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The Miracle of the Empress Diner (standard:Inspirational stories, 1868 words)
Author: WolfgangAdded: Mar 25 2007Views/Reads: 1871/1033Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Rarely do miracles occur singly. They seem to be epidemic once they get started. Miracles like company; witness Lourdes and Loch Ness which have become tourist traps. Some doubting Thomases have even called them Baedecker Miracles, that is miracles create

Miracle of the Empress Diner 

by Harry Buschman 

In the Empress Diner Hughie sat with his ass overflowing the stool
closest to the swinging kitchen door. It was warmer there and he had a 
good viewpoint from which he could see Sylvia in the kitchen. He was 
chilled to the bone after driving all night east from Cleveland, Ohio. 
After leaving the diner it would take another hour and a half to get to 
Macy's truck dock on 34th Street. 

His breakfast was on its way down – he had eggs over easy with sausage
and home fries and a short stack with syrup. He was on his third cup of 
coffee when he spotted the prune Danish in the cake rack. 

“Lemme have a prune Danish, would'ja Sylvia? That's a good girl.” 

Sylvia picked up a sheet of waxed paper and fished a prune Danish out of
the rack. She put it on a small dish and turned to Hughie. “You want I 
should cut for ya, Hughie?” 

Hughie didn't answer so Sylvia left the Danish whole. She looked at it a
long time before putting the dish in front of him. “What's the matter 
with it?” Hughie asked. 

“Now ain't that the damnedest thing?” 

“What? What? There somethin' wrong with it?” 

“No.” She turned it this way and that, then held it up to the light so
Hughie could see. “What does it look like to you?” 

“Prune Danish. What'sa matter with it, Sylvia?” 

“Don't that look like somethin' to you? Look real close, Hughie – can't
you see the face.” 

Hughie squinted and tilted his head a little. “Yeah. Gee, ain't that the
damnedest thing – it's ... er ... er ... what's his name.” 

“Pope John Paul.” 

“It's creepy, did the cook do that? 

“No, they come from the baker. D'ya suppose it's a miracle, Hughie?” 

Hughie shrugged. He was late already and he didn't really want the
Danish anyway and he certainly didn't want to get mixed up with a 
miracle. He thought to himself he shouldn't have eaten that short stack 
with the maple syrup – he felt bloated and the thought of driving 
through the traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway didn't sit too well. 

But Sylvia, who had seen a million or more prune Danishes in her career,
none of which ever resembled anyone, was convinced it was a miracle. 
“Pope John Paul, no less,” she told Phil, the manager of the Empress 
Diner in Paterson, New Jersey. Phil saw it as an intrusion of his 
profit margin to be the owner of an unsold prune Danish, but he finally 
gave in and let Sylvia keep it. 

She took it home that afternoon, and to preserve the likeness she
sprayed it with clear lacquer. She was a single girl, a simple, 
uncomplicated girl, and it occurred to her that no one would ever see 
it sitting in a dish on her bedside table, unless that slow poke Hughie 
made a move. It would be better off, more accessible she thought, if it 
were put on display in the Empress Diner. 

For two weeks she worked on Phil. He would get a lot of free advertising
mileage out of this particular prune Danish if he exhibited it at the 
diner, she told him. 

“Miracles are good business, Phil.” 

“I don't want nobody comin' in here lookin' fer miracles – this is a
diner, Sylvia.” 

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