Walt’s Bad Day

March 22, 2007

All Walt wanted when he entered the Dairy Queen was a single Mint Mocha MooLatté, but his plans ran into a snag when the girl at the counter turned out to be his ex-girlfriend.

He didn’t even notice until he got up to the counter and was giving his order – only to have his words wither away under her hate-filled stare.

“You piece of scum,” she said, and he struggled to remember her name. He couldn’t imagine how she came to be here – he had fled halfway across the country to get away from his former life and everything in it. He had put that all behind him, but here it was, staring him in the face.

“You complete asshole!” she said, her voice rising along with the frenzy in her eyes. The other customers started to back away, eyeing the scene warily.

Walt knew she had every reason to be furious – he had vanished the day before prom, leaving behind his family, his friends, her – everyone and everything he knew, without explanation. But how could he tell her of the soul-crushing sense of ennui that had abruptly risen within him, the desire to get away from everything he was connected to, break all ties, and strike out on his own.

It wasn’t that his future was all planned out – he had any number of possibilities before him. But he hated them – all those shallow, stupid little people, and himself, for being just like them. So he had left, and hitchiked mile after mile, state after state, from one coast to the next.

But he couldn’t tell her that. She wouldn’t understand.

So he, in what was probably not any better an idea, simply lied.

“Why’d you do it, Walt? We thought you were dead, we worried for you, I cried for you, dammit!

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I think you have me confused with someone else.

She stared back at him, puzzlement creeping across her face, and warring with anger and rage. How did she end up here, too? He wondered if there was any meaning in that. She spat in his face.

“Do you think I’m an idiot? I know it’s you – you own goddamn nametag even says you’re Walt!”

It’s true, it did. He had been promoted to a supervisor on site. He had to wear the nametag, and it said his name was Walt.

“I mean,” he continued, feeling sweat creeping across his forehead, “you must have me confused with some other Walt.” He had started the lie – nothing to it now but to run with it.

From the crowd of customers now gathered behind him, a lone heckler called out, “What’s wrong with you, man? You’re not fooling anyone – why don’t you answer the lady’s question?” Other cries of agreement and affirmation echoed through the Dairy Queen.

Walt simply raised his hands helplessly in the air. “You don’t understand. She thinks I’m someone I’m not.”

“Liar!” “Asshole!” “Coward!”

The crowd began to get rowdy, and in an instant too fast to notice, it had become a mob, with reason and rational lost. It surged forward, pinning Walt against the counter. He felt his ex’s hands dig into his scalp as she grabbed his hair. She was screaming something at him, but he couldn’t make out the words – and then he felt fists raining down upon him, boots kicking at his shins, his back being bashed against the counter time and time again.

Finally it ended. Blood covered one eye, forming a misty red haze obscuring the world – the other was swollen shut. He felt himself lifted up and hurled, bodily, out the front door, amidst the sound of more incomprehensible words.

And he never even had the chance to get his Mint Mocha MooLatté.

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One Response to “Walt’s Bad Day”

  1. Yeah. I have that problem ebery day at the Café.

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