Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hell's Bagel

It's 4:30 in the morning and Emma is awake. I got up at 3:45 so that I could get a head start with writing before the chaos of the day began and there she was, right outside my door at 3:50.

I used to have this theory back when Claire was a baby that the sound of my pen moving across paper was somehow loud enough to wake up children. Every time I tried to wake up early enough to get some good writing done, Claire would sense it, wet her diaper and start crying. The only evil streak that my children possess so far is that each one of them has an innate awareness of when I'm writing and an uncanny desire to stop it.

But onto the church ladies at the Waffle Cafe. There are about seven of them and they come in with this priest who's about 25 years younger than them, and the who is the object of their devotion, like the son-who-is-a-gateway-to-the-afterlife that they never had. What I find classy about them is the way they dress and carry themselves. Dove gray suits, heirloom jewelry, and those diamond pendents on their blazers, like angels or turtles. Hair always done just so. Lots of makeup and bright pink lipstick. I wonder if the AARP deals out pink lipstick to women when they turn 70.

A couple of weeks ago they came in during a busy time and they were insistent that the priest get his bagel as soon as possible, even before other people who had ordered before him. They called him "The Father."

"The Father needs his bagel," one of the old ladies said, creeping up to the counter with severely pink lips.
"The Father?" I asked, thinking that if this woman's father was alive I would be impressed if he could choke down a bagel without blending it first.
She pointed to the priest, who was sitting patiently at a table of old ladies with his hands folded. "Yes, The Father. He's in a hurry, and he needs his bagel, please."
"It'll come out soon. He's got a few orders in front of him."
"But it's just a bagel. Can't you get it out now?"
"It's not a matter of what it is. It's the order in which he, um, ordered."
She frowned and shook her head, possibly thinking, "Say hello to Hell for me."

Two minutes later a lady with a darker gray suit and pinker lip stick shoved her way through the crowd and said, "Excuse me, young lady."
I was pouring coffee out of the thermos and turned around. "Yeah?"
"The Father as been waiting for his bagel. He needs it now."
I handed the fresh mug of coffee to the customer who'd been shoved aside by God's Bagel Police.
"Should be soon," I assured her.
She bore her pink-lipstick stained teeth. "Where's the owner? Where's Brad?"
"He's not here this morning."
"Well, tell your cook The Father needs his bagel now."

So I went over to Henry the cook. "The Father needs his bagel."
"Who's the father?" he asked.
"That dude over there. The church ladies keep calling him 'The Father.' He told me his name was Bob."
I pointed to the order ticket above the stove, the one that said, "side bagel - cream cheese - Bob."
"Tell him he's third in line," said Henry.
"The ladies say he needs his bagel now."
Then Henry said something that I'm sure I'll see him in hell for. He popped a bagel in the toaster and told me to stay put. Thirty seconds later he tossed the half-toasted bread on a plate, threw in a side of cream cheese and said, "There's your fuckin' bagel."
"It's not mine, it's Father Bob's."
So I delivered it to the table. And there was much rejoicing.

You know, I started this post about a week and a half ago. Now I am sitting in a different coffee shop that I am not working at, where there are no priests, gray suits, or Bobs in sight. I'm at Fair Grinds Coffeehouse, the place where the pretty hippies go. You know, ones who bathe, and have jobs and laptops. So i guess I should broaden the term "hippie" to "hippie posers," ones who wear long skirts they make themselves with their sewing machines, and dred locks but also stopped smoking weed five years ago. This person would be more of a hippie fashion kitten. And once I get a sewing machine, that kitten will be me.

I've got to finish the book by the end of this week so I should get started back on it. Just needed to finish this post because it's been bugging me that I left it half done. Been busy lately. But haven't we all?


melissa bastian. said...

God's Bagel Police. *snigger.*

You tell us nothing about new job!

I love the Fair Grinds. And right now I am missing home so much I want to cry. In fact, I might cry. Why is my life scattered all over the effin country?

There, now I've given your post yet another tangent. ;)

p.s. - my word verification is inglet - I think I'm keeping that one. It's definitely a baby animal-ish thing - very round, and black, and squishy. It's soft, but I don't think it's furry. It may not be an animal; it might be a very advanced plant or fungus. But it definitely moves around and makes noises. And is a cute baby inglet.

Tom said...

"...God's Bagel Police."


Best characterization of the year.

I still love the entry with you trying to take an order while the trumpet player makes racket and instruments are set on fire.

My word verification is "lessness," which does nothing at all to make me feel good about all the writing I've been doing. It's supposed to be about more, not less! Nor does it make me feel any good about the fact that I apparently can't write female characters, or that every time I try to write "female" I type "femail." What the hell is "femail," anyway? Victoria's Secret catalogs?