The diner held a strong, hazy scent of Old Spice and cheap hotel soap mixed with the lingering aroma of freshly burnt toast. It was the typical sort of joint with pink vinyl booths, large sunny windows that looked out onto the traffic outside, and an overhead ceiling fan that lazily grazed through the muggy air.
Neil Ginskey was occupying the very last booth in section A, a window seat where the seating placement made it possible to see the entire diner. This seating arrangement always made him feel the most comfortable, as it left no surprises.
It was past breakfast, and somewhere in that space between lunch and dinner where the diner wasn't quite empty, and not quite full of patrons. Neil started to feel the eminent trickle of sweat on the back of his neck. The thick fog of heat permeated through his thick brown tweed suit and encased him in a throbbing, heated trap. He ran his hand nervously over his brown hair, pulling it back to keep it from escaping into his eyes.
The menu felt cool in his hands, as his eyes flashed over his choices. He could never really decide what he wanted to eat when he went out, and when the time came to place his order, he usually mumbled off a quick order which was never what he really wanted, but something he ate anyway. He wasn't much of a complainer either. As long as there was food in his belly he felt that his basic needs were met.
He watched the waitress of his section with amused fascination. Her shocking blonde hair had been teased and sprayed up into a high bouffant and was decorated with pink ribbons, almost like a Christmas tree. She slathered on a thick application of bright red lipstick, and smoothed out the wrinkles on the front of her pink uniform before grabbing a pencil and sticking it behind her ear.
Neil returned his attention back to the menu, still undecisive, as the waitress approached the table.
"What can I get you, sweetheart?" She said in a repulsively sugared tone. Neil hesitated. Still not ready, but more than desperate to get the waitress to go away. She sensed his urgency and undesive manner quickly, and tapped her finger on the menu.
"This one's good. It's the special today. Turkey sandwich with gravy, and peas and mash."
"Sure, sounds swell," Neil said, quickly surrendering the menu to her. She scribbled down the order quickly. Neil averted his eyes.
"Coffee too, sweetheart?" She chirped.
"Yeah, coffee. Sure," Neil said, averting his gaze to his lap. He had forgotten about coffee and how tempting it sounded even in the dreadful heat of the day.
He quickly scanned the room, he noticed that the telephone had been freed up and he quickly straightened his brown tie before getting up. He searched around his coat pockets for some spare changed and extracted a dime, which he placed in the slot.
Neil dialed the number slowly, and waited.
"Winthrop residence?" A familiar nasal voice answered.
Neil couldn't slam the receiver back on the hook fast enough. He knew he had a fat chance of getting the right person to answer the phone. He hesitated for a moment before reaching for another dime and trying a different party.
"Mr. Glinskey's office how may I direct your call," a cheery voice answered.
"Cheryl, sweetheart! How's my favorite little secretary?" Neil chimed.
"Neil?" The voiced reduced to a whisper, "Where on earth are you? Your uncle is in his office steaming about your disappearance."
Neil grinned, "You didn't think I'd last as some stuffy office bore forever now did you? Besides, Uncle Glen can run the old show on his own. I just called to gauge the scene. Also, has a Miss Winthrop come by looking for me?"
"Fat chance, kid," Cheryl replied. Neil could almost hear her smirking.
With a furrowed brow he sighed, "Thanks anyways, Cher. So long." He didn't wait for a reply before hanging up. He shuffled back to his booth just in time for the waitress to swoop in with a plate of food and a cup of stale coffee.
As he ate, Neil used the back of the place mat as stationary to write out his next letter. Peas and gravy added extra texture to the paper as he took turns shoveling food in and angrily scribbling.