Margie Was Compared to a Stick of Dynamite With a Burning Fuse
This hub is Sincerely Dedicated to All
of the hard-working waitresses, the"Barb's;"
"Dots;," and "Margies," who have weights
too heavy to carry in the small diners
of America.— Kenneth Avery
From Margie’s Pulling Doubles
this meant that she needed every bit of the wage that (a) Dewey Johnston, a retired miner, who needed a tax write-off so here stands, “Djs” which stood for everything that she pushed on the homemade menu of cardboard and black marker ink.
I sat down with my wife and she took in all of the sights, aroma’s, and regulars who came out from 9 to 11 a.m., simply because the patrons were mostly-retired or unemployed, so after the Breakfast Shift, these guys lumbered toward their homes; some drove home in pick-up trucks that were held together with bailing wire and duct tape, but that was the life of a southern mining company.
But honestly, it was not the southern mine (itself) that concerned me. It was just watching the body language of Margie and watching her not only smoke her cigarettes, pour a stranger some coffee and tell the short-order cook, Benjie, an old Navy dog of 33 years, that she wanted a order of eggs, fried, biscuits, and bacon .. .SNAP, she let go a yell that any Banshee would have cringed with fright. The string of profanities were so vulgar, that the word, SNAP, was the only word that would show Margie’s real anger.
Benjie, The Few Patrons, and Margie
instantly froze. Margie didn’t cease from cursing just how burned-out she was. “It’s tougher than boot leather to raise a kid on your own,” Margie said. “but in a woman’s life of being a single parent, you have to grit your teeth and take the worst day and multiply that times fifteen and you have a headache,” she explained without batting one eyelid.
Still, I found myself, very attracted although my wife and I have been married for 43 years and even this marital union was strong, Margie did have that “something” that attracted me—and the only way that I could express the feeling was showing you a vintage photo of a scantily-clad girl in one of those men’s book, STAG, I think. In my younger years, I found my Uncle Tom’s cache of STAG magazines hidden in his bedroom. I had hit the mother-lode. You know how a 12-year-boy can get.
Margie was still mumbling something as she took a breakfast order to two customers who were sitting behind my wife and me and we did not dare to ask Margie for anything out of the order in case that her anger was still burning hot. I wasn’t stupid. But a hard woman like Margie who had seen it all and done it all can and will explode on contact as a stick of dynamite with a short fuse.
The More That I Watched Margie
I was more and more taking in every aspect of her character—even the way that she would act polite to her customers, and I could tell that her thank you’s which were more than a southern drawl, was in essence an act that would be fit for a play on Broadway.
Margie still mumbled as she wiped her tables clean and with her smoking one cigarette after the other, she managed to keep her job on top and still manage to show people just how irritable she was and the life that had dealt to her. Actually, I did feel pains of pity as I watched Margie and her peroxide hair that was formerly brunette and now a dish water blond, but she did get out of the way to remedy her outward appearance as her inward appearance could have been better with a little work.
“Margie! Ya’ got an order here . . .now move!” Benji barked as he noticed Margie growing meaner with each passing moment.
“You know where you can go, Benji!” Margie bellowed as she finished up wiping a few vacant tables and her eyes were already snapping with sparks of an Alabama bonfire.
Words sometimes can be an obstruction as it did with Margie’s attitude and how she acted toward Benji, who feared what she might do to him. He recalled several years ago how she and him went out for a long time, even went as far as getting engaged, but there was Gloria Dupree, who was the same age as Margie, but had the prettiest blond hair which was natural. No bottles of peroxide for her.
Then in One Blurred Flash
the atmosphere in Benji’s Eats, which was the name of his cafe, changed. Even the older patrons who only came to Benji’s for coffee and a good argument---stared in disbelief at something Margie had swore that she was going to do, or maybe it was Benji, who was not a push-over and would call the cops if Margie was about to do him harm. Benji lived by one rule: no woman is worth a night in jail and be saddled with a criminal record.
The entire clientele did not dare to move. Nor did anyone draw from the cigarettes that they carried in their left pockets of their shirts. Death compared to the stillness of Benji and Margie was a loud, boisterous brawl that can take the form of pure destruction on four wheels in the demolition derby’s of southern Georgia. Tough is not the word.
I continued to sit and sip my coffee. My wife talked as if she was on a continual loop of talking, and I did not mind, because there was “something” about Margie and her streak’d hair that met her on her shoulders and the eye make-up brought back memories that I experienced when I found Uncle Tom’s STAG magazines—I was mesmerized at how fluent that she moved from table to table and even smoking as she worked her shift that made her the second shift of waiting on what she called as cadavers ,but when they tipped good, she was always wearing a big smile although for most of the time, her smiles were made of plastic.
Even with her mascara, eye liner and head of hair, I amazed at how she presented herself.
Then My Selfish-Dream
was over. Not because of anything my wife had said, no. My wife was oblivious to Margie and her colorful cursing, smoking, and had that “something” that I swore (to myself) that in some time in her life, I wondered if she ever loved a man and why she didn’t have a husband and a dad to help raise her daughter.
Mysteries always make our lives the challenge of solving them as the years go by. I was sipping the last of my black coffee and my wife was drinking her ice water and I noticed that she had taken a few bites of her English muffin. I still wondered why Margie had yet to bring my order of Fried Eggs, Bacon, and Biscuit to my table.
I knew better and I do mean better, than to ask Margie why my order was not on my table for I knew that she had given the order to Benji and even with her cleaning the tables and smoking at the same time, she had multi-tasking skills and judging from her appearance and talk, she was a professional waitress through and through.
“You need something, bub?” Margie said behind my back. I had not seen her walk behind my wife and I and I did have the thought that she might be a ghost.
“No. I am fine. Thanks a lot. May I get our check?” I asked Margie very hurriedly.
I left her a two-dollar tip. Margie winked and I suddenly felt alive.
March 8, 2019_________________________________
© 2019 Kenneth Avery