Diner Delirium

My head hit the pillow with a soft poof.

“Where the fuck is my half-dark?!”

Those words rang through my ears, echoed through my skull, pecked away at my brain for hours on end. 1:00 AM… 2:00 AM… 3:00 AM… my alarm ticked, and all the while that Adderall-snorting cunt’s voice rang true:



We’d been slammed for what seemed like hours on end; a horde of famished hippies had shuffled their way to our friendly diner from the shitshow more commonly referred to as Summer Camp. Allow me to explain:

Summer Camp is a yearly music/drug festival that summons music/drug lovers abroad to Three Sister’s Park, a mere 2 minutes from Grecian Gardens Restaurant. Because ‘Campers’ believe purchasing the $10 parking fee is a temptation only the un-groovy yield to, they instead group together and march. Flocks of hallucinogen-fueled tweakers eminently arrive at our doorstep, clad in mud-caked sandals and enough tie-dye to trigger partial epilepsy. In their minds, they probably think they’re pilgrims journeying to Valhalla in psychedelic pursuit of a fucking Denver omelette. In our eyes, it’s a day of reckoning.

final hordeThe night before the event, the kitchen staff gets together and jokes amongst one another whilst preparing for the battle to come. We make fortifications of sorts by slaving away at prep work. Veggies are chopped, gravy is made, and bacon is half-fried, all made ready to go. A mere six hours later, we humble cooks are reawakened by the sun’s rising. Once again we return to our watchpost and tie on our aprons, waiting for the onslaught to begin.

“Where the fuck is my half-dark?!”

The question goes unanswered. I’m in the abyss. On a different plane of existence. In the fuckin’ stratosphere.

19 up. 20 up. 21 half-dark down, hash on deck.  22 up. Waiting on 23’s bacon. There we go: 23 up-

final order


My patience snaps. I look up to glaring eyes peaking above the counter of the ticket window. My hands suddenly stop their work.

It takes true audacity to order a fried chicken dinner at 9:00 AM just because you’re stoned. May I recommend a country skillet instead? Or an artery-clogging platter of biscuits n’ gravy? How about some toast made with love? Nope. You ordered a fried chicken dinner, you degenerate. Sorry; your ass is gonna have to wait.

“IT’S STILL DOWN!” I snap back.

The waitress huffs haughtily with frustration and returns to the diner floor to help satisfy the munchies of hippies galore. Not my problem, I scoff.


I return to my mundane plating duties. White noise washes over the teeming orchestration of the kitchen. If I were to look over my shoulder, I’d see short-order cooks darting about the kitchen, fetching supplies like worker ants in a colony. Further behind them to my left, my great-uncle slices and chops produce methodically, seemingly oblivious to the chaos that ensues around him. To my right, my father works the griddle; sweat dripping off his brow as he shouts out commands like a general rallying his troops.

But none of those sights and sounds matter to me right now. The shiny grease-soaked skin of the chicken bobs up from the bubbling vat of oil. 21 up.

I’m back in the zone, where the only thing that matters is the next ticket.