“Hot or mad?”
“Excuse me?” I replied. The boy behind the counter at Cozy Corner serving lunch couldn’t have been more than 10, maybe even 8 judging by his height. He had lighter skin than the man of 30 or so, who was a deep brown, also behind the counter, but they had the same jaw line and smile.
“Hot or mad?” Oh. I get it.
“Mild, please.” Last night’s chicken from Gus’s had ripped through me earlier in the morning, yet I was willing to have a little of the hair of the dog for my sliced pork sandwich, served with slaw already on it. The sign by the dining area said, “This section for self-service only,” and a computer print-out sheet over the arch leading to the section announced to all customers who were gearing for a fight, “The only one who’s right all the time is Jesus…” There was no AC, just ceiling fans circling lazily.
He punched in numbers to his register like he’d been doing it since sippy cups at age 4 and then processed my credit card – “debit or credit?” – this kid didn’t miss a beat. As the machine started to spew my receipt, the boy looked up at me and said, “You ready to write?”
My receipt came out and he placed it on the counter in front of me. Then he plopped down a purple pen that was nine inches long and about an inch thick, and his face remained stoic, staring at me. I let out a belly laugh.
“Good thing my bill wasn’t as big as this pen!”
“You wanna snake with your meal?”
The lady behind the counter at Famiglia Pizza in the Memphis airport queried me as she rung up my cheese pizza and bottled water.
“Excuse me?” Seemed to be my favorite saying today.
“A snake.” She motioned over to the muffins, cookies, and fresh fruit to the right of the register. Oh. I get it. Snack.
“Sure. I’ll have a banana.”
“Where are you headed?” the flight attendant asked the couple across the aisle from me.
” ‘Crowshay’ Mountain.” Spelled Crochet.
“I grew up in New Hampshire,” she said with a smile. “We call that ‘crotchitt’ mountain.”