Bev Vines-Haines

 “You want fries with that?”

“Aren’t you kind of old to be working here?”  The kid, all acne and attitude, tried to stare me down.

“Don’t waste your breath or your time, kid.  Fries?”

“Old ladies like you should not be doing kid jobs.  Don’t you know that?  I put an application in here last month.  They said they weren’t hiring.  Now you show up.”

“Every day.”

“Not every day!  You’re new.  I know that.  My mom never cooks so I send these guys her Mother’s Day card.  You are new!”

“Okay, I’ll give you new.  But not old.”

“You are old.”  Now he honestly looked pissed.

“Older than who?  Based on what?" 

“Older than my Grandma!  Based on television, books and life.”

“I don’t think you’ve seen enough of life to form that opinion.”

“You’re old.  Your hair is gray.  You have wrinkles.  How can you argue the truth?”            

“Because it’s your truth.  Not mine.  I haven’t even begun to fulfill my dreams.”

He stared, open-mouthed.  “Lady, you’re old.  You sell burgers.  You wear like those funny, run-down, old lady shoes.  Your dreams have passed you by.”

“You shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition.  And what could you possibly know about my dreams?”

“Did you dream of dying while mixing a milkshake?’

“That’s rude.”

“That’s reality.  Why don’t you quit and let them hire me?”

“It’s my dream, remember?  Would you deny me?”

“Are you serious?  Do you need this job?” 

For a split second I thought I saw concern in his eyes. 

“What a loser.”

“It’s a step along the path, kid.  I want to be a writer.  In fact, before I die I am going to be on Jay Leno’s show.”

“He’s quitting, you know.”

“Sure, going to prime time.  Even better.”

He spread his hands wide.  And sneered.  I swear to God he sneered at me.

“Uncurl that lip.”

“You irritate me.  Old ladies don’t have dreams.  They just bitch.”

“Watch your mouth.”

“Bitch is not a bad word.  I say worse.  All the time.”

“I’m impressed.”

He glared.  “You’ll never be on Jay Leno.”

“But I might.  We can’t be sure.  At least I’m trying.  I leave here and I write.  Every day.  You’re buying a burger in the middle of the day so I’m betting you’ve quit school.  Am I right?”

“It’s temporary.”  He frowned. 

“Someday I am going to design video games way beyond what they’ve got these days.”

“Excellent, kid.  I’m impressed again.  Maybe we can be on the Leno Show together.”

“You’re rude.”

“We have a lot in common.”

“I’m thinking of going back to school.”

“Good choice.  You decide about those fries?”

“I’ll take them.”  

First published:May, 2009
comments to the writer: doorknobsandbodypaint@gmail.com