“You’ll never believe who I saw at the Register of Deeds yesterday afternoon.” Edith tossed her purse on the red vinyl booth across the table from Minnie before she scooted into the seat.
Minnie waved to their favorite waitress, Rachel, who balanced a tray of the daily specials and a half--‐‑empty pot of decaf coffee. She acknowledged them with a nod and headed toward the rear of the dining room. The rest of the diner held the usual bunch of early lunchers, reminiscing with their cohorts on the morning news, the chance of an early frost, and the state of affairs at the
zoning commission. Years of baked--‐‑on grease permeated the air and accounted for the signature flavor of the scrambled eggs.
Edith smoothed down her more‐‑salt‐‑than--pepper coiffure and reached for the specials card clipped to the jellies. “I didn’t think he’d ever set foot in Carterville again.”
“Who?” Minnie asked, already knowing the name that would spill from Edith’s lips.
Edith slapped the menu down on the table. Her eyes slid both ways, then she leaned across the table. “Gordon Anderson.” She raised her eyebrows conspiratorially.
“I had hoped he wouldn’t.” Her stomach roiled. He’d been here sixteen hours and already she was jumping out of her skin at every sound, expecting him to appear whenever she turned her back. She attributed it to loathing, but it felt like a high school crush.
Rachel arrived at their table and flipped their sturdy brown coffee mugs over. “Just decaf today, ladies, or half‐‑and--half?” She held the orange--rimmed carafe poised over Minnie’s cup.
“It’s a half‐‑and--half day,” Edith said. “Any day Gordon Anderson comes to town requires a dose of caffeine.”
Minnie snorted. “It requires Jack Daniel’s, but it’s a little too early in the day.”