Friday Fictioneers: At the Diner

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is starting us Friday Fictioneers off with a quiet photo looking at trees through the window of a restaurant (got to be a restaurant, nobody else has those glass jars to pour sugar out of), an ordinary moment of today’s world to inspire our next 100-word snippets of fiction.

But what about someone who doesn’t quite fit into today’s world? I started wondering what a modern dryad could do –

At the Diner

“The cheeseburger special. Only no fries. I want a baked potato. And no cheese.”

“Pickle okay?” Phoebe’s feet hurt. Her hair’s slipping, a green lock drooping over her left eye.

“Hey, green girl! You gonna bring that coffee?”

“Right away, hon!”

Snatch up the coffee pot, fill cups for the truckers at Table 3. Dodge a pat on the rear. Plates for Table 6.

“Don’t know why you color your hair green,” Dani mutters.

“They remember me. Better tips.”

“More gropes. I’m gonna get out of this excuse for a town soon.”

“My roots are here.” She glances out at the trees, smiling.

* * *

Please tell me what you think of this story!

25 responses to “Friday Fictioneers: At the Diner

  1. I didn’t know anything about Dryad until now. It’s always nice to learn something new.
    A very interesting and different take on the prompt.
    I like the last line – “I have my roots here” and the way she says it.
    Good work. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Sharon,
    As a tree hugger, I really like your story. Great last line. I hope she plants herself in a better place. Ron

  3. is she a dryad ? I liked the story…. and I have to admit while never pinching a waitress, if a young waitress smiles a bit her tip is certainly larger.

  4. A dryad in a cafe, that would certainly make me tip. Very good.

  5. The last two lines are winners. Green hair will certainly get her noticed and noticed + good service + friendly banter = good tips.

    • Thank you! As for better tips – it looks like a semirural area judging by the photo – not many people means not a whole lot of different restaurants means lots of repeat customers, so being memorable will help more than it might in areas where people can keep trying out different places to eat.

      (I admit I’m not exactly sure what a dryad needs money for, but maybe she’s just using her tips to keep score of how good a waitress she is.)

  6. That’s a novel take on the prompt and nicely done too. Full mark for originality.

  7. Hi Sharon,
    Good thing you gave us the intro. Having grown up folding napkins and filling condiments in my dad’s restaurant, I’d say you captured the sights and sounds. And I loved the last line…”My roots are here.” Hahahahahahahah!

    • After reading through the finished piece, I felt it was too unclear without the intro – even if that was cheating! (It does make it a less successful story, I’d say, since it can’t stand on its own.)

      I haven’t worked in a diner, but I’ve spent plenty of time in them – I think there’s a law requiring diner waitresses to call customers “hon”. And there’s always the customer who wants to tweak their order, and the table full of guys wanting attention. (Actually, the “cheeseburger special” customer was based on someone I overheard ordering a large, elaborate breakfast special, then telling their waitress to take this off and take that off until they were left with nothing but a scrambled egg. I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t just order the egg to start with – it would be cheaper!)

      I’m so glad you like the “roots” line. It’s one of those sentences that pop up from nowhere and refuse to leave – I love it myself.

  8. I was confused until I looked up dryad and it all made sense…right to the last line. The cheeseburger bit and your explanation above reminded me of that wonderful booth scene in the classic film titled “Diner” .. Nice work.

  9. It is difficult to get a lot in 100 words, but I liked yours. I wondered about the tree roots and the “roots” of her hair. Could be something longer brewing here.

    • Thanks! As for her hair – really green, right down to the roots. And of course “her” tree is somewhere in those woods!

      This didn’t start out intending to be part of a longer story – but I’m planning out the details to expand on a story I wrote a couple of weeks ago in which a modern guy and an ancient Greek swap places. Maybe the Greek will run into her during his twenty-first century adventures. 😉

  10. I loved that last line: understated but still clear. The paragraph with her step-by-step inner instructions was also great. I could see her moving through the diner with that one. Nice!

  11. I love mythology and it is wonderfully how you worked it into this piece. The roots idea was fantastic.

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