Through the patio window I see his truck pull up and park. Lifted and black, like the rest of them. There's no plate on the front. I know right away that the one on the back will read "Wild Rose Country." He saunters around the front of the bumper and squints at the meter well reaching in his pocket for forgotten change.
This side street meter has a knob he'll have to turn after inserting his quarter so the yellow "paid" tag will pop up. We've installed digital ones two years ago, but only on main street. I'm sure he's amused.
By time the door opens Donna has a menu ready and seats him in the front. Now that lunch rush is over she wants to mop the back. He's at table three, his profile framed by the backwards white letters reading "Marty's Diner." My section.
"Did you read our lunch special on the way in?"
I can hear Donna moving chairs in the back. He glances up from scanning our burgers and smiles. "But you can tell me again."
I look at his Oiler's cap, and the glasses he's rested upside down on the brim, and smile back. "Grilled bacon, mushroom, swiss with your choice of side." Or, in your case, fries. "Can I get you anything to drink?"
Large Pepsi. Could he make this a little more interesting?
I'll take my time filling the cup, waiting for the foam to recede. Taking his order, biting my pen lid, laughing when he jokes about our classy menu, not glancing back when I return to the kitchen.
Why drive through the Crowsnest listening to Sirus radio, alone? Stopping too often for diesel and energy drinks. Maybe he just wants girls to flirt with and small town teenagers to admire his truck well it's parked at 7/11. Maybe he's from here, somewhere back home. Maybe it's his Mom's birthday and he wants to get stoned with his high school buddies and brag about his pay.
Whatever it is, his sandwich is fine, and could he get a refill on his Pepsi? How does he get back on highway two? He leans on the counter well he pays with debit. His Dodge key chain already out and resting casually by the till. His name is Jordan and he tips five dollars on an eight something bill.
Locals will swear and his red and blue plate as he speeds through school zones on his way back to his rig job. Whatever that actually is. We'll end up there, too, in those oil suburbs. Because we want a 4x4, a snowmobile, a nice bike and maybe a seadoo. We can always haul it out to B.C. where there's a decent lake.