag you into my insanity.” He shook his head, because that was what you did when your face wanted to apologize along with your words. “Let’s…”

“Let’s make a new penny,” she said.

She kissed the penny and put it tails-down in front of David. Her pink lipstick stained Lincoln’s beard.

“This can be Casper. The good ghost penny.”

David snorted. He touched the penny with the edges of his index fingers, admiring the contrast of bright pink on bright zinc.

“How’s it going to stay on?” he asked. “Lipstick’s not permanent.”

“How?” She grinned. When she grinned, she showed her upper teeth. David liked that. “That’s up to you.”


  1. Awwwww! Nice one, John! The power of pink lipstick saves the world again!
    (don't you just love waitresses?)

  2. Whew. This was a nice contrast to part one. I hope this penny does bring lots of good luck.

    Nice two parter, John. I like how you flipped it around - heads and tails of the story.

  3. I agree with Laurita - this is certainly the optimistic flip side of part one.

  4. I love it, John - finding a sense of hope in the end. Great job!

  5. Who didn't think the second part of a two-parter about a penny would be the flipside? Y'all know me better than that. Thanks for the kind words (though it feels like Tony was disappointed).

    I have admired many waitresses, Cathy. There's a certain breed with a spark that doesn't dull after thankless hours. A very necessary human kind.

  6. OOoooooh, nice. I like this, and the waitress was awesome. I like how this was sort of cute and sweet.


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