Eight Days/A Summers Rain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A drama fiction

  In the summer of1998 the last year of a restaurant called the Busy Bee.The restaurant has historical significance,its a place where Nelsen Algrens novel The man with the golden arm was based on.
  A teenage customer walks down Damen ave in wicker park heading into the busy bee.He stands at the cashier and orders spaghetti & meatballs to go.Cashier says,"That will be $8.95."

 The customer hands her a $10 bill.While he's waiting the Beatles song eight days a week is playing over the restaurants music system.He looks over around the counter that surrounds restaurant workers,where customers sit and eat.

 Theirs a man sitting at the end of the counter sprawling out a news paper that has an article written on him.He's a regular customer who sits in the same spot and talks all day about his politics,with this other customer.Dick Shroud is his name who is a staunch Republican& the other customer is a staunch Democrat his name is Dennis Fairbanks,they both sit there and argue politics during the day.

  The Cashier hands the customer at the cashier his spaghetti and meatballs,The customer says,thanks! Then walks out onto Damen ave.The sound of a blue line train rushes out of the Damen ave station.

  Back inside the Restaurant Dick & Dennis siiting around  the coffee counter, discuss the politacal issues of the day.Dick raises up an article in the chicago tribune.Dick proudly boast"Hey! Dennis "We've both made the news," He points to his picture " Dennis Its About us local patrons at the busy bee..

  Dennis says,What you know, its are 15 minutes of fame!The waitress asks,Can i see the artickle? Dick hands it to her, she gleems a smile.And says,"Its so sad this place is closing at thee end of the summer".. Dick,"You had a good run.This place has been here for over 50 years." The Beatles chime over the sound system through the restaurant Tommorow never knows.

Day 2:They seemed to be like the 2 most unlikely characters,that would be sitting at the counter of a restaurant together eating and reading Chicago Tribune News paper clips. But there they were. Dick Shroud And Dennis Fairbanks.

Dick Shroud nervously fumbles for his coffee mug. The waitress politely asks,"Would you like a warm up?"Dick,"Yeah sure!" she pours,& Dick begins to chow down on his breakfast its 8:30 AM. Dick Scarfs his food down and then wipes his mouth. Dick spurts out Dennis's name. Then says,"Boy that was good!"

" The diner here never ceases to fail me. How good these Polish Lady cooks are."Dennis Fairbanks sitting next to him finishes up on his breakfast also. The waitress talks to Dennis across the counter as Dennis holds up his coffee cup.

Waitresses,"More coffee?" "Dennis,Sure!"She begins pouring  the coffee. Dick the Republican motions his fingers pressing it up against the tribune. Then begins speaking to Dennis the Democrat.

"Do you remember how under Kennedy the price of sugar and coffee sky rocketed?"That's what the democrats do!" Higher taxes soft on the soviets and are enemies abroad." "They get the markets going Bear.!"Dennis snaps back,"Yeah! The Republicans! " The rich get richer the rest of us get poorer,because the rich fail to pay there fair share of taxes so the roads don't get paved & the schools don't get funded.""They don't even teach kids to question things anymore."

  Dick,"Oh! so its suppose to be a perfect world out here." The left are crazy." That's Commie talk! snaps Dick."Ted Kennedy is a pinko liberal! "Dennis," I say you should do some fact checking."First of all Ted Kennedy is not Pink." "Most of the congress has been bought and brought to you by the company's that run our country."

  Dick" Why that's commie subversive talk." Dennis,There is so much misinformation out there people start believing in the wrong things." Dick,"The right! They think the right way."The left are soft on every thing."Dennis,"My ass! the Conservatives are bigger and better liars."

Dick who is big on Richard Nixon,Spouts out! " If Dick Nixon won the Presidency in 1960." We would of beat those commie Castro Cubans, in the bay of pigs." Nixon Was the best president this country ever had." "But you liberals brought him down over Water Gate." Dennis snaps,"Poppy cock! That's a Hypothetical statement if  I ever heard one.""Who knows what tricky dick what of done."Possibly led us to World war III.

  "Dick then claims,"Well he what got us that coffee and sugar at a lower price." Dennis interjects,:Nonsense! The Cuban revolution was a popular uprising most of the country supported it."Ousting the right wing dictator."Nixon in 73 supported Pinochet murderous rampage over Allende's reforms.""the right are sickos!"

  Dick,looks up at the clock it now reads 10:45. Dick,"I got to get to an appointment with my doctor." He says, Will continue these arguments tomorrow." Dennis",OK old fella!" See you at the same place different time,Different shit." Dennis laughs. Dick steps out from the counter. Begins to walk out of the restaurant. Dennis waves as he finishes his coffee. Feeling Groovy by Simon& Garfunkel is playing over the intercom system.

'Day 3: Dick chucks a cigarette as walks up to the door way of the bee. Grasping his Chicago tribune opening the door of the restaurant. Chuckles as he walks in and sees Dennis at the counter. Dick pulls up to the counter sitting next to Dennis thumbing through the tribune.

  Dennis leans over and asks,"How was the doctor visit?"Dick reacts,"Oh!I had a good check up.""The Doc said my bad cholesterol was higher so he upped my prescription10 mil." "Told me to stay away from to many of these heavy breakfasts I eat here."Dennis Snaps back jokingly,fat chance of that happening!" "You giving up those high cholesterol morning breakfast's."Dick nods and says,"I think I'll order a bowl of oatmeal today." "Just like Doc suggested."

  Dennis responds,"I'm glad I don't have that problem,High cholesterol." "I'm gonna order steak and eggs today,Orange juice and coffee." The waitresses comes over they both order their breakfasts. Dick chirps up and says, as looks at the newspaper. "Look at this article bout Bill Clinton."Dick goes on,"You know all those big politicians have call girls coming into there rooms to get sex."Dennis,"Go figure!" 'They hound the guy for corrupt dealings on white water can't find anything with special counsel Starr."Then low and behold they get him for a blow job cheating on his wife who might be lesbian.

"Dick retorts," Now Nixon would never be going around committing adultery." Dennis snaps back,"But it is a high crime felony to commit burglary."A blow job I don't even think its even a misdemeanor." The fact he lied to cover his ass with Hillary is bad but not high crime."Dick chuckles,Dennis continues,"You know its a fact that George Bush had a few affairs on his wife Barbara,but it was covered up by corp press.

  Dick,"What? "Did you read that in the pinko Nation?Dennis"Yes matter of fact I did, real truth journalism not that Tribune company stuff." Dick,Commie left news letters you read Oh! what a big brain they got?" " I got all the information  I need here in the Tribune." Dennis, "The Tribune is big money industry. Propaganda! From the right they run our so called Democracy."Dick,Well We both can agree  that America is a Republic."Run-ed by the people who are suppose to run us,the rich and powerful."No! says Dennis! Its suppose to be run-ed by us blue collars and middle class who make all the products." Dick, "A Republic doesn't need democracy." It just needs a strong leadership to guide big business to do the right thing." Dennis, "Poppycock!So were Rome?" So Union busters and the top 30% make us slaves to the Corp. Masters." Dick,"Ah! Marx had a big brain."

  Dennis, For 30 years now in this Conservative era wages have been stagnating." "Good for the rich bad for the worker."Dick,"So you want socialism?"Oh! its not a perfect world after all."Dennis,”I just want the wealthy to pay their fair share.”"Taxes says,God! Must be paid to Caesar."

 Dick finishes up his oatmeal stares up at the clock. Its 10:45 again. Dick slurps his coffee down. Gets up and says,to Dennis"Good bye! I'll see you tomorrow.” He walks out the restaurant door. Dennis looks up at the waitress. Who asks,"Do you want a warm up?'He Says,"Yes!" Then finishes up his steak and eggs. Doctor my eyes by Jackson Browne plays over sound system. Dennis looks up at waitress then leaves a tip. walks outside to a bright and sunshiny day.

Day 4:Dick is sitting at the busy bee counter. He's got his Tribune again he jots his eyes over the headlines. Then Dennis walks through the restaurant door. Dick looks up with a grin,as Dennis walks over to where Dick is siiting. Dick says,"Hey! Denny looks like I beat you to the punch today."Dennis replies,"Well Dick! Its the same shit! Different day! "Dick laughs,"Hey! Hows that civil service pension you been milking for the last 7 years?"

  Dennis snaps back, "Well Dick! I put in 24 years on my postal route I deserve every cent I get."Dick ,"Yeah you deserve a break today."Dennis,"Yeah! And you know FDR didn't pass Social Security through the men whom held those golden arches."That auto insurance company you worked for. Dick,"You mean State Farm Insurance."Dennis snaps,Didn't they screw you out of a retirement check?"

  Dick replies,Don't knock state farm there a great entrepreneurial Capitalist company"Denis refrains back,Yeah! That screw their employees on there pay and those exorbitant amount of premium fees their customer pays."Dennis,I don't get you right wing white men who work white collar jobs and allow the executives to screw you."Now the post office I worked for is a fine socialist program; like public library's,public education and even the Fire dept & Police."Dick says,I still get a Korean war vet check. Now that's real service to our country."Dennis ,Aren't you getting social security check too?Yeah but its peanuts."

  Then Dick thumbs the headline of the Tribune says,Look here it says that Bill Clinton has got to testify from the oval office bout his blow job."Dennis,"The impeachment! He won't be convicted cause the majority senate is Democrat."Dick then Snaps back,"Well you know Nixon would never commit adultery. And he was a great President! He resigned instead of putting the country through impeachment hearings."

  Dennis chuckles, He resigned because the senate behind close doors, told him he didn't have the votes in the senate to withstand a conviction." "That's the difference between tricky Dick Nixon& Clinton. Dick,"Oh know! He did a noble thing by stepping down." Dennis, "That's bunk!" Nixon Was an asshole! " He did the Christmas bombing killing a 1000s of Vietnamese, to come back to the table in Paris to sign same agreement before the bombing."

  Dick clamors,"What?He killed to get us honor."Dennis,Thou shalt not kill!Even if its the state."Dick "Where did you get that from the Peoples Daily Worker?"Dennis,No! The history books." Dick,Depending on the point of view who writes it."Dennis a fact is a fact. Dick,"A clown is a clown!"Dick chuckles,"Yes! B. B. Robozo the clown lawyer."

  Dick looks up at the clock its 10:45 again. He gets up with his Tribune& tips the waitress..Then Says ,"To be continued tomorrow."Dennis says"Oke Dokey Dick!" The sound system is playing Bang! bang! I shot him dead,as Dick walks out of the Bee into an over cast cloudy day.

Day 5:Dick Shroud lifts his coffee cup as the waitress sets his breakfast plate down. Its eggs over easy with home fried potatoes. He takes a swig of his OJ glass, then leans over to say something to a customer sitting 2 stools away. Dick,:"Their is nothing  better in all of Chicago then these Polish breakfasts."The customer looks at him and smiles and says,"Hey! "Wheres your buddy Denny?"As he's talking,Dennis walks into the Bee. He walks over carrying the news letter In These Times.

 He sits next to Dick. Denny snaps,"What does it say in your Tribune today."Dick jokes back,"Same shit different day!"Oh yeah! An original thought cliche."Dick spouts back,"What does that pink newspaper your holding say?"Dennis reply's,"It says the capitalistic system is broken&the rich are getting richer and the rest of us getting poorer." Dick remarks back,"You know the bull and the bear market system work better then the commie system. That's why the soviet union has come over to are side of the street on wall street.”

  Dennis,”All Wall does is steal an honest mans buck from main street who produce all the wealth and runs a fast buck scheme up on the casino gambling market called wall st." Good fast times are always doomed to crash."Dick,Well! That s life!"Its not a perfect world after all."" Don't you get a good pension from your postal civil service retirement fund?"What do got to worry bout rich and poor?"

  Dennis," So don't you  get a small amount from that FDR social security program?" That state farm insurance company you worked for sure as hell didn't pay out any pensions."Well along with my social security I do get a check from the military for my service during the Korean war."

  Dennis snaps back, " Oh!”The forgotten war which should be remembered as,we shouldn't be doing war at all."Dick well I didn't do much during the war I did lot of office work for the officers didn't see action."” Yeah! But you didn't serve your country I did."Dennis,"I served my country!""By marching with the Vietnam vets against the war in 1969."Dick,You guys turned your back on your own country."Dennis retorts back,"Its a free country!"" We should be able to petition our government when it is wrong." "isn't that what you served for?"Whether we are right or wrong,Like you who I disagree totally with, have a right to be wrong." Dick,We would of won that war if guys like you weren't protesting it." Dennis,"That's Pentagon nonsense propaganda you believe in." "That war was doomed from the beginning."

  The waitress serves Dennis his breakfast. He starts chowing down. Then finishes up then looks up at the clock its 10:45 again. He gets up from his stool says to Dick, "Goodbye! Will meet again here tomorrow same place same station." He pulls up out of his stool grabbing his news paper.The song the Piano man by Billy Joel is playing over the sound system.,He walks out  of the bee into a blustery day.

Day 6: Dick has a plate of pancakes set down on the counter by the waitress. She smiles and says,"Would you like a warm up?" Dick replies,"Yes! I'd like it so. Could I also get a polish sausage on the side?"Waitress,"Yes you can." In strolls Dennis He walks over to to where dick is sitting sits next to him at the counter. Dennis says,"So i guess your ignoring all the advice your doctor has given."Dick Replies,"What?And live with out my favorite foods." "No chance!"Dennis laughs,"I'm lucky i can eat this heart attack food with out consequences."You do it way to often." I only eat this moderately balancing it out with small dinners."" So whats in the Tribune today?"Dick gleams at Dennis."Well Denny!" "The same shit different day!"

 The waitress comes over to where Dennis sits. She asks,"So what are you having today?"Dennis replies as he jots his eyes over the menu."I'll have bacon and eggs with some OJ."The waitress writes the order &posts it to the cooks. Dick blurts out,"Look here what it says about Bill Clinton an impeachment process is begining after that it goes to the to the senate for trial."Dennis responds."What a waist of tax payer money the senate is not going to convict him for a blow job."Dick says,"They  should, what a disgrace!"

 Denny,Now your tricky Dick was guilty on a cover up on a felony called burglary. Clinton just needed to get some cause his wife wasn't giving him any, cause she might be a lesbian."A blow job is not a big crime."Consensual sex with an intern maybe inappropriate behavior for a president but its not a felony."Dick,"The only problem Nixon had was he had to many people that weren't loyal to him with big mouths."Dennis snaps,"Nonsense! ""Listen no matter what the facts are I will never change the way you think."Dick,"You liberals are crazy you think you can change this world & its ways. Its been going on for 1000s of years. Might makes right!"Dennis,That's wrong Dick. Might makes right has always been wrong."" The history books have been written by the conquerors but the the untold history of the conquered will speak louder one day."Dick,Oh is that so idealist!"" What do you know! its not a perfect world after all."

  The waitress then comes with Dennis's breakfast. Dennis accidentally knocks over his OJ glass with his hand as his head was tilted looking at Dick. The orange juice spills out all over the counter and on to his lap on to the floor most of it goes on to the floor. The waitress says,"That's alright!Will get you new glass of OJ." The bus boy come around with a mop mops up the juice as the waitress wipes the counter. Dennis takes a napkin wipes his pants off. Dennis looks up at Dick,"Well! Accidents do happen!"You know Dick I'm gonna miss this place its been wonderful hanging here with you having conversation and eating the best polish food in town."Dick ,"Yes! Sophie is a great polish lady and cook."For years this has been the best polish restaurant in the city of Chicago. Its going to be sad not to see it here anymore."Dennis says," Yeah! I think at the end of this month of August it will be no more."Did you sign the condolence registry book yet?Dick says,"No! Not yet.

 Then Dick looks up at the clock its 10:45 again. Dick says,Well I got go upstairs to my room. Dennis "That's right you live above this place."Dick, "Yeah! but Sophie selling the whole place. I gotta move out at the end of month. Dennis,"Its sad how the best things and life pass. But the the best things in life are free like are political conversations."Dick ,"Free!Nothing in life is free. Freedom is not free!"Then Dick gets up and walks out of the Bee. Dick sips his new OJ glass as he watches Dick leave. Then asks the waitress, "Can i have a warm up on my coffee. The waitress says ,"Yes!" Pours him the coffee. Dennis smiles then says," I love this place!" The music over the sound system plays Blood sweat and tears,Spinning wheel.

Day7: A storm pulled into Chicago it was thunder and lightning outside Dicks Apt. window,at 5 in the morning. It awakens Dick,he sits up at the side of his bed. He suddenly feels a pain inside his chest. Says to himself,"Am I having a heart attack?"He picks up his phone and dials 911.An operator answers,She asks,"Yes I Can I help you?Dick, "I think I'm having a heart attack."The operator says,"Stay calm and give me your address." Dick states his address. The operator says,"Will have an an ambulance  their in minutes."Dick then drops the phone falls out on the floor having a massive heart attack and dies.

  The ambulance arrives at his Apt the paramedics knock on the door when their is no answer they break down the door. There they find Dick dead on the floor next to his bed with the phone next to him ringing off the hook. They load his body on to the gurney wheeling him out into the rain on to the ambulance. Sophie was down on the street opening up the Busy Bee. She looks at one of the paramedics and Asks,What happened is that Dick ?The paramedics say,"Yes!He has died from a massive heart attack."It starts to rain harder. Sophie slips into the Bee,and says,"My God are famous customer has passed away."It would be another week before the restaurant would be closed for good.

  It was 9 o clock Dennis steps into the restaurant closing up his umbrella walks over to sit at the counter. Looks over his menu then looks up at the waitress and says,"I'm Wondering when Dick will checks in." The waitress looks gloomily at Dennis and says,"I got some bad news for you Dick died of a heart attack this morning."Dennis,What?He's gone! Damn i don't believe it. I loved the guy even though i disagreed with him on just about every thing."The waitress says, "They'll have a service next week for him." she hands him a piece of paper with the time and day for his funeral services. Dennis,This is a stunner!On top of being such a stormy day." Dennis finishes up his breakfast walks over to the door opens his umbrella. The Beatles rain is playing over the sound system. As Dennis walks out into the storm it continues to rain all day.

Day 8:On the morning of the next day it was still raining but very lightly. Dennis walks into the bee. He looks over to where Dick use to sit. He begins to get emotional holding back tears he walks over to the counter there are flowers set on the counter where Dick use to sit. Dennis sits next to it. He looks up at the waitress sad eyed and says,"This is so sad,the place closing down at the a same time one of its main customers passing away. Meanwhile life must go on,we come into this world without wanting to come. Leave here with out wanting to go." Dennis goes on,"All the pain in sorrow life brings then what awaits us is are grave it seems so senseless."

 The waitress perks up and says,"Don't be so down,life is many splendor-ed thing. Hey! the breakfast is on us today."Dennis exclaims,"You know a lot of things he believed in I couldn't stand. Hell! Everybody has a right to feel & believe what they want. Even though I vehemently disagreed  with him,it all boils down to probably just opinions but God forbid those opinions becoming policy. And besides opinions being put a side it just comes down to being human. And there's probably a lot of people out here who think like Dick did. Dennis continues," But i find its better to discuss are differences then to make war over them." I got to know him as fellow human at this diner and that was real. " The waitress bends over and pour him more coffee. Then says, Will all miss him just like you'll miss this diner, life goes on with all its ups and downs."Then Dennis asks,Hey! Did you ever see the movie The man with the golden arm?" The waitress says,"No!"Dennis,"It was a movie staring Frank Sinatra this restaurant was where it was based from. This place is legendary"Waitress says,I'll check that out."

As they are conversing the teenager who came into the place 8 days ago walks into the restaurant. He looks over at Dennis sees the funeral flowers. He wonders what happened here someone die?He looks at the lady at the register. He says, I like to order spaghetti and meatballs to go. eight days a week is playing over the sound system. He says,to the waitress,"strange that same tune was playing 8 days ago." The waitress writes his order. He looks around the room oblivious to what transpired here in 8 days. He steps over to the registry condolence book where customer write their last thoughts about the busy bee. He picks up the pen and writes. The best things in life flee like the bee. I'll miss the food here at this place.10 minutes transpire then over the sound system tomorrow never knows plays by the Beatles. The waitress looks up at the kid and says, "Here's your order."He takes his food walks out into the street. The noise from the L from the blue line is heard as a train is pulling out of the Damen L stop. The kid looks to the sky. The rain has stopped, the sky's are cleared to mostly blue.


Submitted: June 22, 2018

© Copyright 2022 James P. Bourke. All rights reserved.

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