The streetlights blinked on without having to compete with the stars of a clear night, as it had been quite rainy most of the day. But the usuals were not daunted by the downpours. One by one, or two by two they made their way into the Coney Island, claiming their seat. Creatures of habit. No one dared to venture to a different table or seat at the counter, even if the the creature who claimed the spot was absent.
Feather, one of the new cooks was in a fist fight. But no one moved a brow as the helpless mound of dough took punch after punch.
Clara, a constant, finally spoke up. "Feather, you mad at somebody? Geez."
"He's training to be the next 'feather-weight' champ." That was Wilmer, jumping in from the corner table. It was like that with the Harley night crowd. Easy-going chats. Only winding-down conversations. It was as if everyone silently agreed that the night was too late to get all worked up over someone's words.
They would save that for the morning coffee crowd that dragged in and burst out with the bright sun and a caffeine jolt.
Jandalene got the ice cream parlour side whipped up. Another newbie. She and Feather became fast friends, but neither would admit that the opening for manager position had them in competition mode. Should have been obvious. For every praise that Feather received, Jandalene would give an attention getting throat-clearing, and, "Oh, think I'll check the inventory...again."
Vinton, the owner, loved organization. After all, the restaurant was his 'child.' And, if the 'child' was not happy, the whole house heard about it.
Feather had dreams of his own. Two of them sat as caged cubs in a situation they did not understand. It would be up to him to salvage any of their remaining hopes to be a family again.
Jandalene came in like Feather. A little by chance. A lot by circumstance. She appreciated Vinton's approachable managerial style, still she kept the novel of her life inside. Her blank stare didn't always mean a blank page.
At The Pound Dog, across the street, Minerva stands eyes focused on Harley's through the thick glass door. She turned the open-closed sign. Her daughter put away the last of the dishes, sighed, and was glad the day was done.
Minerva just stood there....