I had time to swing by Shirley's for the Sunrise, two eggs, two sausage, toast, juice and coffee. I don't often catch breakfast. I'm usually a coffee and donut kind of guy, but now and then I have the hankering for an early feast, especially when it was served by own version of the Virgin Mary. My Mary was the waitress at this red and chrome diner with its red leather stools, stainless steel counters, and that great yellow and red Wurlitzer jukebox, just inside the front door.
Like the Mary that had gazed down at me from that stained glass window, my Mary had blue eyes, more a royal blue than azure, but just as heavenly. Mary and I had been seeing each other for about a year. Well, we had been seeing each other for over five years before I worked up the courage to ask her out. And that proved to be five years wasted, for once we did, it clicked.
I waved to her through the windows that lined this stranded railroad car that somehow got marooned in downtown Boston. She was carrying plates to a couple sitting in one of the two person booths that lined those windows, so my wave was answered with a bob of that pretty head. After letting some miniature old lady with a red hat enter through the Diner's stainless steel doors, I entered my office away from the office. Here I was somebody; here I was with family.
"Hey, MacKenzie. Whatchya doing out this time of day?"
That was the bellow of Shirley, big-boned, big-voiced Shirley, the owner of this fine establishment and my unofficial answering service. Shirley had plenty of bark but her bite wasn't all that bad. She did once throw a cleaver at a guy who tried to raid her cash register and she had been known to toss out into the street a freeloader, but if Shirley liked you, she'd tease you hard but you knew she'd kiss you if she could.
"Morning, Shirley. Hey, Mary." My usual stool, the second one, was taken. The stool had vanished into the rear of a phone company worker who you could easily classify as on the Jumbo size. So I settled for the fifth stool. That stool put me in full view of Shirley.
Before Mary could take my order, Shirley took it through the window. "Mac, you want the Sunrise?" I gave her the OK sign and she followed with, "You like 'em scrambled, don't you?" I gave her a nod. Mary soon came over with the coffee and poured it into one of those off-white coffee mugs with the Maxwell House label printed on them. They were a recent addition to the diner's decor. A Maxwell House coffee salesman sold a ton of coffee by throwing in those mugs fo free.
As she poured, Mary asked, "Hey, what brings you in so early today?"
"Oh, I got an early call. Some nuns found the body of the Archbishop dead and gone to heaven this morning. Right there at the Church."
"You mean Saint Francis Church?"
"Yep. Right there in that little garden that's next to Tremont."
"Jeez, Mac. I sometimes go to Mass at that church."
"You go to Mass?"
"Sometimes. Well, what happened to His Eminence?"
"Oh, probably just keeled over from a heart attack. The old guy had to have been getting up there."
Shirley's voice jumped in, "Mary. MacKenzie's Sunrise is ready."
It was but a turn around for Mary to grab the plate from the window and then a return to slide the plate in front of me. And from the looks of the plate, Shirley still had a liking for me. Three sausages and it sure looked like more than three eggs gave their lives up for me. "Thanks, Mary. Thanks, Shirley."
Mary gave a smile; Shirley gave a grunt; the guy beside me, another Sunrise customer, gave me a "Hey, what the h*ll," look."
"Mary, what's it look like for Friday night? The new Gary Cooper movie's starting at the Paramount."
"Lord, not another western. How about Singing in the Rain? I think its still down at the Boulevard."
"Yes, a musical."
The fat guy with the overflowing rear end chimed in with a thick Brooklyn accent, "Hey, I went and saw that Singing in the Rain. Buddy, it's really pretty good. Why don't you take the pretty girl to somewhere she wants to go?"
"Alright, Singing in the Rain." I gave in but not before I gave that New York transplant one of my looks. I mean, I gave him the look. But he just took it with a shrug and returned to eating his oatmeal.