ANYTIME, SWEET by Robert Lopez


The waitress delivered the food and drinks in a single carry.

I was like everyone else in the diner. We were a congregation of unhealthy people with no alternatives and no resources. I'd been coming here every day for weeks.

Earlier I had walked through a hard hat area without a hard hat. The sign said I should beware but I never pay attention to signs, am never wary of anything.

Lately I've had heartburn every night and wake up with a headache every morning.

I told the waitress thank you. I told her she was impressive. She looked me in the face and smiled. I felt genuine warmth coming from her. I could tell she was a good person.

She said you are very welcome. I wanted to give her another compliment so I said you have nice tits. She smiled again, said you are a sweet one.

It was true. I've always been sweet. People tell me this.

The headache always starts at the top and then works its way down in every direction. I almost fell to the ground when I walked through the hard hat area but I steadied myself on a bicycle rack. I'm sure no one saw me as this happened. Certainly someone would've tried to help.

She asked if I would like to touch them and I said of course.

I touched them for a solid minute.

All around the restaurant people were eating and drinking and discussing current events, the people in their lives, how it was going all wrong.

No one saw what we were doing and I'm sure no one would've minded, no one would've tried to help.

She asked me what I thought and I said they were wonderful.

It was true. No one could disagree. They were wonderful.

This is what I wondered as I touched the waitress' tits: I wondered if she had a happy childhood. I wondered if she participated in after school activities, like bowling or girl scouts. I wondered if the mouse running roughshod in my apartment would realize his mistake soon. I wondered if my ex-wife was feeding the dog. I wondered how much longer I could live on bacon and eggs, home fries and coffee. Finally I wondered if it would be like they said, like a piano on the chest.      

This is when I took my hands off her tits, picked up my fork and dug in.

I told her thank you again and she said anytime, Sweet.

I smiled for her real wide.

I went back to the eggs and the rest of my life.


Robert Lopez is the author of two novels, Part of the World and Kamby Bolongo Mean River, and a collection of short fiction, Asunder. He lives in Brooklyn.

Art: Oranges (2004) by Greg Allen-Müller.
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