I guess I felt like being out and about in sunlight. I get those cravings every once in a while. I went to Denny's, 'cause it's been a while since I've eaten out, except for cold zucchini walnut muffins at Starbucks. Which are, by the way, very good, but start to taste like Play-Doh after a while.
I was given a seat near the front, next to the register, and I listened to the parade of strange old men. First was a very old man--he was ninety if he was a day. He was stooped and had that slow, very careful quality in his movements, and he spoke at careful length as he flirted with the twenty year-old waitress.
"Did you hear the one about the Denny's employee who got fired?" he asked her.
"No," said the girl, anxiously noticing the customers piling up by the door as the man detained her.
"There was a fellow who wanted a newspaper, and when he was getting it, he saw an ad for a job at the zoo. The guy at the zoo explained to him that they needed someone to dress in a gorilla suit and sit in the gorilla's cage until they caught the gorilla that'd escaped.
"'What do I have to do?' the manager told him, 'Nothing really, just eat peanuts and bananas, and that's all there is to it.'
I missed part of the joke here but it turned out, "...he fell in the lion's cage. As the lion was coming at him, he grabbed the lion's shoulders and said, 'What're you doing, d'you wanna get us both fired?'"
The girl laughed quickly and said, "That's a good one. Have nice day!" before power-walking into the kitchen.
Later, there was a guy who looked like he was in his fifties and had white, mad scientist hair clumped around his translucent plastic visor. His face was weathered red, and he wore a blue denim button shirt un-tucked. He looked like he'd been up all night in a casino somewhere.
He was asking the manager about a toy machine in the corner. "It's not working right," said the manager. "That's why there's an 'Out of Order' sign on it."
"What's wrong with it?"
"The claw is supposed to drop slowly while the timer's going," the manager started to walk away, "Instead, it doesn't move at all, and then just drops real fast after the timer's run out..."
"Well, that's all I need!" said the man, as though the manager's words had implied that the toy machine wasn't so much broken as waiting for a man great enough to best it.
A little later, the man was explaining patiently to a waitress that, despite what the manager had told him, the claw didn't drop at all after the timer ran out. As he explained the condition the manager had told him the machine was in, he said, "Now, to me, that doesn't fit the definition of 'Out of Order.'" He had a serious tone in his voice, as though he felt he was being denied justice.
He had the girl fetch the manager, and the two men went out of earshot as they went to inspect the machine. I really think the guy wanted his money back.