“Are you gonna pay the check? Coffee, eggs, spinach. Let’s go.”
“Listen,” he took a deep breath, “I want you to stop waiting for me-”
“What the hell do you mean, stop waiting? I've been waiting tables forever, and now you want me to just stop and-”
“No! Ahhh!” He grabbed his hair in frustration, “that's not what I meant. God. This is so complicated-”
“Ain't nothing complicated, baby, either you pick up that tab or I'm calling the cops.”
“Doesn't matter. Being in jail won't stop the time travel.”
She laughed and poured him some more cold coffee: “Fine, you called my bluff. I'm not gonna call the cops on you.”
Something broke way back in the kitchen, startling the time traveler. The waitress didn’t even blink.
“What was that?”
“That’s the simple boy who does the dishes in the back. Sometimes he breaks stuff, though by accident or ill intent, nobody knows. Hold on.”
She went back to check on the simple boy. When she returned, the time traveler wasn’t there. The money for the meal wasn’t there either.
* * * * *
He came back towards the end of her shift, wearing nothing but a smelly rain coat.
“Well look who’s here!”
“Oh, please, please, tell me my clothes are still around!”
“You got some nerve showing up here like that after you ditched out without paying.”
“No, you see, I couldn’t help it, I went forward in time and-”
“You went forward in time forty five minutes?”
“I've always been an underachiever. So, listen- are my clothes still around?”
“You sick fuck,” the waitress contemplated smashing the coffee pot against his skull, “you got undressed and ran naked outside, probably touching yourself vigorously to warm up against this cold night. You’re a real class act, mister.”
“No! Please! When I travel in time, I always arrive naked at my destination. Sometimes I almost freeze to death. That’s why I came back looking for my clothes. Please.”
“So where did you get this shabby old coat?” she remained skeptical.
“What, this old thing? I traded for it from a homeless guy. Don't ask me what for. So can I have my clothes back now?”
“Nah, I’ve already burnt them all.”
“So you got nothing on underneath that coat?” She scanned him head to toe.
“Nothing at all.”
“Are you gonna flash me?”
“Of course not!”
“Is this a booty call? Are you gonna flash me?”
“No, it’s nothing like that-”
“So you’re not gonna flash me instead of paying the check?”
“No, I actually have the money, and I came back to pay for the meal.”
“Oh,” she sighed and seemed to lose interest in the man. Her eyes searched for other patrons to service, but the place was as empty as a movie theater showing R.I.P.D.
“Barbara, please,” he stroked her face, his fingertips sending electricity through her skin, “I have the money for the check. I just want my clothes back. It’s so cold out there.”
“Oh, Derek,” She guided his hand down into the depths of her generous cleavage, “I didn’t burn all of your clothes. I got a little something for you baby, I knew you’d come back. I knew it.”
His hand fumbled a bit inside her blouse until it extracted a used pair of underwear, kept warm by her soft female curves. The time traveler then bent over and slid them up his legs. They disappeared under the rain coat and reached their final destination, as made clear by the satisfied moan he let out. He then pulled some cash from the coat’s pocket and deposited the payment in her bra, where the underwear were kept so lovingly not a moment ago.
“I don’t have enough for a tip right now,” he made his move towards the exit, “but I’ll be back sometime in the future.”
The getaway was complete before she could muster a reply.
“Fine, don’t tip, you cheap bastard,” the waitress murmured as she resumed cleaning the tables and refilling the salt shakers, all alone in the diner except for the simple boy who does the dishes in the back, “but one day, in the future, I’ll be working in one of them fancy places with a french name and a menu, where they won’t let you in smelling like that. One day.”
The street light outside failed, darkening the street, and she could suddenly see her reflection in the window: A solitary tear carved it’s way down her cheek, plowing through the trashy make up.
“And then you won’t take me for granted anymore, Derek. One day.”
Originally published on theslowhello.com , an award winning website that features free snacks and light beverages.