Key Lime Pie
The buzz of the fluorescent lights hummed behind the conversation. It was three A.M., and the group of writers were making their usual Wednesday night ruckus. The wait staff of Larry’s Diner didn’t mind the group. They were the only thing keeping the staff awake on such a slow night. Maribel leaned against the wall watching the group applaud each other. She stood next to her trainee Jenny who tried to imitate the full-figured woman by spending most of the night leaning. The sight was almost a before and after picture. Jenny was in her early thirties, barely wider than a broom. Her long black hair contrasted her stark white waitress getup. Maribel on the other hand was five years older and five times as large. Her hair, also black, didn’t contrast her uniform as much as the uniform was old, tattered, and not really white anymore.
It had been nearly half an hour since group arrived, Maribel motioned for Jenny to go check on the table. After all, Jenny was the new girl and what was the point in training someone if it didn’t mean you get to be lazy. As Jenny approached the table expecting to fill a round of coffee mugs, she was stopped by one of the men in the group leaping from his seat.
The man, Charlie, was a good looking, clean shaven, guy somewhere in his early forties. His dark brown hair classically parted on the side bounced as he hopped from one foot to the next. He turned slowly while he continued his hopping. “Jenny.” He paused leaning in towards the woman a bit. “Can we please get…” He stopped as the other six people at the table all leaned in and started drum rolls with their fingers on the table. “A key lime pie cut into seven pieces!” He finished his statement at a near shout and continued his odd hopping moving his arms up and down as if he was performing a bad dance.
Jenny laughed at the rambunctiousness of the group as she twisted between them to get their coffees refilled. Once she was done, she turned her back on the group and held up her red pen, “I’ll grab that pie for all you.” This was met with loud cheers that nearly shook the windows.
Jenny came back around the corner where Maribel was biting her lip and giving suggestive winks to Julio, the only overnight cook. The sight of Jenny had Julio retreating to the kitchen.
“You’ve been flirting with that guy for two nights straight, why don’t you just ask him out?” Jenny questioned as she opened the display case where the pies sat.
“He doesn’t speak English. I tried telling him he was hot, and I wanted to jump his bones, but it just kind of deteriorated into me trying to seduce him with elementary school stares and eyebrow raises.” The defeated waitress watched Jenny pull out a full, faded green pie. “They are getting a pie?” Maribel suddenly sounded interested.
“Yes, they we all kind of excited about it.” Jenny placed the tin on the counter and grabbed a knife, attempting to measure where to cut seven pieces. “Are they always that excited about pie?”
“They are a writers’ group. And they come here trying to write most of the time. But, when one of them sells something they wrote, they celebrate with pie. And they get real excited about pie.” Maribel kind of faded off as she turned around to see if Julio was back from the kitchen, “They almost never get pie though.”
Jenny grabbed the pie and the knife heading back to the table of writers. Maribel shrugged at Jenny’s apparent dedication to being a waitress and snuck off into the kitchen to harass the cook some more.
As Jenny approached the group they screamed, “Huzza! Pie!”
She nearly dropped the dessert from the sheer volume of the screams. She placed the pie on the table and took a deep breath to compose herself. She had hated herself for taking the job at the old diner, but now she felt like it may have been fate. “So, I didn’t cut it yet. Because if I cut seven pieces it won’t be even and at least one will be larger than the others.”
A little rat faced man in the group giggled, “I think someone just wants a piece of our pie.” The comment was received with rounds of laughter.
Charlie smiled and nodded at the rat man’s comment but looked at Jenny with true curiosity. “Well little lady? Are you hoping for a piece of pie?”
“I don’t want to impose, but I am a writer as well and was kind of hoping that I might see if I can be a part of your group?” Jenny cringed as she said the words feeling like a small child on a playground asking for friends.
The rat faced man, “Eight pieces of pie?”. The small girl next to him, “Eight pieces of pie…”. Charlie raised both hands to the sky, “Eight pieces of pie it is!”
The celebration continued and Jenny spent much of the night sitting with the table, getting up occasionally to check for other customers, the only one that showed up Maribel took care of.
Jenny was introduced to the table, names exchanged, contact info collected. Charlie was a bit older than the rest, but the best looking of the bunch. The rat faced man was Randy, the tiny blond next to him was Missy, his fiancé. Then there was Nina and Maria, two tall skinny, sexy, Puerto Rican women that Jenny was pretty sure were lovers. The other two at the table were a couple of young pudgy boys named Matt and Mark. Jenny was positive they were not lovers but seeing how close a friendship they had were probably teased about being lovers on a regular basis.
Jenny had pieced together that Randy had sold a script. It had something to do with a real estate agent falling in love with a walrus. She wanted to dismiss the idea, but if he sold it, then maybe there was something to it. The majority of the talk was about Randy and proud everyone was. There was a bit about what everyone was working on. But as the night came to an end and the sky outside the windows started to look like it may be changing from black to blue, they put a bit of focus on their newest member.
Matt leaned in with his hand on his forehead trying to keep alert. “Jenny, why are you working as a waitress?” Mark, also just as tired leaned back in his chair looking at the ceiling, “Right? If you are a writer, shouldn’t you be writing not waitressing?”
The group moved their focus to the girl. Jenny could feel her breathing speeding up. Her hands started to fidget. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were all so successful. I just like to write. I haven’t sold anything.”
Nina and Maria leaned over and bopped the boys on the head. “Don’t mind them, Jenny. None of us are successful yet.” Nina tried to sooth the girl with her kind words with a hint of a Latin accent. Maria chimed in, “Seriously, we are meeting at a low-end diner in the middle of the night on a Wednesday. Sharing a single pie eight ways. We aren’t exactly famous.”
Jenny bowed her head in relief and let out a little laugh. Randy reached across the table and patted Jenny on the hand. “I sold my script to a college student so they could do a final project for a film class they are in.” He squeezed her hand slightly, “I think the pie and coffee took twenty percent of my profits.”
Everyone laughed at the joke except Missy who elbowed her fiancé in the ribs so he would retract his hand from the pretty new girl. Charlie noticed the slight jealousy coming from Missy and swooped in.
He got up and rounded the table to Jenny where he took her by the hand and gave her a deep bow. “Welcome to the Writers of Larry’s”
She giggled at the man before her. “Wait, you named your group after the diner? That was the best a group of writers could come up with? Wow, maybe I should stick to waitressing.” She put on a thick sideways grimace for the last part.
Charlie looked up at the girl having some middle-aged knee issues trying to stand back up. “We were named by Allen Sidleson, thank you very much!”
Jenny suddenly was excited again, “The author of all those witch books?”
“Yep, he used to be in our group. And so did Debra Dvorak and Stan Cooperstein.” Charlie was now back to his feet with his chin raised high showing his pride in their little rag tag group of writers. “See, when one of us sells a script or book or poem we celebrate with pie. But our goal is for one day, all eight of us to be successful enough to move on to bigger and better things than this diner.
Mark shook himself awake, “But for now.”
The entire group cheered, “Pie!”
As the sun came up Jenny was done with work and walking out of the diner. Randy and Missy were close behind with Randy asking about whether or not she had a ride, if she would make an appearance next week, what type of writing she preferred. Missy was not amused by the infatuation of her fiancé. She held back and tapped Charlie on the shoulder motioning towards Randy and his oblivious flirting.
Charlie jogged up to Jenny and stole the conversation away from Randy. “Did you have fun?” he let the end of his sentence go up half an octave.
“I did. I did.” She was a bit embarrassed being a grown woman and excited about meeting strangers at a diner.
“So, why don’t you work on something to bring and show us all next week?” Charlie stopped to look Jenny in the eyes while he waved his hand to the side, giving his farewell to Randy and Missy.
Jenny paled a bit at the thought of presenting her work to the group. “Like you want me to bring some of my writing?”
“We are kind of a support group. We share, we recommend, we help each other out. We’ve all done it. And as long as it isn’t about the love of a Walrus, I think you are fine.” Charlie gave her a playful punch to the arm.
Jenny nodded. “Ok, but you think you can help me out and read some of my stuff first? You know, critique and stuff so I don’t look like a loser the first time I share with you all?”
“Of course. I’m free this afternoon.” Charlie let out a smile that said a little too much. Too much pride, too much excitement, just too much.
As the two walked down the sidewalk towards the public parking Maribel yelled out to Jenny, “You coming back tonight?”
Jenny spun around on her heels with a new excitement in her belly. “Yep. See you tonight at midnight. But I think I’ll be busy next Wednesday.