Yesterday I was in Corpus Christi and ate lunch at Taco Cabana.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the chain, it's Mexican fast food. More authentic than Taco Bell. I got my food and sat down. The place wasn't packed. A family left right after I sat down. An older man was midway through his meal. A woman with two kids was writing.
This post is about the woman. She was attractive, clean, wearing shorts, and in her early 20s.
She had a baby in a stroller. An infant no older than 3-4 months, probably more like 2 months. Her little boy was no more than two years, probably closer to 18-20 months. He kept turning around in his highchair and looking at me. So we waved and made silly faces at each other for a few minutes.
His mom continued to write and had finished her lunch. She had a Cabana Bowl and a beer. Every so often she'd spoon up some of the rice from the bowl for her little boy.
About this time, a group of women came in and sat on the other side of the dining area from us. And two college-age guys sat near the woman and me. We formed a loose triangle.
After about five minutes, she gathered the papers and I could see it was an employment application . . . for Taco Cabana. She left the kids at the table and went to the counter to turn it in. In all, she was away from the table 2-3 minutes. The 2-yr old started to fuss, and I played with him again to distract him.
When the woman returned, she dug in her purse and pulled out some coins. She left again but came right back. She looked at the older man and the two college-age guys and said, "They don't have a pay phone. Can somebody call a taxi for me? I just moved here."
She didn't look at the group of women or at me.
The older man said his phone fell in the Gulf the day before. He gathered his trash and left.
One of the two guys said he didn't have a phone. The other one said he didn't know a number.
The woman went back to the counter to ask if anyone knew a number for a taxi. While she was gone, a woman who was wiping tables gave the guy a number. When she said it, I knew it was correct because the cabs are bright green and I had seen one not long before and recalled that number plastered on the trunk.
The woman came back, got her kids, and left. The guy never pulled out his phone.
I don't know the ending of this story or the beginning.
But I thought this was an interesting scene.
You're writers. It's my gift to you. Use it.