Bobby's three butts

He stayed on the stool well past the factory whistle. He'd already eaten one of Tillie's omelettes and smoked three Winstons. She made them thin with three slices of american cheese and buttered the white toast herself, using two patties each piece. That was one of the reasons her customers jammed into the place every morning with people coming over from Helprin as well. She ran one of the few cafes in the state where you could still smoke. Check that: it was illegal but Tillie placed ashtrays by all the napkin dispensers and fuck off to anybody that didn't like it. The Sheriff sometimes unwrapped one of his Havanas and would make a big production in lighting it, just to prove a point. Tillie dipped Skol herself and carried around a little cup for her spit-out. The cup was basically glued to her hand.

"Your cat died or what?" she asked Bobby.

"Naw, Listen. Could you get me two eggs over easy with another order of toast and jelly."

"Whistle blew. You hear it?" She spat.

"Yeah, I heard it." Bobby picked his three butts out of the ashtray and for some reason, absentmindedly or not, arranged them on his saucer around the coffee cup.

"Wait," Tillie said. "I need to get my Sure Shot out. We may just have something there."

She took her little camera from under the counter beside the donut case and pointed it at Bobby's cup and saucer.


"That should be a nice one. I'm going to call it "Bobby's three butts."

"No everybody would think of taking a picture like that," Bobby said.

"Not everybody. So, what? You on the lam? Got the influenza A?"

"I got Iron Cage is what I got. Max goddamn Weber is who informed me of my affliction. With the increased rationalization inherent in our social life, particularly in this town's capitalist factory society, I finished my omelette and said to myself, fuck this goddamn shit. I mean, just fuck it to goddamn hell. I'm having two more eggs."

Tillie spat. "Can't argue with that. Two over easy coming right up."