He Always Stops At The Mooselook
It’s mid-afternoon on the day before the solstice and Janey’s halfway through her shift at The Mooselook, carting in the liver and onions or the Sluggerburgers, bussing the tables the minute they’re empty, and shooting the breeze with the geezers camped out at the counter with their coffees. Even though it’s the middle of June, it’s a cool day in Concord; a nice breeze blows through the wide windows and the almost cloudless sky is beneficent and invigorating.
He stops in for lunch, as he does once or twice per month, on his way to the only home visit he has this far out—almost two hours away from his office, well out of the department’s regular service area—to see his most ancient client, a man approaching ninety that lost his home inside the catchment area to a fire almost three years ago, whom he begged to keep on his caseload not only because of his age but because it also afforded him the opportunity for an occasional lunch at The Mooselook and access to Janey, his monthly muse.
For only a couple of weeks per year, The Mooselook offers a blueberry cobbler. He usually orders the apple crisp after he finishes his Slugger, but today there’s cobbler on the whiteboard menu and Janey doesn’t even ask, just plunks it down in front of him even before she finishes clearing his table.
He’s reasonably sure she doesn’t even know his name but it’s also pretty clear that after all these years she can read him like a book, and that she’s not just angling for a larger tip. He knows her name isn’t really Janey, but he doesn’t really care.
Janey brings him cobbler. That’s all that matters.
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