Hail beat against the aged glass. The sound reminded Liam of half-forgotten memories of a place far, far away from this primitive planet and their primitive people. A place he didn't want to remember.
Playing with the salt shaker, he surveyed the diner, taking in the small restaurant that had become a home for him. Cantalen's Diner was one of those one of a kind, old-fashion restaurants that you only found in small towns or large tourist attractions. The walls were riddled with vintage posters from the fifties and large records were used as place mats at every table. He was in here almost every hour of the day, save for the times he had taken to exploring the small town of Mansford.
The staff had first thought his appearance strange, but had quickly gotten use to him. A happy customer made for a good pay check. Yet, on this Sunday night, none of the regular waiters and waitresses were in. Instead, a new face greeted him when he sat down, her name tag reading, "Gwen".
“If this was your fiftieth time in a diner this week, what would you order?” he said.
The waitress blinked, a curious look settling over her homely face. A short, plump woman with peroxide blonde hair and a permanent stick of bubble gum in her mouth, Gwen Harper had seen her fair share of weirdos at Cantalen's Diner and Pit Stop. Still, that didn't stop her from being surprised by the boy's question.
Liam waited for her response, his hands trailing the battered menu. Whoever made it, Cantalen he supposed, had tried to make it appear fancy, like what one saw in upscale restaurants. It was a soft orange and words appeared to be handwritten by hand to give the reader the "homemade" feel. It worked. He sniffed it, frowning when the smell of old ink and grease filled his nose. Gwen gaped, but Liam continued his examination. On the fifth day of his arrival, the menu had become so familiar to him, he was sure he could list every item from memory.
A cough startled him out of his thoughts to discover the waitress looking at him as if he were an interesting science project.
"Well?" he said raising an eyebrow. The woman had not answered his question.
Gwen stuttered to reply as large brown eyes bore holes into her. "Have you tried the peach cobbler?"
"Five times." He flicked through the menu.
"Homemade jammers?" she asked, referring to the roll of bread stuffed with whatever fruit they had lying around at the time.
"They tasted like old socks."
"A mushroom swiss burger?"
"I hate swiss." He could see her becoming frustrated, and a slight chill ran through him. Someone was paying attention to him, acknowledging him.
She popped her hip. "Boy, do you like anything?"
Liam paused at the question. Did he like anything? It was hard to tell. Too soon to adjust to this strange planet and their strange customs. "I like apples," he decided.
She matched his haughty expression. "We're out." The boy looked crestfallen, eyes watering and a quiver in his lip appearing. Alarm spread across the waitress' face. Sucking in air, she applied a smile to her cracked lips. "How 'bout I make you some eggs?"
The boy's face lit up. "Eggs? Sure." He paused, a thought occuring to him. "Where do eggs come from, anyway?"
Gwen blinked at the boy's apparent confusion. "Eggs? The stuff that comes outta chickens?" She flapped her arms for emphasis. The boy continued to stare. Just as she was about to try another gesture, a loud snicker interrupted her. Pete, the chef, was at the counter, wearing his customary smirk. Gwen's face burned as she realized he must have been watching them the entire time.
She looks like an unattractive lady bug. Liam observed the woman who had been making ludicrous hand gestures at him. Must be a human greeting. He pantomimed her and Pete laughed. Liam took his laughter for approval and smiled, while Gwen looked like she could crawl under a rock.
Gripping the side of the table, she said, "I'll just go place an order right now." She scurried off to the kitchen.
Liam stared after her before returning to his menu, content to just re-read the booklet over and over again. Human writing was so strange...
A pleasent smell filled the air and he breathed in deeply. So wrapped up in his thoughts and wonders of this world, he didn't notice the figure at the door.
Activity stopped. Liam looked up, wondering who else would be walking around in the middle of a hail storm. Gwen's humming could be heard through the thick silence.