He looked like any other Joe, just sitting at the counter, sipping on coffee, and reading a book. I wouldn’t have noticed anything different if the waitress hadn’t pointed him out as I came down from my office for lunch. “I think you better check out the one at the counter.” she said, “I think we may have a problem there.”
I took the time to pour coffee at the counter and take a closer look. He was engrossed in the book that he bent over, rocking forward and back as he read with his hands running up then down on his legs. On his wrist was a band that on closer inspection, showed that he had just been released from some sort of hospital. As I filled his coffee, I noticed the book that grabbed his attention so. “The Human Brain” was the title. Not really reading that I would enjoy but oh well, different strokes for different folks. “Enjoying your book?”, I asked. He looked up and with a crooked grin said, “Yup.” and then went back to his reading.
I returned to my table and when the waitress came around, I told her not to worry and that I think he is harmless. I added that if she had any problems, to get a hold of me. I then finished my meal and retreated back to my office and my paperwork.
Thirty minutes later, I was paged back to the diner. “You have to talk to that man”, the waitress stated, “He is going from table to table and eating off of everyone’s plates. The customer are pretty upset to say the least. Seeing me come in to the diner, the man had gone back to his counter seat and was back in his book.
“I’m sorry but you are going to have to leave.” I stated to him, “Don’t worry about your check, it’s on me.” I figured if he was eating off of all those plates he probably didn’t have any money anyway.
He looked up with that same crooked smile that I had received earlier. “OK”, he replied. He then put on his quilted ski parka, pulled on the full length wool coat over the top, and wrapped the thick scarf around his neck. “Goodbye.”, he said, the scarf blocking the smile, and stepped out into the 90 degree August heat.