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She was the sort of ugly that seemed to be a mythic curse. Looking at her, you half expected frogs to fall out of her mouth, or serpent heads to peek from her hair. When she stood in a place and then moved on, she left behind a nimbus of smell, like the blue afterimage you see when you stare at the sun for too long. Your brain wanted this to be a smell like old garbage or something dead left out in the sun for too long, but it wasn't nearly as pleasant as those. Everything about her was grotesque, but it was her smile that would leave undeveloped nightmares in her wake.
She lingered her way into the truckstop, passing through each section like a bubble of scum floating aimlessly in a bathtub, and leaving as much of a wake. After casually seeing everything she finally settled herself in the diner. She stood in front of the booth furthest from the door, her arms crossed, just staring at the little man eating something brown. He paled as he looked up at her, words and flecks of food spilling from his mouth, “Goddess. Oh, goddess I knew this day would come, I knew you would come for me…”
He trailed off as she interrupted, “I haven’t come for you, you pathetic little worm.” Her voice was like oiled snakes and he visibly withered at her tone. “Leave. Go and continue your work. I will deal with you later.” He slipped out of the booth and scurried away, she took his place settling her doughy arms on the table in front of her.
“No fucking way.” Cherise was shaking her head vehemently, her lips pressed into thin lines. “That’s your table and your customer and there is no way in hell that I’m taking it for you.” Fat Mac stood in the kitchen, leaning on the windowsill that looked into the dining area and watched the waitresses argue. He looked again at the woman in the far booth, sitting with the self assurance of someone who truly knows her place in the universe.
“Please, Cherry. I’ve had a really rough night. I think I need to go home sick.” Eileen’s voice shook as she spoke, but it was the rising touch of hysteria at the end that decided him.
“You’ve had a rough night? Pfft. You want to hear about my night?”
“Shut up, the both of you.” Fat Mac pulled the stained apron over his head, “I’ll go take her order. Cook it too, and bring it to her when it’s done. Eileen, you go sit in the back for a while.” He laid a massive hand on her shoulder as he walked past. “You’ll be fine, girl. Just give yourself a little time.” True relief shone in her eyes, “Thanks, Mac.” She moved past him into the comfortable warm funk of the kitchen.
He walked over and stood in front of the woman’s booth. She looked him over as he approached and said as he stood there, “You could own this place if you wanted to, you know that don’t you?”
Fat Mac snorted with genuine amusement. “Lady Entropy. I don’t even own my farts. I just rent the food and return the gas to the world.”
Her eyes narrowed for a moment, studying his thick, sturdy features for any signs of mockery. He returned her stare with the bland patience of the practiced servant.
“Bring me food, slave.” She said, putting extra spin on the last word. “Something to my tastes, I understand that you know something about such things.”
“Right.” Fat Mac replied, turning on his heel and returning to the kitchen.
She templed her fingers and closed her eyes. She could feel the stirrings of this place, the slow and the fast, the important and the whimsical. All of them fed into her, as do all things and this pleased her. She felt him returning and opened her eyes.
Fat Mac held two plates, one piled high with a cheeseburger, fries, mushrooms and onion rings the other had a tall glass of some black, fizzing liquid . He placed the almost empty one in front of her and squeezed himself into the seat across from her, setting the other plate in front of himself.
“My lunch break. Hope you don’t mind.” The Lady looked at the glass of lightly fizzing blackness and noted the ice cubes. Fat Mac plucked the glass from the plate and said “Coke,” around a mouthful of burger.
She looked down at her empty plate, then back to him. “You’re an impertinent one, aren’t you?”
“I just don’t have much to lose. And what I do have, you’ll take eventually.” He shrugged. “So why are you here, anyways? Come to…” he waved a gathering of French fries toward the rest of the diner, “throw your weight around the place or something? Like all the others?”
She shook her head slowly, “No. My part in this is already done, I’ve come to be close when it all folds into itself, as it always does.”
Fat Mac ate his lunch, not saying anything more.