Outside, the street was quiet. I sat across the table from her studying the row of reflected globe lights in the darkened plate glass.
“Oh,” she said to the well turned out young man standing in front of our booth. “I find that all very not interesting.”
I repressed a smile and darted a covert glance down at my phone, which was counting the seconds. The young man persisted in his quest to ‘get her digits.’
“My name is Banana.” She said in the same pleasant and modulated voice as the minute ticked over to three on my phone.
“Okay, look,” I turned my full attention toward the well-dressed and apparently extremely stupid boychild. “You have a very nice Will Smith-Miami Vice look going there, but I think my friend has made it amply clear that your charms are wasted on her.”
“I’m just trying to get her number.” He replied.
“That,” I said, shifting around to face him, “Was manifestly apparent two minutes and thirty-nine seconds ago.” I blinked and then stared at him for a long moment before going on. “You bummed a cigarette. We are not required to entertain you as well.”
“What’s your deal?” He asked, his body language becoming a bit more aggressive. “You her girlfriend or something?”
She let out a grunt that could be a sound of exasperated mirth or the signal that his time upon the earth was coming to an end.
“If I were you,” I said, “I’d grasp the nettle of understanding that she doesn’t want to talk to me and gracefully take my leave.” I shot a glance at her, as she leafed through the sale flyer for Kroger in the glaring fluorescent light of a 1 a.m. Waffle House.
“Look,” she held up a page for me to examine. “Prunes are on sale for $1.99!”
“And that would be your cue to beat a hasty retreat.” I informed the would-be suitor. “Because we’re looking at prunes and also because you want to live.”
He turned on his heel, and taking off his white cap, stalked the length of the all-night diner in a swirl of pique and well-tailored cream-colored wool.
“I swear to god.” She muttered and smacked her tongue against the roof of her mouth like a fed up old man. “Can’t even read the paper in peace.”
“Alright, Howard.” I chuckled. “He’s gone.”
“And if I had known that being nice was considered a general ‘fuck me now’ move–” She trailed off and sharply flicked the page of her sale circular.
“He’s probably just in his cups.” I put my phone away. “It is Friday night and he and his buddies were obviously dressed for the club.”
“Oh my god, I don’t care. Ooh look!” She paused and examined the page more closely, “Cheese is on sale!”
“So,” I sipped my coffee, “I assume that means we’re trekking over to the 24 hour Kroger across town?”
“Going boldly forward, ’cause we can’t find reverse.” She sang tinnily.
“My life,” I fished out money to pay the tab. “It’s just a constant whirl of excitement.
“Sale cheese is exciting.” She folded the paper and slid it into her bag. “Don’t lie. You know it’s true.”
“It’s always funny until someone gets hurt, and then it’s hilarious.”