From The Ghost Writer
Sunday morning Murph was up first, normal and straight like always, or at least the way he’d been from his mid-thirties on. Rose and Carla were out, dead to the world as per the saying, deep in oblivion. Even the sisters slept in.
Murph dressed quietly. He took a moment to cover Rose and Carla fully. Downstairs, he looked in on Keekah and Keelah. He did the same with them. He felt like tickling Keelah’s feet, which were sticking out, but he didn’t.
Despite a brisk spring chill, he walked along the beach near to the water but making sure no water hit him since he was wearing running shoes. In his youth, when he was distance running, he would have run the length of the beach until heading into town for breakfast. He settled for a good-paced walk and after about ten blocks headed up the beach to the boardwalk where he took one of the ramps to the street. He followed the street to a boulevard and walked along the boulevard until he came upon a high-class diner. Inside, with all his kitchen experience, he judged that it was wannabe high-class more than actually so.
He sat at the counter and ordered coffee. He was thinking about restaurants, about New York brunches in particular. He was about forty and working in an Upper West Side Manhattan bistro. The place only had four cooks and one chef, so the cooks were close in the sense that they depended upon each other. If one of them needed a day off, one of them had to cover the shift.
Murph never liked the brunch meal. It was greasy, all greasy. The joke was that everything slides, even the cooks after the meal. Murph used to say that you got into your car on one side and slid across to the other side.
This place reminded him of that one except this one was more pretentious. Even the waitress reminded him of one of the waitresses from the other place, one he’d gone out with just after separating from his wife. She brought him his coffee and gave him a nice smile. She asked if he was sure he didn’t want something to eat and recommended eggs Florentine with home fries. He laughed to himself. He remembered stirring scrambled eggs with a stainless steel paddle in a fifteen gallon soup pot set in a big boiling Bain-Marie. He remembered poaching a tray full of eggs at a time, making twenty dozen to start off with. “No thanks,” he said.
Foremost on his mind was getting home, getting off this Island, getting past the craziness he’d witnessed. He had not joined them in the hot tub but he had let Carla lead him into temptation with Keelah. He had slept with Rose and Carla only because they had joined him in his bed long after he was asleep.
He’d awakened between them. He was in pajamas, they were in birthday suits. He’d wished he was twenty years younger, not working for Rose on writing her story and that he simply did not care about consequences.
He sipped his coffee and took a refill. He remembered one waitress who pinched her nipples to make them stiff so they showed through the white blouse uniform top. That was her way of getting better tips. Can’t make this stuff up, he thought. Then, God, get me off this island. Get me home.