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Vinnie

by Charlie Morgan

I walked in at 2:30 a.m.
Terrible time to be up in the morning working
Especially drivin' a truck.
Vinnie's in his element, yelling at everyone who walks in.
"whasamatter wit ya? close the stinkin' door, we ain't heatin' the whole
lousey world."
He don't mean it--it's just part of the deal.
20 years in the Navy, probably drinking torpedo juice for most of it,
travelin' all over the world, and now the only connection to past here is
the drivers like me who come in here every nite at the same time.
"How about a glass of water, Vinnie?" yells Big Al from his owned seat in a
booth.
"wha do I look like, a waitress?" he yells as he tosses a red plastic glass
in the general direction. "the hose is outside"
Vinnie is all yell. And an artist. One of the best short order cooks you
ever saw.
When this place loads up and is running full tilt he's like a ballet dancer.
He keeps 5 waitresses busy at 6:00 a.m. and they never write down nothing.
Just sing it out in his general direction in that lingo that diners all have,
and he never misses.
He keeps a mason jar full of hooch under the customer counter, next to the
cooler where the bacon and hen fruits are and after you been comin' here a
while, you know how things are going with Vinnie
by how long it takes to get what you ordered out of there and on his grill.
Now Vinnie ain't your everyday drunk, that don't amount to nothin'.
He had a wife, maybe more than one for all I know.
Still got a daughter, that's her over there at the end of the counter.
He won't let her work at night when he ain't here.
In fact, he don't want her workin here at all.
But I guess he'd rather have her here with him than someplace else.
"Will you get out of my way" he yells at the dishwasher who comes out from
the back to reload Vinny's stack of plates.
"I'm workin' here"
and that's just what he does. But he does it with style.



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