NINE NAPKINS – R. Gerry Fabian

Yesterday, I woke and ticked off

my usual routine until 10:45 a.m.

when as I was cleaning the toilet, it hit me

like a winning lottery ticket.

I’ve been writing since 11:00 am.

No lunch.

Just writing. 

Nine chapters -over 6700 words.

And now like a scorned lover, it leaves me.

I go to the diner to regroup –

lost in a vacuum of meaningless words-

and order my amelioration:

medium rare calf’s liver

with two eggs over easy and hash browns,

Rachael, my waitress, knows to include

a diet Coke to the order.

I blankly stare out the window.

Rachael arrives with my food.

There are sparks between Rachael and me

but now is not the time to add fuel.

I smile in appreciation.

Half way through the liver and eggs,

it strikes again like a slap in the face.

Grabbing one napkin after another,

I write in between bites of liver 

and hash browns.

Rachael arrives, senses my frenzy 

and softly retreats.

It ends.

There are napkins scattered all over

the Formica table top.

I methodically number them and

place them in my shirt pocket.

The clock over the cashier counter

reads 5:45 am.

Rachael’s shift is over at six.

Should I ask her for extra napkins?