The Gross National Debt

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fridee Funnee


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Mo’s Place

I settled into my customary seat at Mo's Country Diner, Used Cars, Stump Removal, Friday Night Sushi Bar, Fresh Cut Bait Every Saturday Morning Emporium. Fats was already walking toward me with my usual order before the seat got warm.

The liars club was in full force already as evidenced by Fats having thrown her towel over shoulder. She only does that when it gets so deep that she has to wipe down the counter every few minutes to prevent what she calls a fertilizer buildup that would run off the other customers.

I don't know how many meals I've eaten there. My kids ate one of their first real meals there (not THE first). There's no telling how many gallons of iced tea, coffee and ice water I've downed, how many hamburger steaks and onions and fried chickens and ham & egg biscuits I've ingested. The parade of people who've walked, staggered, stumbled and sometimes crawled through those doors can't  be described.

Some of the holes in the naugahyde seats in the booths I created. I think my Grandpa created some of the holes when he was a young man. Mo refuses to have the seats recovered.

"Do you know how hard it is to kill a nauga these days? I went and killed and skinned enough naugas to cover the seats once and I ain't gonna do it again. I'd rather vote Reboobican," he says every time someone complains about the holes.

I can't swear to it, but I strongly suspect at least a few kids were conceived on those old seats during the lull between lunch and supper when Fats had to run out to get something and left a few customers in charge.

Each table has a pepper and salt shaker, ketchup bottle and hot sauce bottle. No matter how empty the Tobasco bottle appears, you can always shake one more drop out of it. Presumably the bottle does empty eventually because other Tobasco bottles scattered around the place hold toothpicks. Or maybe Mo ordered the bottles empty. I don't know.

Invariably someone will ask about the chicken feet glued to the top of the cash register. It's always someone new who asks "Why are there chicken feet on the cash register?"

"Because they fit!" the regular crowd roars.

"Because we ate the rest of the chicken for lunch," Mo says, pointing over his shoulder to the hand-written menu on the chalk board which always has "Fried Chicken" as a meat for lunch. The day Mo doesn't serve fried chicken at lunch the world will come to an end or Hillary Clinton will be elected president. Mo promises if this happens he's selling the place and moving to Iraq because it'll be safer.

"You let the Damnocrats take charge of this country and we'll be wishing we could ride in a handbasket," he says.

I still wonder about the bass Mo has mounted on one wall. A mounted bass on a wall in a business in South Georgia is not unusual. Bass mounted with a  fishing lure is not unusual. But a bass mounted on the wall with his fins posed to hold a really really small fishing lure with a cigarette at the end of the line, now that's different. Mo quit smoking years ago and about the same time the cigarette appeared on the end of the line. There's probably some metaphysical or existential connection there, but I don't want to know badly enough to ask Mo. I'd rather speculate.

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