Three shiny, new black SUVs pulled up in front of Flo’s Diner and parked. Two “suits” got out, one from the first car and one from the third, and stood silently while looking through their dark sunglasses at the quiet street with the single traffic light. After a scan of the area found no items of concern, the first “suit” said something to his shoulder and doors opened.
Five men in black got out and gathered around an open door of the middle SUV as Barack Hussein Obama stepped out into the sunlight. He looked like the all-American politician, white shirt, loose tie with sleeves rolled up, and khaki chinos. And smiling – boy, was he smiling, and what a set of gleaming teeth. A little sparkle flashed as the sunlight reflected off those pearly-whites.
He was in the heartland, and since an accident on the Interstate forced a detour, he decided to sample some real Midwest cuisine. So, a couple of miles of back-road driving brought the caravan to Flo’s.
Hankpanky was real small-town Ohio, only 320 residents, one traffic light, two barbers, four bars, two gas stations, two (real) restaurants, and Flo’s. The town’s only claim to fame was when Caroline Kennedy (accidentally) drove her Oldsmobile off the road and into Eurine Creek and damn near “drownded” Eric Holder. They were the vetting team checking out Obama’s candidates for Vice President. They had eaten at Flo’s and liked it.
Flo’s was owned and operated by Florence I’Tally, a tall, slim, middle-aged blonde (helped along by Revlon) who was constantly chewing bubble gum. Looking like an icon from the 50’s in her pink waitress outfit. She looked the part.
“Suit one” opened the squeaky front door and held it as the others filed in. “Boy howdy, this looks like a mortician’s convention comin’ in.” Al, the cook, looked up to see what Flo was talking about. “Jezzus Flo, that’s that guy – that’s that Obomber guy.” “What Obomber guy?” Flo was not what you’d call “informed,” uni-formed was as close as she’d get to “informed.” If it wasn’t on American Idol, it didn’t exist – besides, she spent her off hours entertaining her men-friends.
Suits two and three slid into a booth facing the door and across from Obama. The other two took the booth closest to the door.
“Morning Miss, I hear you have good food here.” The black guy was making small talk. Flo quipped back with her stock reply, “Honey, we’ve got the third best food in town!”
“Where you fellas from?” Obama was a little surprised that she didn’t seem to recognize him. “We’re from Washington, D.C.” “Ooohwee, you’re a long way from home, ain’t cha?” she smacked her gum a few times.
Flo didn’t like that response “who’s he think he is” she thought. “No, sir, I ain’t got a clue – who are you?” She blew a small bubble.
“I’m going to be your next President.”
Flo laughted, “No way, honey, you’re black, and I know for a fact that John McCain is white, so you can’t be no John McCain.”
Suits two and three stifled back laughter, suit four did giggle aloud – which really ticked off Obama – he turned and glared at suit four for a moment. “I am Barack Obama,” he said with some haughtiness in his voice.
“Well honey, don’t go getting all huffy. How’m I supposed to know who you are – ain’t got no name tag or nothing?” She blew a big bubble this time. Pop.
Obama regained his composure – “can’t let this moronic twit get me upset,” he thought. “I’m sorry, miss, I’m a candidate for President and my name is Barack Obama. I thought you might have seen me on TV.”
“Don’t watch much TV, Mister Olabama.” Suit three turned away and you could see his body shaking, doing his best to fight back the laughter. Chew, chew, smack, pop.
Obama regained control, “that’s fine, maybe we can get menus then.”
“Shore honey, Al, gimme two more menus.” Al was smiling too now. Ellis was due to take the late morning shift soon, but Al thought he might want to hang around and watch this guy duel with Flo. He’d lose of course, Flo was the queen of the acid comebacks.
“Can you make an egg-white omlet with arugula?”
Dead silence … one Mississippi … two Mississippi … three Mississippi.
All four Secret Service guys were in stifled convulsions now. Pop. Flo’s latest bubble collapsed on her face. She gathered it back into her mouth before replying.
“Honey,” she paused, “I got egg-whites, I got Jimmy Dean sausage, I got bacon, I got hotcakes, but I ain’t got none of that argoola stuff. I got grits, you want grits?”
Obama took a deep breath, “just bring me orange juice, decaf coffee, bacon, and two or three of those grits, I’ll try them.”
“Two or three grits?” Flo was perplexed, ain’t nobody ever asked her for “two or three grits” before. Was he making fun of her? “I’ll slap that skinny big-eared weasel silly,” she thought. No, wait, maybe he was just one of those “slow” people.
Al was cracking up inside – trying to figure out how he’d arrange those two or three grits on a plate.
“Sir,” Flo was doing her best to stay calm and speak slowly and carefully so the slow guy could understand. “Grits generally come in a bowl or on a plate – lots of little gritses all together, kinda mushy like oatmeal or somethin, D O Y O U U N D E R S T A N D?” Her face was down close to his so he could lip-read if he needed to – sometimes them slow people need to do that.
Al stepped back into the hall by the rest rooms and covered his mouth to keep from exploding into laughter.
The suits, all four of them, were doing their best to look serious yet still laughing inside. This was too much.
“I’m sorry, I stand corrected, I’ll have some of those grit things.”
Flo was really perturbed at the Oboomba guy but still couldn’t be sure if he was playing her. She took orders from the suits and leaning over the counter, and read them off to Al.
Quietly, so the suits couldn’t hear, Al asked, “Flo, did you tell the guy that we have a sale on grits – buy one get one free?” Al couldn’t help himself. “Are we pricing grits by the dozen now?” Flo just scowled at him, but Al was on a roll. “How ‘bout the story about where grits come from – from shaking the grits bushes?”
She picked up a coffee pot (a nice, fresh pot for the suits) and proceeded to fill the suit’s cups. Chew, pop, chew, pop.
“Is that decaf?” Big ears asked. “No, this is ‘caf,’ sir, I’ll be back with yours in just a minute.”
Flo picked up the oldest, stalest pot still on the warmer (it had been “coagulating” for days) and filled Omama’s cup. “Here’s your decaf, sir.” “Right,” she thought, she’d seen roofing tar thinner than that swill, “hope he likes it.” Pouring it was like pouring thick paint, Flo half expected it to make a glop, glop, glop sound as she poured.
After adding a packet of un-sugar, Obama was visibly distressed when stirring took some effort. And when he finished stirring, the spoon just stood there – straight up – in the “coffee.” Cautiously, he took one sip (or maybe it was more like a bite), gagged, and pushed it away. Maybe a couple of those grit things would take the taste of the “coffee” out of his mouth. Maybe he should’ve asked for a slice of coffee.
A few minutes later, Al had worked his magic. “Order up.” Ding. Just as Flo was loading up a tray with the plates, there was a flurry of activity by the men in black. One was on a cellphone, two were heading for the door, and another was talking to his shoulder again.
“We’ve got to get going, can you bag our food to go?” asked suit one. “Sure, only take a minute.” Flo was happy to see them go, that one Omumba guy that looked like a brown Herman Munster was a real pain in the butt.
Al quickly packaged everything into Styrofoam containers, everything except the grits – Flo took care of the grits. Suit two handed Flo a credit card and signed it when she returned. They hurriedly left and got into the SUVs.
That’s when she noticed that they had stiffed her, no tip, no tip at all. “What buttholes.”
The three SUVs pulled out and sped away.
“Oh well, I guess that makes us even. If they’d left a decent tip I’d feel bad about filling that paper bag full of runny grits, now not so much.” She blew a small bubble and popped it.
Al busted out laughing, “you poured runny grits into a paper bag?”
“Yep, there’s a whole lotta little gritses in that bag and they’re just itchin’ to get out.” “Be free, little gritses!”
The Moral: even if you’re Bareek Alabama, and you’re kinda slow, don’t screw with someone who is preparing your food, especially free range gritses.