Sunday, June 18, 2006

Madeleine's big adventure (the Return of Fiction: the sequel)

Madeleine lost her way at a truckstop on the edge of some backwoods southern town in Alabama with her dog Pete. She was 15, nearly 16 as she left the trunk of her daddy's car which she had snuck into to see where it was he went each night. She must had fallen asleep, because as she was walking toward the diner, she had to duck into the shadow of a truck because heard her daddy's voice and there was noway she was going to let him catch her here when she was supposed to be home in bed, safely sound asleep. Even as she saw him get into his car and drive away, she knew she was better off facing this unknown fate than she would be letting him see her here tonight.

She had to pee and she was hungry but had no money. Pete stayed by her side though he had to pee too, she had no idea how long they had been driving and had no idea where she was. Madeleine went inside and was looking for a restroom. When she asked the old tattered waitress, she pointed to the sign on the door as she said, "Those is for payin' customers. The free ones is over there."

There was a door marked private. The waitress fished in her pocket and threw her something saying, "Here's the key," after a pause she added "Some say it helps if you sing somthin' and some find they really like it. The dog is cute, but he has to stay outside we don't allow no dogs in here."

Madeleine took the dog outside and swallowed hard as she slid the key into the lock on the door marked private. She felt a slight shiver run up her spine as she entered. She was in a smaall curved room with six doors to choose from.Door number three was right in front of her and as she stepped into the room she felt the wall to her right for a light switch. Madeleine needed the light to see where the toilet was. As she turned it on, she felt the free restroom was not too bad. It was reasonably clean and there was an oversized chair and footstool with some magazines and a reading lamp on one side of the small room, then a shelf with some candles on the other side.

The thing that seemed odder than the free restroom actually being homey and presentable was that there were six small windows with screens on them making it hard to look out. you could see if the light was off she decided but she rather liked the comfort of the room with the bare dim bulb on.

What Madeleine didn't realize was that the light going on signaled the men outside, truckers and locals alike, that a show was about to begin.

There was also what looked like a mail slot in the wall, a small brass plate that flapped either way, sure enough, a mail slot.

Madeleine had slipped down her panties and was about to pee and she was wondering why the old hag had told her some say it helps if you sing something. Madeleine had a brief thought about how long she must have been in the car trunk as it was right after dinner when she snuck in and it was after dark now and seemingly very late, though the truckstop was full. She had a forceful stream of pee going when she heard something breathing hard and looked up to see six pairs of eyes watching her.

Madeleine had been cooped up so long that she had no wherewithal to stop peeing. She just couldn't as it felt too good to finally let it out. She heard Pete barking, and she knew that he knew these men were watching her. their faces were pressed right up against the screens and she could see in that instant that two were young, two were old and weathered one was rather fatherly looking and cleaner than the rest or more polished. But the last one was the one that caught her attention. It was a woman's face. Her hair was perfectly done up and she had on the reddest lipstick.

As Madeleine realized that she could now stop herself, she found the toilet paper and wiped. She then pulled up her panties and pants and reached for the light switch in a hurry. Once the room was dark, she could no longer see the eyes and was able to catch her breath before deciding what to do next.

There was a slight scraping sound followed by a tiny tink and she realized it was the mail slot being used. Madeleine sat there afraid to move in the dark for a long time. She was in the comfortable chair curled up with her knees drawn up to her chest and har hands hugging them close when the sound of a key in the lock had startled her awake. She remained frozen in her curled up position afraid to move.

As the light clicked on she saw it was the old hag. Madeleine somehow realized that she was harmless and she simultaneously realized she had set her up. She saw that her nametag read Kay, something which had escaped her earlier. she also looked to the windows and saw that the sun was coming up and no one was there. Kay walked to the window and was pointing at the cash laying on the floor. She picked it all up and handed it to her telling her there is usually a ten dollar fee for the room but as a first timer, she would waive the charge. For the ten dollars, the user gets to keep her tips and gets the clean sheet which madeleine had not seen sitting beside the magazines. Kay told her most of the girls usually drape it over the chair before they begin the show.

"There's no one here right now and I have a shower in the employee changing room which also serves as my office. I have the breakfast shift starting in thirty minutes and I could really use the help if you need work. Anything you can do to help out will be great, five dollars an hour cash plus tips if you can wait tables. If not just the five an hour. These rooms are not used during the day and there is always more like you got tonight. Oh, yes, this is for you too. Miss Luann bought your dog and said she has a place for you if you need one. Her number is on the paper. She gave you a hundred for him which seemed rather fair to me and before you get all crying, I see the tears about to fall, she didn't really buy him, she is a nice old broad, well, she's a lady not a broad, and she will take care of your dog 'til you decide you want to stay at her place or 'til you come to claim him. She said you looked like you had some life issues to settle and since she wasn't here when you came in I figure she was one of your first paying customers. Make up your mind quickly as I really need the help. The shower is yours to use either way, and you will find uniforms hanging on the back of the door. I need to go get things ready."

As Kay shut the door behind her, Madeleine looked down at the cash in her hand. She unfolded each piece and smoothed and straightened them out. When she was finished, she could not believe her good fortune. There were four tens, a twenty and a fifty. She closed her eyes to remember the flash of faces she saw last night in the seconds before she turned off the light. The tens belonged to the two young boys and the weathered men. the twenty to the fatherly one and the fifty to the woman. Maybe the twenty and the fifty were swapped out, but Madeleine was sure about the tens. A hundred and ten bucks. Minus the ten she would have to give Kay for the room use again. That sure beats five an hour. and she could drink some coffee in the diner and do a second 'show'. Maybe a third. The weirdness of it all was somehow suspended in a sort of shock.

Before her brain had too much time to spin out of control, Madeleine remembered that a Miss Luann had bought Pete. She unfolded the paper that Kay had given her and there was a crisp clean hundred dollar bill inside, as crisp and clean as the fifty. The note was simple. Come by for tea at 3pm sharp. It was signed with a scripted L and nothing else.

Two hundred and ten dollars. Madeleine couldn't believe it. She folded her money and put it deep into her jeans pocket. She smoothed her hair a little and was prepared to make an exit because she wasn't certain if she wanted to work harder for her money. Kay had said she needed the help and even though she had set her up with the bathroom show, she had basically been kind to her this morning. She could have kept the hundred for Pete, too and said she didn't know anything about her dog.

As Madeleine walked back into the diner, she saw there were about a third of the seats taken and two waitresses seemed to have a handle on it. She walked into the kitchen to get to the office to tell Kay no thanks, and she saw there was an older cook and a younget boy maybe a few years older than herself working the grill. They were cooking up enough food for an army, not orders for the few people sitting in the dining room.

Kay was having a cup of coffee at her desk and before Madeleine could ask, she told her they had a steady stream of truckers picking up the big breakfast to go, that was four breakfast tacos, four links of sausage, four biscuits, and two cartons of milk. She paused to look at the clock and continued. "In thirteen minutes, every seat will be taken in the diner and the line will start forming. Are you in?"

Madeleine jumped into the shower stall and stripped off her clothes. She forgot to grab the uniform and asked Kay to pass it to her please. The shower was running and she was rinsing her hair when she saw Kay in the doorway to the shower watching her. "Firm young flesh, I wont touch unless you invite me, but I'll look every chance I get."

To that, Madeleine had to smile and she turned her profile to offer kay the full view. Kay laughed and blushed slightly, and held out a towel as Madeleine turned off the water.

Kay told Madeleine the uniform on the right would be just about the right size, maybe a little big, and the one on the left would be a tight squeeze but better tips. Madeleine reached to the left and Kay said, "My kinda gal," as she opened the door to return to the kitchen.

There was a comb on the shelf in the shower and after towel drying her long hair, Madeleine combed it out and pulled it into a ponytail using a rubber band that was lying on Kay's desk. She wrapped the tail around itself and secured it with two pencils as she had no bobby pins. She looked into the mirror and saw that indeed this uniform was a size or so small for her. she reached into her top and adjusted her breasts so that they were more comfortable and this also resulted in better cleavage. If she was going to offer a view, it would be the best view she could offer. Then she stepped back far enough to see how the skirt of the dress fell on her. It was tight and it was short. She was about to grab the other uniform which would be a bit more modest when she heard a crash in the kitchen and a lot of cussing. Madeleine decided to go with the tight fit remembering Kay had said it would bring better tips and she left the office to see what had happened.

Kay was filling plates to replace the tray that had been dropped. She looked up and smiled at Madeleine and told her unless she had experience, her best help would be by sitting back and doing whatever was asked of her. Madeleine had no experience and told Kay this and they agreed she would hang back and jump in when asked or if it was clear what needed to be done. Kay told her to start filling the to go boxes with the big breakfasts. Four tacos, four sausage, four buscuits. Then she could bag them up with the two milks and have them ready. Madeleine nodded and set to work. The boy had been doing this and as he saw Madeleine coming over, he stopped and went to clean up the fallen tray.

It was pretty easy work as the tacos had already been made. There was a steamer tray of each item on the counter. Madeleine opened up a line of to go boxes. Ten of them fit on the counter. she then opened the taco tray and put four into each box. then the sausage, then the buscuits, then closed them all. She repeated this process four times before she ran out of supplies. As the boy came back to help from cleaning up the mess, he was surprised that she was done.

Before he could ask her how she did that so fast, Madeleine recognized the surprised look on his face as one of the younger boys from the night before. She smiled briefly then explained her assembly line method. The boy told her he usually did them one at a time and really got into there being a wait once the demand started. Forty of them each morning and here they were all ready. He reached for the sacks and started to bag them. He told Madeleine that they should add the milk as they went to the customer so it would be fresh. He said once they started in, he would bring the carton of milks from the cooler. Half the breakfasts were all lined up and ready to go as Kay walked into the kitchen to announce she needed the first six. She was surprised they were ready and she grabbed three bags saying she would be right back for the other three. As Madeleine was caught up for a moment, she grabbed the other three and followed Kay to the register.

Kay thanked her and said to go get six more as the line was now quite long. The boy had begun getting the milks into the bags and as he was doing that, Madeleine bagged up more of the lunches. Madeleine kept a steady stream of them coming to the register so Kay did not have to ask for more. By 7:30 in the morning, the breakfasts were all gone. All the while there had been a steady stream of customers filling the chairs in the diner.

Madeleine had learned that the two waitresses, Rosie and Maria, were sisters. They worked well together and occasionally one would tell her table three needs sides of this or that. There was a table chart on the wall of the kitchen and this was a good way for Madeleine to get familiar with the layout and also to learn how to not be in Rosie's or Maria's way.

All of a sudden, there was a calm in the diner. Madeleine looked up and saw it was 10:30. She had just brewed her 67th pot of coffee for the morning and brought the pot and a fresh cup out to Kay who was smoking a cigarette at the register. Kay had a look of extreme appreciation as Madeleine filled the cup. Rosie and Maria came over with cups of their own and one for Madeleine. Kay spoke up, "So Sugar, you gonna tell us your name?" Rosie looked to Maria. "We don't need to know her name Mama, we just need to know she's staying."

Kay then shook her head. "I doubt it, she has an appointment for tea today with Miss Luann and you know what that means. We'll be lucky to ever see her here again."

The girls were both nodding their heads in unison. Kay opened the register and handed Madeleine a twenty. She had worked four hours. She then handed her another twenty because the big breakfasts had gone so smoothly allowing more customers to be served. Rosie and Maria had already counted up their tips and had about a hundred bucks each, not bad for breakfast shift but they had about a six time table turnover to the normal 4, and that was because of Madeleine's help. They each gave her a twenty.

There was a jar on the counter that Kay had put up which said "for the new girl" on a napkin taped around it. Madeleine was surprised to feel it heavy wiith change. She took her coffee to a table to the side and told the girls they could join her if she liked. She dumped the contents of the jar and counted it out. there was a few fives, and some singles, and the rest was mostly quarters with other smaller change. there was seventy-two dollars and fifty-six cents. So in the four hours she was there, she made $152.56. In addition to the money from the night before, she had $362.56. Sneaking into the trunk, even though she did not really find out anything new about her daddy, wasn't the worst decision she had ever made.

1 comment:

the only daughter said...

Whew! Some dream. The few dreams I have seem to be about squirrels getting into the apartment. Yuck.
Madeleine's far so good.