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Rated: E · Essay · Friendship · #2240105
Story about a group of men who formed friendships over breakfast in a country diner
                             The Diner Donut Diaries                                                  

The unofficial breakfast club came together over time at the diner near the lake on the edge an upscale suburban town in New England. The men assembled there each morning to savor the famous donuts, sip hot mugs of coffee and share the light banter concerning the events of the day. One overcast morning, the banter turned sober with the announcement made by Max, the newest member of the group suggesting his concern over a new client who may perhaps have been a victim of foul play or possibly even murder! A hush fell over the room punctuated only by the sound of teaspoons hitting the marble counter.

It must be said that the men who populate the breakfast club are all fine citizens who have solid reputations to recommend each of them. I in no way suggest that Max was not cut from the same cloth, or do I cast aspersions in his directions but murder is not word to be bandied about in the cozy little diner while enjoying a warm donut fresh out of the oven. All eyes were on the tall handsome stranger. Not one person in the diner moved to vacate his stool at the counter until further details could be extracted from the man. Max was, however, torn between his concern over violating the trust of a client and his need to unburden himself of this weighty matter.
On first meeting this man with the kind face and gentle demeanor, it is evident he is a man that can be trusted and as the story unfolds; he is what he appears to be in his profession as a financial advisor to corporations and people of means. So it was in that capacity that a young woman appeared in his office one morning to seek his counsel. She was breathless with excitement as she told Max that after years of an unhappy relationship with money, she had just won a four million dollar lottery!

Animated and flushed with excitement she was hoping Max would be able to guide her in handling her winnings. Before leaving his office she said she was going to pick up the check herself in lieu of trusting the U.S. mail. Jane, the estimable diner proprietor noted; I personally would be more confident in having the delivery made by the uniformed man in an official mail truck rather than tucking a check of that sum in my overburdened purse where I often cannot even locate a packet of mints.

The mysterious aspect of the story as related by Max was that the woman has not been seen or heard from since her visit to his office two weeks prior. She made no contact and calls were not returned. Max determined that there had been some activity in her bank accounts but no substantial deposit to justify belief in her lottery winnings.

What was to be made of that?

The audience at the diner was rife with speculation but there seemed little evidence to support any notion of misadventure. More information would surely be needed before appealing to contractor Bob to dredge the lake.

Truth be told, Max, was captivated more by the raven-haired young lady's million dollar smile and shapely legs than her lottery millions. Her disappearance was most vexing and he was resolute in his mission to track her down. He was eager to dispel the various scenarios involving murder and regretted his mention that the lovely young lady might have somehow been dispatched by a Republican. Perhaps the somber broadcasts of current events involving dead bats, shadowy foreign figures, corruption and deadly viruses may have inspired a sinister outcome to his story.

While sipping his coffee one morning Max mentioned that he noted some activity in the checking the mystery lady's accounts where charges at a hotel and lingerie shop were recorded. Once again the spoons hit the counter but now all the men were smiling and hot mugs of coffee were suspended in mid air! More flattering details were offered about the missing woman conjuring up a festival of visions involving stiletto heels and fish net nylons. Freed from the demands of logic, consideration could now be given to romantic scenarios including the rescue of a damsel who did not appear to be in distress after all!

As Jane filled the mugs, she was silently amused at how quickly the talk went from fantasy football to a Harlequin romance. She could almost see 8 stools being transformed into white steeds and imagined the men riding off into the sunset. She thought it interesting to note what fantasies the mind can weave based on only a few moments with only a snippet of detail.

As the weeks passed the diner gang became reluctant to bring up the subject of the missing damsel. Max was private man and usually not given to verbosity or random sharing of private thoughts. He became more circumspect in providing updates. It became evident, however, that the mystery woman was in contact and there were vague mentions of an ex-boyfriend and real estate brokers. It all suggested that the love boat may have sailed without Max. The tale began to lose its luster. Jane's observance on the matter was that in a way we all prefer false hope to harsh reality.As spring approached, the early morning light over the lake changed as the shadows gave way to the sparking shimmer that accompanies a new day. One particularly bright sunny dawn the door of the diner opened to admit
a raven haired beauty enveloped by a radiant wash of morning sunlight. The men glanced but one in particular, Max, spun his stool around dropping his spoon to the counter with the motion and faced the new arrival. Jane noted the pattern on the counter being formed by the divots created with all the spoons dropping. In a way it was a pattern of memories being collected as the men shared their stories humor and camaraderie. A hush fell over the crew at the counter except for the ever sardonic humor of John on the corner stool murmuring ....of all the diner's in all the towns in all the world.

Max joined the lovely lady at the door and after a quiet word was exchanged, they headed out of the diner. Jaws were dropping instead of spoons. All were relieved the lady was indeed alive but aware that Max left a whole lot out of the story. She was indeed a beauty and Max was clearly smitten. We may never know "the rest of the story" or if Max's stool should be permanently surrendered. We may never find out if the fortune was gone. The tale would likely be taken up from time to time down the road and the regulars with very fertile imaginations would fill in the blanks or embellish the story as necessary. For the moment, they left an empty stool kind of like a riderless horse. The vacancy would one day be filled and another stranger to town would occupy the stool and nod to the regulars, order a donut and one day might add to the divots on counter in Jane's cozy home town diner.

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