Many long-term readers will know of Kelly Grayson, a.k.a. Ambulance Driver, a long-term friend of mine from Louisiana. He published a collection of vignettes from his emergency medical services some years ago, titled "En Route: A Paramedic's Stories of Life, Death and Everything In Between", and contributed to two EMS anthologies. He's also been a prolific blogger, mostly about professional subjects, but also displaying his wicked sense of humor over many years. His characterization of "Sumdood" ("No, awficer, I dindu nothin'! Them drugs in these trousers I'm wearin'? They ain't my trousers! They belong to sum other dood!") has become legendary.
Recently, Kelly has turned his hand to fiction. Late last year he published a novel titled "Kindred (The Sumdood Chronicles, Book 1)", and has contributed to several short story anthologies. Last week he published a stand-alone short story, "Scattered, Smothered and Spellbound: The Battle of Waffle Haus 814".
It's a hoot! He manages to bring in most of Larry Correia's fan club, complete with their manatee mascot and war cry of "HOOOOONNNN!", plus many of us in the North Texas Troublemakers. Kelly has a truly wicked sense of humor when it comes to debunking sacred cows and debagging those over-full of themselves.
Here's the opening of his new short story. It's only 99c as an introductory offer at Amazon, to go up slightly next week, so this is a good time to grab a copy.
They blew in like a storm cloud around 7:15, probably pre-gaming for the party they were headed to, singing Wet Ass Pussy at the top of their lungs. There were four of them, loud, proud and ghetto fabulous, fresh from having their huhr and nails did.
The ringleader nearly knocked a wormy little guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt festooned with smiling manatees off his stool at the counter, tossed out a challenging “Sup, Grandpa?” at him, bulled her way to the jukebox and loudly pronounced every song on the playlist as “fo’ s***.” She fed it quarters, and presently Tevin Campbell’s Can We Talk began to ooze from the speakers.
I didn’t mind so much, Tevin being a local boy and all. What the hell, at least it wasn’t Tennessee Whiskey or Hotel California. Work at a Waffle Haus long enough, you’ll eventually fantasize about strangling the remaining Eagles with Chris Stapleton’s beard. I’m pretty sure Glenn Frey didn’t die from pneumonia; it was the prospect of singing Hotel California again.
Anyway, the Four Horsewomen of Cellulite squeezed uncomfortably into Booth #4, metric tons of ass threatening the structural integrity of Formica and fabric alike.
There really oughta be a law about yoga pants. If your camel toe can be more accurately described as walrus jowls, it should be illegal to wear anything but a muumuu. When you get up from a chair and that cute little dimple on your knee turns out to be your bellybutton, no tight britches for you, FUPA Troopah.
The ringleader snapped her fingers imperiously at me and shouted out their orders: four sausage, egg and cheese hashbrown bowls, smothered in grits, redeye gravy and chili. They needn’t have bothered; I knew their orders by heart. I raised my spatula over my head in acknowledgement and turned my attention back to the grill while the new girl shouted for my attention.
“Hey Al,” she whined plaintively. “Ain’t you listenin’? I got four more orders!”
“In point of fact, I am not listening,” I explain patiently to the new girl, Kaci, for the third time that shift. “Everybody shouts in this place. If you would like to be heard, step on your mark.” I pointed to the white square tile on the floor a couple of feet behind her.
Blushing, she stepped back onto the mark and took a deep breath. I raised one eyebrow expectantly.
“I need…” she paused, obviously composing the order in her head, “… a chocolate chip waffle plate all the way, one classic with grits side, pull two bacon, one hash brown scattered, smothered, covered, chunked and topped country, one quarter deluxe, and drop two hash browns to go with it.” She finished in a rush and smiled at me proudly.
“Atta girl,” I winked. “Comin’ right up.”
“Hey Mel!” the ringleader over at Booth 4 shouted indignantly behind me. “Aintchu gonna take our order?”
I gritted my teeth. My name isn’t Mel, and this isn’t some diner from a 1980’s CBS sitcom. I turned to her, smiled tightly and answered, “Already got you and your friends, Miss. I’ve got ten orders ahead of you, but if you’ll have a seat, I’ll have it out to you shortly.”
“Ain’t nobody brought us no coffee, neither!” she sneered. “I takes mine black, with extra grounds and cigarette ash.”
I turned away from her and murmured softly to the new girl, “Kaci, bring four black coffees over to #4, please. Do it now.”
Behind me I heard a clatter as the ringleader screeched indignantly, “Don’t you be ignorin’ me, muh****a! My money spends in here just like everybody else’s!”
I turned around wearily to see that she had climbed atop the counter and had a napkin dispenser and a syrup pitcher in her hands. She turned her back to me and addressed the diner in general, “Errybody see how dis muh****a talk to me? We payin’ customers an’ he just ignore us!” The word “JUICY” was spelled out in capital letters in rhinestones across her ass. At least, I think that’s what it said. You can only stretch Spandex so far before it f***s up the kerning.
The rest of the patrons studiously ignored her while her friends egged her on, and she turned back to me, mayhem dancing in her eyes. I raised my spatula and pointed it. “Put those down and get off my counter,” I ordered.
“Whatchu gonna do, skinny boy?” she sneered contemptuously and cocked her arm to throw the syrup pitcher. I sent a pulse of force down the spatula as she shifted her weight onto her back foot, and the invisible wave of energy took her feet out from under her. She hit the counter face-first, then rolled off backwards and hit the floor with a startled whuff of exhaled breath. Her companions had started to get out of their seats as I stalked around to their side of the counter, so I flicked a negligent hand at them, muttered “Immobilis,” accompanied by a minor act of will, and they froze in place, eyes wide in shock.
The ringleader lay on her back in a puddle of spilled coffee and syrup, her wig askew and a stunned expression on her face. One false eyelash had come unglued, and it flapped like a bat’s wing as she rapidly blinked her eyes. Her mouth worked soundlessly and I felt a flash of sympathy for her. It sucks to have the wind knocked out of you; surrounded by an atmosphere of 21% oxygen, and helpless to suck in even a molecule of it.
I leaned forward, put the tip of my spatula on her chest right between her boobs, and sent a wave of force down it, pinning her to the floor. Her face twisted in fear and pain. “You must really watch your footing, Miss,” I said gently. “We generally don’t let our customers stand on the furniture, because that’s how accidents happen. You could get hurt… really hurt.” I smiled courteously and directed more force down my spatula.
Translation: “**** around and find out.”
I released the Orc huntress and her friends and asked pointedly, “You ladies don’t wanna miss your party, do you?”
She slowly got to her feet and she and her friends edged toward the door, giving me a wide berth as they left. Once they hit the parking lot, their bravado returned and they cursed me in black Uruk all the way to their car, a lowered 1988 Cutlass Supreme with spinner rims and blackout tint on all the windows.
The diner erupted in applause, and the skinny guy in the Hawaiian shirt clapped me on the back. “Nice job, Sheriff!” he cheered.
Yeah, Sheriff. My name is Aloysius Q. Fortenberry, and I’m a Waffle Haus Sheriff.
Actually I’m a Sorcerer, and my official job title is Senior Operative of WHISSC, the Waffle Haus Internal Supernatural Security Corps. I serve as a roving troubleshooter tasked with keeping the peace among the supernatural community in Waffle Hauss across the country.
WHISSC deploys 3,000 undercover troubleshooters among our 2100 locations, give or take. It’s a high turnover occupation, but that just means ample opportunity for advancement. Face it, in the real world there aren’t many jobs for Wizards, Rangers, Druids, Fighters, Sirens, Bards and Monks out there. We take what work we can find, and being a WHISSC operative is a pretty sweet gig. WHISSC allows us to put our gifts to good use, and we eat free and get all the coffee we can drink. Free dental and a nice 401k, too.
You'll never eat at a Waffle Haus again without thinking of that, will you? Kelly promises more stories to come, hopefully on a monthly basis, to be compiled into an anthology in due course. I'll be in line to read them.