Vicki stared out the open window on the short drive to the pie diner downtown, hidden among the vastly growing urban decay. I had a craving to subside to.
I loved this place. It was kitsch beyond all reasoning and definition.
"Oh! Mara! Vicki!" The old woman at the counter greeted us. "It has been so long, my doves!"
"Hey Barb," I waved as I made my way to my usual booth by the window. The lights were dim and it was comforting and I played with the carnation in an old glass milk jar on the table. Vicki remained silent, but I could tell she was going to come around sooner or later.
"What can I getcha?" A perky voice called out over us. It was Penny, in her usual pink button up uniform dress with its perfectly starched white collars. You could tell she put a lot of work into making her uniform just right. She stared back at me through her black rimmed glasses and gave a warm closed-mouthed smile.
"Two slices of cherry pie, and two cokes would make my day," I said.
Vicki was still out of it, and she picked nervously at her French manicure until Penny came back with our Cokes with bright red straws bobbing up and down in all of the icy, fizzy goodness. She returned once again with two steaming hunks of cherry pie. My fork was just beckoning me to pick it up and viciously maul the piece of pie in front of me.
I nearly swallowed the whole piece of pie at once. They always made the best pie at this place. It had always been one of my secret hideaways since I moved here. It felt as if it had never changed since the fifties. Its like it retained that feel good Americana ethic that had dissolved under all the cheap commercialism that drowned this city long ago.
"You gonna finish that?" I pointed with my fork at the pie Vicki had abandoned.
"What?" She said dreamily, snapping out of her thoughts, "Oh, sure go ahead." She pushed the plate towards me and I dug into it with malice, stabbing at the pie angrily, hacking it up into gory little fragments.
"I feel like Jack the Ripper," I said grinning, lifting up a piece of pie crust that oozed blood red cherry guts back onto the plate, "Except I kill pies instead of prostitutes. And I’m not Victorian. And stuff…"
"Mara, you’re really weird," Vicki sighed, refocusing her attention back to wherever she drifted off to before.
Penny drifted back over to our table with the check. We both stopped for a moment, watching Vicki in unison. I had to say something to get her to stop moping.
"Penny, isn’t Vicki like, the prettiest person ever?" I asked enthusiatically.
"You couldn’t be any more right, Mara," she said with a genuinely toothy grin, "Like Scarlet Johansen."
"Exactly!" I shouted, "So why should she be sitting here moping about some stupid boy, when she could be starting wars, like Helen of Troy. That sounds like a fun career choice, huh Vicki?" Vicki glared. Penny and I laughed. I saw a glimmer of a smile on the corner of Vicki’s lips. Pretty soon all three of us were laughing.
"So, Victoria darling," I said, "Now that I’ve eaten pie for both of us, do you want to go to the 8:30 screening of Barbarella at the underground movie house? We can stop and get tacos on the way to bring with us."
"Doesn’t that one guy work there?" Vicki asked suspiciously.
"That’s a possibility," I said, averting my eyes.