How about another piece of flash fiction this time?
LOSERS INTO WINNERS
When it came to people-watching, the Eastside Diner was a loser. It attracted a plebian crowd. One that was collegial, but stimulating neither intellectually nor physically. So I graced the place with my presence for the reason it was a winner: excellent fare at reasonable prices.
The décor seemed almost deliberately designed to downplay the expectations of one entering the premises for the first time. Old-fashioned cashier on a worn counter near the entrance. Spindly stools with cracked red leatherette seats. No more than a half-dozen tables scattered haphazardly around the small café.
But the aroma! I paused on the threshold to take in the stew of delicious odors. Beef and bacon and cheese. The whuff of an overhead fan, as soothing as white noise, pillowed pungent air against my face in comforting waves, dropping a hint of chili peppers and garlic and onions and softer, subtler flavors onto my tongue.
Today, my eye lasered in on a lone customer seated at one of the tables. Perhaps I had lucked out today. Definitely not one of the regulars. I acknowledged Mario, the Eastside’s owner, and asked for the usual while moving to a table nearest the intriguing stranger. I choose a chair so that we were neither eye-to-eye nor in profile, but rather faced one another obliquely, which gave me the best view of his features.
And what features they were. He was of a slender, athletic build; dark complexioned without being swarthy. He wore his black hair rather longish, so that it tended to curl at the top and around the collar. His face was smooth enough to be beautiful, yet sufficiently irregular to be sensual. And I far preferred outright sensuality to plastic beauty. The light shone off his broad forehead as he concentrated jade-green eyes on the paper he was reading.
A polo shirt, open at the collar, gave a glimpse of a torso I knew would be bronzed and firm. The discreet rise of a nipple set me to salivating as I imagined a pink crown centered in a rough brown aureole. His sideburns came to a point, reminding me of an impish child's that had never seen a razor. Yet he was twenty-two or -three…a male in his carnal prime.
His corded arms, gracefully formed, ended in long-fingered hands. The nails were clipped and appeared to be buffed. In fact, everything about him seemed buff.
He lifted his eyes and met mine briefly as he took a sip of his coffee. Moments later, he caught me watching him again.
Mario provided some cover when he delivered my meal of green chili chicken stew with a warm hard roll instead of the usual tortilla. He visited only a moment, and upon his departure, I snatched a look at my Adonis only to find the man gazing at me steadily. Quite willing to play the eye game, I returned the look until he finally broke the magic moment by glancing down at his paper again.
I finished my leisurely lunch, perfectly content to overdose on eye candy in lieu of a sugary sweet. As I finished my bowl, he took me by surprise and stood to walk over to my table. He leaned over me with one hand on the Formica top and the other on the back of my chair.
“Like what you see?” he asked.
“Immensely.” How droll. Why couldn’t I have come up with something witty? Debonair?
As he leaned in closer, his baritone dropped an octave. “Well, I hope you got a good look, because that’s all you’re ever going to get, queer.”
With that, he turned and stalked to the counter to pay his bill, totally unaware of the gift he’d just bestowed upon me. Now I had an image of a full basket, the sound of a hoarse voice that plucked my heartstrings, and the memory of a pair of tight, denim-encased buns to recall this evening in the privacy of my own bedroom as I was taking care of business.
Sometimes a man can convert Losers into Winners.
Someone reach out and let me know what you think about this little effort. Helps stir the blood a little.
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