Friday, December 31, 2004

Entering the Horseshoe Cafe

I slowed my pace and frowned and considered. I love the air in autumn, even still, and especially at Monument Circle on my lunch break. It just smells . . . orange, if that makes sense to you. Like fall. And fall (and orange) tastes like pumpkin pie. Why, why pumpkin pie! I wanted a piece of pumpkin pie, I wanted it right then, and more than anything else in the whole wide world! I looked around the Circle for where I might buy a piece of pie, like a pie stand, or, or wherever they sold pie from. My god, where did they sell pie from? I don’t know that I’d ever bought pie somewhere before. I was never much of a dessert man, truth be told, and when I was I almost always, without fail, opted for the tiramisu. My eyes spied a sign, one with flashing red and yellow bulbs, right across the Circle, almost 180 degrees from Bagel Hut, and the sign read Horseshoe-flash-Café-flash-Horseshoe-flash-Café-flash. Horseshoe Café! It had big windows and booths, and even a counter, if my eyes didn’t lie. Even from across the Circle I could tell that this, this was a real diner, the kind you might see on the television, the kind that might, in the fall, serve pumpkin pie.

I pushed the door opened and a bell jingled, a bell tied to the corner of the door with a shoestring. It was a new shoestring, white and fresh and straight from the package. The floor of the diner was linoleum and the tables were too, and the seats in the booths were padded and puffy. The stools at the counter were padded and puffy and everything, the stools and the counter and the tables and the seats and the floor and the walls, they were speckled gray over their own colors of white or green or red. A metallic silver something surrounded everything, and the whole place glowed with the residue of a powerful cleanser. There were a few men occupying the booths, burly and unshaven and of the construction worker variety. They wore mesh caps that said things like “Boone Construction Co.” and “Harvey’s Heavy Lifting,” and then had a picture of a crane. It was quaint and folksy and somewhere, meat was sizzling.

I sidled up to the counter and had a seat, a smile on my face. The most radiant vision of beauty approached from behind the counter. Her nametag read Carol.

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