By Mort Laitner

Sunday morning, 11:00, I walked into my neighborhood Waffle House—“Home to Good Food, Good Value, Friendly and Reliable Service.” I had known this statement to be true from years of eating there and because the menu said so. I thought,”How humble: not great food but only good food.”

I greeted the staff by name. They responded with a choir of smiles. Wry smiles that said,    “Working at the Waffle had not been my life choice.”

 But Sunday mornings at “WH” was my choice.

My chosen house of food. My Church-of-Watching-Sinners who crept into their pews after wild Saturday nights filled with debauchery. Their Saturday night reality shows in which the actors prayed that neither G-d nor the Devil was a member of their viewing audiences.

Transgressors who found communion with juice and toast. Their bloodshot eyes, dilated and  hellishly inflamed, blessed the Almighty for the money resting in their wallets. The money that was going to pay for this good food and reliable service.

I fell onto a stool, positioning myself next to a table where two attractive white ladies sat. They were in their mid-thirties. In this eating establishment, they were eye candy. To my sixty-something eyes they were hot. I felt like that kid in the candy store unable to take my eyes off of them. But I did not want to be rude or obnoxious so I focused on my nose. They smelled like Republicans—that odor of self-righteousness mixed with Dial soap and three sprays of Charlie. On a scale of 1 to 5, I rated each of them four Melanias. Proving  my obsession with the presidential election of 2016 was way out of control.

The gals were not Sunday regulars. In fact, I had never seen them before. Both of them wore their Sunday best—white dresses covered in yellow and red flowers, gold wedding bands that kissed diamond engagement rings, a single string of white Mallorcan pearls and three inch  high white pumps. The pearls refreshed my lost memories of  June Cleaver, my early desires for Barbara Billingsley and my love of the “Beaver”.

With their perfectly painted red lips and their celestial noses, these gals belonged in a country club ordering apple pecan salads, not in the house of scattered, smothered and covered hashbrowns and Texas Bacon Patty Melts. They were slumming.

Each dress was cut to show an extra inch of cleavage. I thought, “That inch would get them a little more male attention in church. Something at their age they most likely cherished and craved.” Two questions popped into my mind, “Are they sisters? and “Where were the rest of their families?” My answer to the second question: in the country club having brunch.

Being so absorbed with the appearance of these ladies, I failed to capture that my waitress had placed a steaming hot, black cup of coffee before me. I studied the darkness floating in a pool of white porcelain, as the jukebox played and Connie Francis ominously sang her 1958 hit “Who’s Sorry Now”.

Tipping the cup, I sipped my Sweet’n Low saturated caffeine fix. My lips, throat and stomach relished the warmth. A blend of coffee and bacon infused the air. As I inhaled, my nostrils captured and held onto the odor. My stomach sent a message to my brain—pecan waffle with a side of bacon, smothered sautéed onion hashbrowns and a cold glass of Minute Maid orange juice. My mouth then ordered my meal.

I watched as both of the church-going ladies ate her All-Star Specials. When redhead started talking politics. My politically-obsessed ears honed in on their conversation. I eavesdropped.

Redhead: Edith, my husband wants me to vote for Trump but I’m in a quandary. I keep waffling between the two candidates. No pun intended. He’s putting some serious pressure on me.

Blonde: Why hon? That should be one of the easiest decisions of your life. You always vote Republican. What kind of pressure?

Redhead: Ethel, he says he won’t talk to me for two weeks if I vote for Hillary. That maybe a blessing in disguise. But here is what’s bothering me. You know the boys love watching the news; I’m not sure Donald is such a good role model. They started cursing around the house after they heard Trump do it in front of  those large crowds.

Blonde: I love the way Donald speaks and does those cute little hand gestures. He has audiences eating out of the palms of those hands. He just uses dirty words to get his point across to his fans.

Redhead: What point is that?

Blonde: The point is Trump hates political correctness. Just like us. When he becomes president he’ll stop cursing in public. He’ll be just like our preacher during his Sunday sermons. Not a foul word ever leaves his lips.

Redhead: Well my boys giggled all around the house for two weeks after Trump talked about blood coming out of Megyn Kelly’s “wherever”. I was afraid to say “blood” or “wherever” because they busted out laughing. In CVS, my boys pointed their index fingers at female hygienic supplies and called out, “Look at those Megyns”. They love to embarrass me. I know my kids are a bit immature but I think Donald has got them laughing at women. I think Donald has the maturity level of a thirteen-year old. He is about as humble as a peacock in heat.

I held back a titter as I pictured a peacock in heat having sex with the Donald.

As she poured syrup on her waffles, Lucy thought. “Do I tell her about William’s collection of naked pictures of Melania on his Pinterest account. She may blab about those pics to all the members of our congregation. I better keep my trap shut.”

Blonde: That’s pretty funny calling Tampax and Kotex “Megyns”. I’ve got to remember that one. Fred will crack up.

Redhead: John says the “F” word and the “S” word so often that I getting tired of threatening to send him to military school. He says, ‘Mom, if the Republican nominee for President of the United States of America says those words in public then he can blurt them out around our house.’

Blonde: You know Donald’s parents sent him to military school because he was such a wise ass. Look at the great job that school did transforming him.

Redhead: Ethel, now your pulling my leg.

Blonde: Lucy, I’m dead serious. Remember boys will be boys. They got to start cursing sometime in their lives. At least their learning how to do it from a guy who is running for president and not in some alley or out behind the bleachers from the mouth of a juvenile delinquent.

Lucy laughed out loud.

I bit my tongue and wondered, “How much would I pay to see this act on Broadway.”

Blonde: Fred and I are both voting for him. He is a billionaire businessman. He’ll take Washington spin it on its head and turn this economy around. The other countries in the world will fear us. You know that fear leads to respect?

Redhead: Did you or the Donald say that?

Blonde: I think he said it first. But I’m not sure.

Redhead: My boys are talking about enlisting in the army when they graduate from high school—just like their dad did. I’m not that sure I want them fighting in any new wars.

Lucy sipped her coffee and thought about lying to her husband. She had done it before. She had gotten away with it. He would never know who she voted for. Yes on the most holy of days of the week, an hour after she had left the church, she had made up her mind. She was voting for Hillary.

Blonde: Trump is the guy you got to vote for. Other countries will be to afraid to attack us because they’ll know he’ll nuke them. He won’t put up with any of their crap. He’ll bomb first and ask questions later. That’s the kind of leader we need!

With a Mona Lisa smile, Lucy nodded her head in an affirmative fashion knowing she had already made up her mind.

I finished the last bite of my waffle. Looked into my empty coffee cup. All I saw was white porcelain. I left a tip on the table. And after paying the tab, said good-bye to the staff.

They smiled.

I walked out of the Waffle House perplexed as if three balls were being juggled inside of my head,

Who was the redhead going to vote for?

Were the two women sisters?

And would Waffle House ever cook great food?

For more stories go to http://mortlaitner.com

And please remember to vote. You don’t want to sing, Who’s Sorry Now.

What the readers are saying:

“Waffle House” was the best piece of writing I have see in a long time.
As I read it, I wondered, “Who is this guy?”
Then I saw your name.
Hey, I know this guy!
Well done!—Will
Love, love, love it Mort!!!…Eva
Nice, Good description and dialogue…Ricki