Johnny and Doris – Part II


The days ran into weeks and soon it was November. The city’s landscape was now a permanent grey. John’s world had not changed much. As he passed the neighbourhood park he saw some children playing with a kite. I wish I was a kite, he thought, only no string!

He’d been back to the diner several times but Doris never seemed to be there. He hoped she hadn’t quit. He liked her. She seemed smart but not mean like the other smart people he had met in his life. He rounded the same corner that he traveled almost every day to work only this time, he passed his workplace to go to the diner, in search of Doris, yet again.

It was a Saturday and the place was jam packed. However would he find a seat! John waited patiently for his favourite spot, the seat closest to the ordering station, the one closest to Doris.

Doris heard the faint tinkling of the diner’s doorbells over the din of the breakfast crowd. Immediately she recognized him. She never forgot a face. Years in the diner industry taught her to be good with faces. Not only did it mean better tips but it was also important in case any funny business happened. Several seats became available but John remained standing, nodding politely, albeit awkwardly, to anyone else who wished to skip ahead of him for their meal. Eventually, the mother and young daughter who were in John’s desired spot got up to leave.

“Well, look who’s back!” Doris beamed, “the fastest eater in the west. How are you?” John gave a stilted smile back. “Fine, thanks.”

“So, what would you like today? Even though it’s still breakfast time we still serve our lunch menu. Whatever you want, we got.”

“Do you have any eggs?”

“Do we have any eggs?” Doris’ throaty laugh filled the room. “Well, yeah. I think we could find some. What kind?”

“Scrambled,” John said decisively. He felt happy. Stevie had been good lately.

“So what’s your name, kid?” Doris had been feeling good lately too. Not for any particular reason, if only for the fact that work had been steady and tips had been good. And maybe for the fact that later tonight she was indulging herself in a bottle of wine, a warm blanket on the couch and all the Harrison Ford she could handle.

“John.”

“Well then Johnny, can I call you Johnny?”


“Sure, ” John shrugged. It reminded him of his brother. He used to call him that. He missed his brother. Why’d he have to move all the way up to Canada and then all the way to London? He said it was because of his job but John still worked in Brooklyn. Right around the corner from where they both grew up.


“Great. Pleased to meet you, Johnny.” Doris extended her hand. John took it slowly.


“Pleased to meet you…Doris,” he said, staring at the lily adorned plastic nametag she wore.

“So Johnny, tell me about yourself.” The breakfast rush was beginning to slow down.

“I work.”

“Oh yeah? Good for you! What do you do?”

“Shipping.”

“Oh yeah? Where do you that?”


“Just up the street.” John fell silent. Doris stared at him for a few seconds, laughed to herself and

shook her head. Turning to pick up her next order she refilled John’s coffee cup before heading to

the kitchen.

As soon as she returned, John’s face had shadowed. Just like that, she thought.

“Doris, has anyone ever talked to you and you didn’t want to listen?

Doris raised one eyebrow, “Kid, are you serious? That’s a good one. Yeah, sure. What are you gettin’ at?”

“Nothing,” John dismissed her.

“Hey, Johnny, are you okay? Someone giving you a hard time?

“Oh no!” Johnny said. “Stevie would never do that. He gets a little annoying sometimes, that’s all.”

“Who’s Stevie? Your little brother?”

John started laughing so hard he almost fell off his stool but then, magically straightened. “I never thought of it that way…” He was now staring off into the distance, a slight melancholy present in his eyes.

Doris was mesmerized by John. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Maybe it was his childlike manner despite his lanky, almost gawky frame. He couldn’t be much older than 25.

“So who’s Stevie?” It was almost like talking to a child!

“He’s the voice in my head.”

“Oooooh…”Doris nodded. Of course! This guy was a nutcase. But he seemed harmless enough. “So what’s he tell you?”

“All sorts of stuff. But he’s so young! He doesn’t know anything!” John retorted back in a surprisingly abrupt and loud tone.

Edit: Apologies for the formatting; Blogger’s being cranky.




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