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This story arc has been published as a novel!

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Going With the Flow

The Stars n' Garters Diner had a battered china-blue door, a cracked plate glass window, and a sign hanging by a single rusty bracket. It came recommended by Mr. Metropolitan's morning replacement. Megan ducked as she passed through the door. Four stainless steel pedestal tables were ranged around the walls, each with four blue plastic chairs. Each table was occupied by a single elderly individual: a bald, bespectacled man reading a newspaper with a magnifying glass, a straggle-haired woman staring into her coffee mug, a well-wrapped person of indeterminate gender tinkering with a pile of gizmos, and a woman in a yellow flower-patterned muu-muu reading Tarot cards.

The first woman set her coffee mug down and turned to inspect Megan. Then she stood up, her knees cracking loudly, and limped toward the door. "You take my table, sweetie," she said, patting Megan on the arm as she went past.

"Uh, thanks!" Megan said belatedly. She sat down carefully, listening for tell-tale noises. The flimsy chair held. A middle-aged waitress, dressed in a pink short-sleeved dress, white apron, and white tennis shoes, emerged from the kitchen.

"What'll ya have, honey?" the waitress said, snapping her gum and producing pad of paper.

Megan was briefly mesmerized by the red beehive hairdo and the "Flo" nametag, then said, "May I please have coffee and 3 eggs, over easy?"

"Toast with that? How about sausage?" Flo said, scribbling busily.

"Rye, if you have it, and no, thanks."

"Got it," Flo said, clearing the table. She made her way to the kitchen door and bellowed, "Sonic Yenta, over easy!"

There was an explosion outside as Flo poured the coffee. Another crack arced through the window. Flo sighed and walked toward the door.

Megan tackled her, also knocking down the man with newspaper. The door blew open, splintering around the edges, as a piece of a car crashed into it.

"I knew this was going to happen," the woman in the muu-muu said, hurriedly gathering up her cards. The tinkerer ignored it all.

"That's IT!" Flo said, picking herself up.

Megan opened her mouth to say something, but Flo stepped into the open doorway, sturdy legs braced.

"YOU KIDS! GET OFFA MY STREET!" and a firehose spout of water erupted from her hands. Megan heard yelps and curses outside.

After a few long seconds, Flo dropped her hands and wiped them on her apron.

Megan picked up the elderly man and fetched his magnifier, with apologies, then hoisted the grey fender and headlight array from where it had lodged in the counter. "Er, where should I put this?"

"Thanks, honey, just put it out on the curb." Flo adjusted her hair and squelched to the kitchen door. "Ebb? Get out here and mop up, would you, hon?"

Megan sat back down and drained her coffee. Holding out her cup to Flo for a refill, Megan said, "Know anywhere I can get a job?"

"You got good reflexes," Flo said, pouring the coffee thoughtfully. "Lemme make a couple calls." She dealt Megan's plate onto the table. "Eat up. Big girl like you needs her strength."

Date: 2010-07-31 04:14 am (UTC)
ceciliatan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ceciliatan
Flo! I'm having flashbacks to "Alice" at Mel's Diner. Except for the water shooting part...

Loving this. I'm supposed to be working, but, shhh, don't tell anyone I'm having fun reading instead.

Date: 2012-02-26 06:59 am (UTC)
sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (Default)
From: [personal profile] sepdet
This is the chapter that hooked me, from Flo's mesmerizing beehive to the matter-of-fact way she and Megan deal with the stupidity happening outside. Megan holding up the fender... snerk.


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