An audio version of this post can be found at:
"Who get's the Morning Moose?" asked the waitress.
Hank raised his hand. "Right here."
She set the plate of pancakes and sausages down.
Uncle Billy nodded and she put the eggs, bacon and potatoes in front of him.
I raised my hand.
She set the bagel and cream cheese down and walked away.
"That's really all you're getting, Chris?" asked Hank.
I sat, idly stirring my coffee. "I'm not that hungry."
"Wonder Boy not hungry?" said Billy. "Alert the media."There was a moment of silence, then Hank said. "That really got to you yesterday, didn't it, Chris?"
Billy sneered. "What? The six-hundred dollar estimate from the mechanic? Why should he care? I'm footing the bill."
I looked intently at the swirling coffee. "No, Uncle, it's not that."
"Well, it must be something ... I've never seen you eat less than me for breakfast since ... well, since ever."
"Leave him alone, Bill ... he just needs a little quiet time."
"Hey, I'm not bothering him ... and I'm the one who should be depressed. Who's getting tagged with a big repair for a rolling junk pile ... AND a eighty-five dollar hotel bill ... which was a waste of money, by the way, 'cause I was up all night listening to you snore."
Hank's face reddened. "Like you didn't?"
"Will you both just shut-up," I said.
"He is touchy this morning," said Billy.
Hank spoke to Billy in a low voice. "It was the book store last night ..."
I motioned to the waitress as she passed our table. "Could I have my coffee to-go?"
"Sure, sweetie." She picked up my coffee cup and walked away.
I smashed the bagel halves together, put a napkin around them, and stood up to leave.
"Where are you going?" asked Billy.
"I'm going finish my breakfast in the park across the street."
Billy leaned back and looked at me. "What is your deal?"
"I just want to be alone for while, okay?"
"It's Eb's book, isn't it? You've got a case of the ass because you saw Bunky Takes a Nap in a book store in Eau Claire, Wisconsin."
I threw three dollar bills on the table. "I'll meet you at Ken's garage." I walked after the waitress.