The Dirty Cup

Poindexter had played with the girls too long. That resulted in his having to ride his Indian all night, cutting an eastbound path along US 78 like he’s stolen it. In spite of his effort five hundred miles still lay ahead and he was only hours short of being AWOL.

Exhausted, the morning sun had just peeked over the horizon. His blinking became a conscious effort. He mustered every ounce of his strength in order to keep his eyes from slamming shut and staying closed.

Ahead, on the right hand side he spotted a Chevron sign and beneath it a red neon flashing the word CAFE. Rolling the throttle grip back, he let his machine decelerate and when he reached the drive he wheeled to the pump closest to the service station office and cut the engine. Inside, behind the café counter stood a middle-aged man with bushy hair, a gray beard and wearing a towel that served as a makeshift apron.

Poin, as he friends called him, stayed on his Indian and waited. But the man behind the counter made no move toward the door. Poin dismounted, Without removing his leather gloves, he pushed the door open

“Is this self-service, or what?” he asked.

“Ain’t got no gas.”

Something in the man’s manner told him it wasn’t true. Poin was in no mood for games, so he let his urge to use his drill instructor voice pass. Instead, he stepped through and perched on a stool.

“Since I’ve gone to trouble to stop here, fix me a plate of ham and eggs over medium, grits, and toast.”

“Ain’t got the grill turned on yet.”

“The sign says you do,” growled Poin.

“Well, it ain’t.”

“You got any coffee?”

“I got coffee.” Returning from the kitchen he sat the heavy white mug on the counter. “Cream?”

“This coffee’s cold. Hell, the cup’s dirty. What the hell, you got something against marines?”

“I don’t like service people. You’re all a bunch of hired killers.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“I’m a marine.”

“Why are you telling me that?”

“Because I want you to remember who beat the crap out of this on this sunny Alabama morning,” Poin barked, using his drill instructor voice. Then he vaulted the counter and split the cook’s lip open with a heavy white mug. The next swing broke two teeth off at the gum.

Poin vaulted back over the counter. In one quick motion he had the Indian running. Knowing the man would send the police after him as soon as he could talk, he sped east, and then headed north. He stopped for gas and a Coke an hour north of US 78.

He wasn’t sleepy anymore. Good thing, because he’d wasted a lot of time with that bozo with the dirty cup.

Now he had one more reason to dislike service people.

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