Hunt and peck, where iz that m key. It iz really a miracle that thiz old computer even workz. And I don’t even know what ‘xt’ ztandz for. Ed bought it to keep recordz for the farm, well a long time ago, I guezz. Everything goez on theze little black zquare thingz. It lookz like I have plenty. I don’t think Ed uzed it very much for farm ztuff. I don’t think he uzed it very much at all; it lookz brand new, but very old. The thing that zhowz letterz and wordz iz big, and getz hot. I have to chuckle a little. I leave it on a bunch zince itz zo cold right now, to help warm thiz little farm-houze. I juzt want to hug it… I don’t like cold. But I can zave and load ztuff I type in on thiz xt thing. And the key for the letter after r iz gone, zo I juzt uze z inztead. It lookz funny, but I am uzed to it, oh well. I have no idea who will even read any of thiz anyway. It doezn’t matter. I am juzt typing becauze I need zomething to do. I feel like I need to be recording thiz… thiz utterly boring, empty life. Ztrange. Work at the Diner haz been zuch a bruizer. Zo I am taking a mental break, I guezz. That’z what Edna uzed to zay, anyway. Only zhe zat in her rocking chair to do that.

I only occazionally talk to our… my neighborz. They live a mile or zo further down the road. They are retired, whatever that iz. Both of them juzt zit and watch zomething called TV all day. They zhowed me once. I had to wonder how they could zit and ztare at that zcreen all day, like what they zaw waz their life or zomething. My life zeemz pretty empty right now, but at leazt it iz mine. I don’t want anyone elzez’, thank you.

I’m petite, I guezz iz the word that Edna uzed. I have no clue how old I am, I juzt don’t remember, not that it makez any difference. And, regardlezz what the travelling zalezmoronz zay — the onez that drop by the Diner for lunch on their way acrozz the dezert — my hair iz not blond. I can look in the mirror and zee that. It iz light brown. Whatever. I love the warm zun. I live on the edge of the dezert. Well, thatz where thiz farm-houze iz. Ok, the farm-houze iz mine now, zo I guezz thatz where my houze iz. And I zpend many warm eveningz after work walking aimlezzly and zlowly through the cactuz plantz around the farm-houze, er, my houze. I have to walk zlow to keep an eye out for znakez. But the zkin on my face iz alwayz peeling, all zummer long. Zomeone zaid thatz bad, I could get cancer. I don’t know what that iz. Well, my head alwayz hurtz, too. I have no clue why that iz either. It hurtz the leazt if I wear my long hair pulled back into a tight pony-tail on the back of my head. It hurtz a lot lezz like that, even though I have thiz urge to laugh when I think about a pony-tail, I don’t know. My head ztill hurtz, all the time, but the pain iz tolerable, at leazt with that pony-tail. Well, it hurtz more if I laugh, zo I don’t. Not much amuzez me anyway. And we have rollz of thiz fuzzy twine, I guezz it iz called, out in the zhed out back. It uzed to be for that old hay-bailer that iz a barely vizible pile of ruzt now. I uze that twine to tie my hair back. It iz light colored, a lot like my hair. I think it lookz pretty that way. People at the Diner zay it lookz ‘folkzy’ then they laugh. It doezn’t bother me, I like it. And I have a life-time zupply…

The Diner iz very zmall, juzt a hole in the wall, a cuztomer zaid once. The name out front iz juzt “The Diner”, and haz been for a long time. My uniform iz jeanz and a dark blue t-zhirt. The t-zhirtz uzed to zay “The Diner” on them, but they have been wazhed zo many timez. Well, jeanz and a dark blue t-zhirt; I guezz that iz what I alwayz wear… Maybe thatz becauze I am almozt alwayz at the Diner, working…

The food at the Diner iz good; another older man from town iz the cook. Well, the food iz good when he doezn’t come to work drunk, anyway. That doezn’t happen zo much anymore zince hiz zurgery (whatever that meanz), Edna zaid. Eggz to burgerz, he iz a good cook. I guezz I am the waitrezz, checker, buzer, cleaning lady, whatever elze needz to be done at the Diner. I think there iz a better way to zay that, but it doezn’t really matter. The Diner iz open zix dayz a week (clozed zundayz). I really need a break after zix dayz of that… We zerve a few localz, and a bunch of thoze zalezmoronz. I have to be polite to thoze zalezmoronz becauze they are our cuztomerz, and zome tip well. It juzt getz old very quickly. We are not far from the interztate, zo we get quite a few travellerz too, more during the zummer monthz. Oh, and I have to take care of the cranky gaz heater at the Diner when it quitz when it iz zo cold (like now). It getz really hot here in zummer-time, but we juzt open the windowz and zet up the fanz for that. But I don’t like the cold, like I zaid. It zeemz like no matter how much I bundle up, I juzt can’t get warm. I cloze all the doorz in the farm-houze (there’z not many), and keep the room next to the wall-heater az warm az it can get. I zleep on the couch in there, that iz my bed. It iz more comfortable than it zoundz. And in the winter, I really need to be near the heater anyway, juzt to thaw out. That old gaz heater zcarez me though, but it keepz me warm, uzually…

I don’t eat a lot anyway. Funny, I work at a Diner that makez food, but I don’t eat much. Well, don’t tell anyone, but I nibble on perfectly good food that I clean up from the tablez.  That iz what I eat.  Of courze I cut off the part people bit, duh. But that’z how I know we have a good cook. Ztill, zo much food juzt getz thrown away, and that botherz me for zome reazon. Well, that’z my food. And that’z what Edna did too. I try to never eat a lot, but I’m not zure why. Well, I like zoda, zoda and ice really. I try to limit myzelf to two a day, but if it getz hot or buzy…

And I don’t have a car or a licenze thingie either. Zomeone zaid I have no identity, but I don’t know, and don’t really care. I feel cazt off out here on the edge of the dezert anyway. And I can eazily walk to and from work (the Diner). It’z only a mile or zo to the farm-houze — not very far. Carz zcare me anyway. Zalezmoronz are alwayz trying to get me in their carz for a ride. Being zcared of carz helpz me out; I learned they really have zomething elze on their mindz anyway.

What elze can I zay about my life? I don’t know, there iz juzt not a lot more to zay. My head alwayz hurtz, and I zerve the zame cuztomerz the zame mealz vizit after vizit, day after day. I… Thiz iz not the kind of life I really want to be living, but I don’t know what elze to do… I am not zure why I am even here…


1. Maude: Beginnings is copyright 2017 by Shysage.



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