Third week without Edna… Holding so much at arms length… Well, life had to go on. I kept telling myself that.

Last week, four salesmorons tried twice to gang-rape me (Delores’ words). That was so scary. I… even one of them would be really hard for me to stop. But four… Like I wrote last entry… Why were they so intent on crushing me like that? And they just didn’t care that was the net result of what they wanted to take… That’s just… wrong…

Well, starting this third week, I started doing a little scouting, I guess. I started watching if a man came in by himself, or two men. I had plenty of experience with salesmorons, but I guess I realized that I had to keep a better eye out on what was going on at the Diner during the day. Those four salesmorons that had attacked me; they knew what kind if day I was having at the Diner. Out of sheer desperation maybe, I started watching a little more carefully. I realized I had to do this as I walked to work monday at the start of that week. Of course, I said quietly to myself “oh yeah, just throw another log on the pile…” I felt pretty stretched as it was. But… These vile men just wanted to take what nobody could give me back. I couldn’t just turn a deaf ear to that. I had to be more careful. I had to watch and listen just a little better. I would just as soon throw up rather than even tell these men what time it was. But they were customers. I had to treat them with a certain amount of respect, even if all they could think of was getting me in bed… Maybe Edna had taught me that. She hated salesmorons too, and knew their schemes, although I am not sure how. She was 98 when she passed away weeks ago. (Sorry, I stopped and cried a while. That is still a fresh wound for me. I lost the only mom I could remember…)

Of course, I forgot this mostly when I got the Diner opened, and people streamed in the front door, and the lunch rush hit. I just kept everything at arm’s length, and tried to make people feel t’home. Edna did teach me that.

In the middle of the afternoon, a salesmoron did come in. Well, so did Delores and her husband. And I took some time to visit with Delores. The salesmoron sat in the booth next to them. I got up and took his order. A few other people came in, and I took their orders too. I knew the guy next to Delores’ booth was a salesmoron, but I guess I forgot my discussion with myself from this morning. But his meal was up, and so I gathered it all and took it over to him. I asked him if I could get him anything else. He said no, then he got up abruptly from the booth, which put him right next to me. I was immediately uncomfortable, and started to back away. He cupped one of his hands, and ran it slowly across my chest…

I was… Seriously? I didn’t know what to do, so I just screamed, and started crying. Well, Delores’ husband… He can’t walk very fast, but he is big and strong. He got quickly up, and grabbed that salesmoron’s arm tightly. Delores’ husband said menacingly “Don’t move, buddy.” Well, that salesmoron couldn’t anyway.

I was still crying, and Delores led me into the kitchen, and asked me what happened. She frowned when I was done. “Maude, he groped you… Some men can’t feel what they want so they take it… Vile slime…” Delores took out her cell phone and called the Sheriff, and he was over in just a few minutes. Delores took me back out as the Sheriff arrived. I followed Delores back to her table, and the vile salesmoron was still standing there in Delore’s husband’s tight grip.

Sheriff said loudly “Maude, is this the guy?” I just nodded. The Sheriff grabbed his arm, and Delores’ husband let go. The Sheriff maybe dragged him out into the parking lot and was yelling at that moron, I could even hear that inside.

But I was still crying. “Delores, I feel… dirty… I just want to go home and take a shower or something…” I said this softly to Delores.

“Maude… Most women either don’t understand or realize what happens, or they just ignore it maybe. Men that do this count on that and just keep doing what they do. There is nothing that can be done to stop them, except what the Sheriff is doing, trying to scare some sense into him… He will get away, probably never come back, but go somewhere else, and do that again to other women… Disgusting…”

Well, I had to get back to work. And Delores and her husband were late for an appointment, and I felt bad. But I tried from that point on to keep a better eye on what was going on around me. I absolutely needed to keep more distance between me and these vile men… I somehow survived the rest of that day… Just something else to push out there at arm’s length… And yes, when I got home, I took a shower. And no, it didn’t stop me from feeling abused, dirty inside. It would take a while for that to wear off…

Tuesday and wednesday are our slow days, and both days wandered along fairly calmly. Thursday, the cook reminded me about the upcoming ‘christmas vacation’ he called it. Christmas and new years, this weekend and next weekend, and he and his wife were visiting relatives. They would be gone the whole time. He said I should put a sign up or something. Well, ok, so I would get a bunch of time off… to sit at home and realize that I was… But he was right. The Diner could function because our cook made good food for people to eat. With no cook, we couldn’t open. There was nothing we could do. I realized he probably needed the break. I just wished there was more at Edna’s house, now my house, than bad memories…

I did make a sign about us closing. The cook gave me the exact dates, and I taped one sign on the front door, and put another one on the table next to the cash register, so people would see it when they came up to pay. Most weren’t real happy. Some thought I would really enjoy the break. I said nothing, but doubted that. Working at the Diner, to help Edna, that was my life. With Edna gone, I was going through the motions for no other apparent reason…

Still, that friday was the last day the Diner would be open for over a week, until a week from this coming monday. Things seemed slower than usual for a friday though. The cook felt most people were on their way home to be with family. That usually happened this time of year, he said. That just made me want to cry. The only family I ever knew was Edna, and she was gone… And then, I realized that I had not seen a single salesmoron since wednesday. I guess they were at home with their families too. That all just seemed so unfair… They would go home to their families, then when they were on the road, they did everything they could to make my life miserable, and take… That made me want to go home and cry too.

Soon enough, the cook was cleaned up and ready to go. He gave me a big bag. “Maude, there are a bunch of cooked burgers and some buns in this bag. Put the burger patties in the freezer, and the buns in your frig. Then use the microwave to heat them up when you get hungry.” Then he said goodbye, and was gone. I still had cleaning to do. Tomorrow was christmas eve, whatever that is, when everyone else was with family. I was here at the Diner, with no family, and constantly fighting piranha salesmorons trying to take away what I could never get back… I didn’t even wait until I got home to start crying that night…

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1. Maude: Beginnings is copyright 2017 by Shysage.

 

 

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