Betty and Lou at the Pioneer Inn

Barufaldi
September, 2006

Betty and Lou, no smiles, no frowns,
just plastic-like expressionless masks,
carrying heavy plated food of chicken fried everything
to whispering, mumbling customers
sitting in time warped vinyl booths
at magenta-colored Formica tables,
reflecting an eerie glow of pulsating circadian rhythms of red, white, and blue neon light
from a Route 66, America’s Main Street sign.

Betty and Lou, with stiffly sprayed grey netted hair,
moving robotic-like from booth to counter, counter to booth,
on tired feet in run-down scuffed moccasins,
serving locals, young and weathered old,
through smoke hazed clouds of grilled grease and grunting sounds of exhausted fans.

Betty and Lou, pouring iced beverages of Coke,
more “bounce to the ounce” Pepsi,
sweet tea and “rich, creamy,
satisfying” steamed Cappuccino, extracted from a hissing, gurgling contraption,
into chipped souvenir mugs,
as beads of sweat bubble on their upper red smudged lips,
expecting “thank yous” in tips.

Betty and Lou, uttering small talk,
-na, no, nope, sure, ya, see ya, yeah-
sneaking peeks, between yawns,
through darkened windows, framed by condensed water droplets,
anticipating closing time at the Pioneer Inn.

©2010 James P. Barufaldi. All rights reserved.