At the diner I ordered two eggs, sunny-side-up, wheat toast, buttered, slightly brown, and coffee, black. My name is Walter, and this is the story of my day. My first day back on the job after a long break. It felt as if I had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. Nothing unusual. My bed is in an alcove. And then the waitress gave me that look. You know what I mean. I waited for her to offer me a slice of pie, she never did. But I digress.

I got to work, made a list. I needed to get my ducks in a row. But I was distracted. Out of the corner of my right eye something glared back at me. It was the spitting image of a small question mark burned into my toast. Clearly, I was missing something. What was it? Outside a woman was crossing the street. Dressed to the nines.  She was about to commit a crime I was sure of it. But maybe I was looking too close. I decided to look away, clear my mind. I got out the New York Times mini crossword. Five clues across, five clues down. “Lost ___ is never found again”: Benjamin Franklin.  

Back to work. I finished my list, but something was bothering me. In the lower corner of the window appeared a game of tick-tack-toe. There were too many Xs, not enough Os. More black coffee. The waitress didn’t make eye contact. What was distracting her? On the plate to my right loomed the Question Mark Toast. I paid my bill and left. 

Questions followed me. I walked two blocks down and ducked into an alley in a pedestrian attempt to lose them. Dirty laundry hung on a string up above. No need for binoculars here everybody wears their crimes on their sleeves. I got out of that alley fast, made my way to the park in order to shine some light on the situation.  

On benches sat men in dark suits and perfect haircuts behind newspapers. They were all wearing Luis Vuitton sunglasses. “Do the mini. It’ll save you time and allow you to be more productive,” I wanted to shout, but just then a small boy rolled by on a skateboard and said, “Mind your Ps and Qs!” Could he read my mind? I circled back to the diner.  

There had been a change in shift. I had a new waitress. This one was nicer. She offered me two kinds of pie: apple or peach. With ice cream or without. I’ll let you decide which one I chose. I scribbled some notes and went home. Put on some vinyl, sat on the davenport,  and looked out at the city lights. What about those Xs and Os? This was a pickle. Thought I’d hunker down and get er done, but at the end of the day, it’s time to go to sleep.