by Kenny Bellew
By Kenny Bellew
“You guys ready to order?”
“I’m just having coffee,” said Brent, as he opened his laptop.
The waitress peered over her glasses at Sarah, “How ‘bout you, honey?”
“Just coffee for me, too.”
“Just coffee…” the waitress’ voice trailed off as she crossed into the kitchen.
Sarah struggled to get her arm out of her coat sleeve, “I can’t believe she just called me ‘honey’.”
“It’s because you’re so sweet.”
“It’s patronizing,” Sarah said, finally freeing herself from the long coat she was sitting on.
“It’s not patronizing. It’s a term of endearment.” Brent’s laptop chimed as the desktop loaded. He stabbed at the volume key.
“My grandmother doesn’t even call me ‘honey’.” Sarah folded up her coat next to her.
“She’s a professional waitress,” said Brent, “She calls people ‘honey’ to make a connection. It helps her tips.”
“Hey, let’s call her ‘sweetheart’ when she brings the coffee.” Sarah grinned.
Brent mustered his Bogart impression, “Why, thank you schweetheart.”
“No, even better- Let’s call her ‘sweetie.’” Sarah laughed.
Brent launched his word processor and, with a halfhearted accent, said, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. “
Sarah rolled her eyes. “You sound like Count Chocula.” She pointed across the table. “Do they have Splenda over there?”
Brent dug through the selection. “There are two Splendas and about 50 Sweet ‘N Lows. Why do these places always have so much Sweet ‘N Low? Does anyone even use this stuff any more?” He tossed the packets over to Sarah.
“I’ll ask for more when she brings the coffee,” said Sarah. “Why’d you get such a big table?”
“I needed room for my laptop.”
Sarah looked at the screen. “I thought the deadline had passed.”
“Nope. Midnight tonight,” said Brent, as he scrolled to the bottom of the story.
The waitress returned and Brent noticed her name tag- “Rose.” She turned over Brent’s cup and filled it with coffee. “You folks need any cream?”
“Yes,” said Sarah, “and could I get some more Splenda?”
Rose poured Sarah’s coffee. “Sure thing, sweetie.”
Brent laughed and grimaced as Sarah’s shoe found his shin. Rose turned toward the kitchen without noticing.
Sarah ripped open both Splenda packets at once and poured them into the coffee. “What’s your story about, anyway?”
“You’re writing a fashion article?”
Brent blew into his coffee cup. “No, see… I bought these leather pants on eBay for my costume, and I discovered that my friends and family are very opinionated about men wearing leather pants.”
“You mean because they make you look gay?”
“Look, I wasn’t planning wearing these to work or tra-la-la’ing shirtless through a wedding in them, but you would thing that my stepping out of the house in leather pants was akin to asking my mother-in-law’s advice on sex (with goats).”
Sarah laughed. She warmed her hands on the cup. “So, when can a guy wear leather pants?”
“Apparently, there are five reasons a guy can wear leather pants:”
Rose pirouetted around the corner with a tray of food balanced on one hand and a small stainless steel pitcher of chilled creamer in the other. She placed the creamer on the table and continued on to another customer.
“She’s good,” Brent admired.
“She forgot the Splenda,” said Sarah.
Sarah poured a splash of creamer into her cup. “So, what are the five reasons?”
“Number one: If I were gay. “
“Wait, you’re wearing them now. Brent, are you gay?”
Sarah handed the creamer to Brent.
“No, I’m not gay. I’m trying to make a point.”
Rose walked toward the table with her hand reaching into her apron pocket. She pulled out a handful of Splenda. “Here you go, honey.”
Brent smiled at Sarah. “Excuse me, Rose,” said Brent.
Rose turned back. “Can I get you something else?”
“What do you think about guys who wear leather pants?”
“Aw, sweetie, it’s okay I guess.” Rose placed her hands on her hips and pondered.
“I saw some singer wearing them the other night on TV. He looked good. I can’t remember his name.”
Rose was already walking backward toward the kitchen before finishing her sentence.
Sarah was adding more Splenda to her coffee. “She didn’t think it was strange for men to wear leather pants.”
“Actually, Rose points out reason number two. Men can wear leather pants if they’re a famous singer or a movie star.”
Sarah bobbed her head as she thought about it.
“Yeah, okay. That seems about right. What’s the next reason?”
Brent slurped the last drop of coffee from his cup.
“Well, according to my mother. Men can wear leather pants if they’re going horseback riding- alone… and where young children will not accidentally see him.”
Sarah nearly sprayed coffee across the table.
“Seriously, did she say that?”
Brent grinned and waved at Rose with his coffee cup. She was carrying a tray of food to another table. Her nod assured him that a refill was on its way.
“Okay, what’s the next reason?”
“Reason number four: If you ride a motorcycle, you can wear leather pants.”
“Yeah, Brent, I hate to break this to you, but those guys don’t wear leather pants from International Male.”
“Hey, I’ve see photos of Sturgis. Some of those guys walk around in tight leather pants and chaps.”
“Seriously, Brent. If you’re gay, it’s okay.”
“No, I’m saying that—Just because they’re hardcore bikers doesn’t mean they’re not into fashion.”
“What’s the last reason?”
“If you’re going to a costume party, men can wear leather pants.”
Rose seemed to appear from nowhere and filled Brent’s cup. Brent tore open three packets of Splenda.
As she filled Sarah’s cup, Rose said, “I remembered the name of that singer.”
“Oh yeah, who?”
“He was on that American Idle show. Clay Aiken I think is his name. That boy sure can sing.” And Rose was off to fill another customer’s cup.
“She’s got your number,” chuckled Sarah.
“Well, I’m disappointed with humanity. A world in which I cannot walk out of the house in leather pants without an intervention is a dull existence. I’m tempted to pretend to be gay, just so I can wear these pants without being judged. “
“Don’t be so dramatic.”
Brent began typing. “All of you are bastard people. That’s what you are- bastard people!”