Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Nighthawks" - Edward Hopper

Google "Nighthawks", check out the scene, really take it in, then read this.
Mac’s Place
She walked in later than usual.
“Hey, Mac.”
“Hey, Dollface.” She sure was a sight for swollen eyes.
“What’s the special?”
“Beef stew.”
“How about a cup of tea, honey on the side?”
“Whatever you say, Dollface.”
Mac glanced at the clock; almost 9:00 p.m.
“Which one is it?” Mac asked.
“You’ll know.”
She took a cigarette from Mac’s pack, lit it, inhaled, exhaled. She blew a smoke ring and put her finger in the middle of it until it dissipated. Mac watched her out the corner of his eye, moving his toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other.
They walked in.
One sat on the long side, alone. The other took the stool beside her.
“Well, hiya Red. Long day?”
“Sheila. Yes, it was.”
“Sheila. I’m Barry. That’s my twin brother, Joe.”
She turned in Joe’s direction and nodded. Joe tipped his hat.
“What’ll you have?” Mac asked.
“What’s the special?”
“Beef stew.”
“I’ll take a bowl. And a cup of hot coffee, black.” Barry said.
“Just coffee for me, thanks.” Joe said.
“Sure thing.”
“More tea, Sheila?”
“I’m good, Mac.”
“I bet you are, Red.” Barry said, giving her the once-over, twice.
Mac came around and poured Joe’s coffee.
“Thanks.” Joe lit up a cigarette.
“Sure thing.”
Mac brought Barry his stew, poured his coffee, spilled some on his sleeve.
“Sorry, pal.”
“Yeah, it’s OK, it was an accident.” Joe said, dabbing at the spill.
“Yeah, an accident.”
“So, Red,” Barry asked between spoonfuls of stew, “What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”
“What makes you think I’m a nice girl?”
“Well,” Barry said, then took the last bite of stew and wiped his mouth with a napkin. “I know a thing or two about women, and I feel deep, deep down inside that you’re a very nice girl.”
“How about that.”
“Yeah, how about that.”
Barry called out to Mac, “Great stew, by the way.”
“Thanks. Old family secret.”
“What’s the secret?”
“Well, if I told you, I’d have to kill you.”
“So Red…” Barry said, and then abruptly fell onto the tabletop.
Sheila put out her cigarette. Poked Barry. Felt for a pulse. Nothing.
“Is that it?” Joe asked.
“That’s it.” Mac said.
“You’ll take care of him?”
“Sure thing.”
Joe stubbed out his cigarette, walked over to Sheila, pulled an envelope out of his overcoat and handed it to her.
“Much obliged, Miss.” He tipped his hat, and nodded to Mac on the way out.
“Nice man.” Sheila said, and watched him walk down the street.
“OK, Mac, I’m leaving. You got this covered?”
“Sure thing, Dollface.”
Sheila opened the envelope and fanned the contents. She removed half and handed the other half to Mac.
“See you next Tuesday?”
“Whatever you say, Dollface.”
Sheila blew him a kiss and as she got to the door, she turned back to Mac.
“Mac, what’s the special going to be?”
“Beef stew. Extra beef.”

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