The Flanagans Of Fairfield County, Connecticut: Chapter 10
Just off of I-95 and overlooking a rather shabby pond sits a nondescript rail-car style diner that seats 25 people. A neon sign attached to the front door reads “Open” in red cursive lettering, and two waitresses keep the mostly empty tables and bar stools manned.
The food is subpar, nothing special or out of the ordinary, although on Wednesdays the broiled chicken is half price and comes with a complimentary slice of apple pie. Meatloaf is the most popular menu item, followed by coffee.
Elderly natives of the Darien region are the primary clientele, although cops coming to and from DPD are also known to stop in. The exterior is stainless steel from top to bottom. The interior is a regular slice of 50s Americana - terrazzo flooring, Formica countertops, and of course a jukebox with hits from Buddy Holly, Elvis, and Little Richard. It does not have an official name, known simply to its patrons as “The Diner” or simply “Diner.”
“You know Honore de Balzac used to drink 50 cups of coffee per day?” Lang said, sitting on a stool and looking over at his partner.
“Yeah? Well I have a feeling a French novelist wasn’t drinking this shit,” replied Cromstock.
“Let’s ease up on the Folgers slander, okay? This is Folgers isn’t it? Maxwell House? Either way, it gets the job done just fine, Crommy. Better than those fucking k-cups back at the station” said Lang, laughing a little bit as he motioned to the waitress behind the bar for a refill.
Cromstock smirked, taking a sip from her cup and stirring the chicken noodle soup in front of her with a spoon. “You know I never drank coffee until I started out here. I used to drink a cup of cold water in the morning to get me going and now look at me...I don’t even care about quality anymore. Sitting in this morgue with you drinking coffee that guys in our drunk tank wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.”
The two of them sat there sipping their coffee in comfortable silence. The morning rush (if you could call it that) was the two police detectives and an older gentleman reading the paper in pleated khakis, white New Balance tennis shoes, and a shirt reading “If You Can’t Run With The Big Dogs, Stay On The Porch!”
On a coffee pot warmer behind the counter sat two carafes, one with an orange handle, the other with a black handle. Cromstock wondered how the orange-handled carafe had come to be known as the universal symbol for decaffeinated coffee. Orange is a loud color, if anything the two colors should be switched. Orange - close enough to red that it could mean “warning” has caffeine written all over it. Black is just...well, it’s black. It’s banal and altogether more fitting for the label of decaf.
“You know I’ve been thinking about getting one of those French presses for my house. You ever use one of those?” asked Cromstock.
“Yeah, they’re a pain in the ass. You get about two cups and it’s a whole operation to make it. I have one and I’ve used it exactly once in my entire life,” Lang replied.
“Well I think I might get one. Seems like something I’d enjoy doing on the weekend.”
“What the hell do I care if you get a French press, Crommy?”
“I don’t know I’m just saying. Will you just ease up? I was only trying to break the silence in here. This place gives me the creeps.”
“Oh, why because there isn’t some teenager with metal in her nose whipping up espressos while contemporary jazz gets piped through the sound system? Huh? You didn’t have to come with me you know,” said Lang, who was now becoming a bit agitated with his partner.
“You’re my ride back to the station, dumbass. And we need to beat the Flanagan woman back there so finish up. Get your head right before then, too. You’re a little crabby right now.”
“All I’m saying is that like it in here, okay? It’s quiet and it’s the exact opposite of fucking Starbucks.” Lang turned away from Cromstock now to finish his coffee. All he had wanted to do was pop in for a cup and a quick bite before getting back to the station to meet the wife of this dead guy. A little peace and quiet before this investigation got ramped up into high gear. He didn’t give a shit about French presses or the ambiance inside of the diner. Christ. Some people.