Tales of the Old Home Café

By Edward Floden, based on characters and situations created by William D. Fries, Jr.

Tale III: The Princess

(Originally published in The Legend-News of 2007 August 2.)

[Ed.’s note: This is yet another wildly-out-of-sequence Tale of the Old Home Café. It takes place after Jon has bought the Café.]

“I don’t believe in princesses,” said Avis.

Tilt-a-Whirl Jon was sitting at the counter of the Old Home Café, next to the continually-gurgling lemonade dispenser, when Avis came into the Café and took the seat next to him. His MacBook on the counter in front of him, he was researching the costs of amusement park rides. Well, he had started doing research, but that was a half-hour ago. Now his ‘research’ had wandered over to a history of roller coasters with a sidetrack into hidden Mickeys. A trivial note: a new Tilt-a-Whirl costs about $300,000.

“Holy non sequitur, Batgirl,” said Jon. “Could you start again? I missed the beginning of this conversation.“

“I don’t believe in princesses,” said Avis. “They’re either spoiled brats or weak-willed pretty girls waiting for their prince to come. I’m not sure which type I hate more.“

Jon closed the lid of his MacBook. “Okay, what brought on this diatribe?“

“Have you seen the news?” she asked, nodding towards the television in the corner, which was currently tuned to CNN Headline News. “Another morally-challenged Hollywood blonde with too much money and not enough sense just got herself hauled in on a drunk-driving charge. And to that they’ve added possession of a controlled substance, assault, and resisting arrest. She’s giving blondes a bad name.“

Jon saw the the tail end of the story as the booking picture of the blonde in question was shown. “If you’re talking about her,” said Jon, “she’s giving fake blondes a bad name. You’re safe.“

“Hmmph,” Avis declared. “She still bothers me. Hi, Wanda,” said Avis, greeting the waitress behind the counter. “A large coffee, please, to go.“

“Comin’ up,” replied Wanda, taking the order.

“Your dislike of royalty bears investigation,” said Jon. “Weren’t you ever ‘daddy’s little princess’ when you were growing up? I’ve always heard that fathers spoiled their daughters.“

Avis thought a moment. “Well, yeah, I can say that Dad was a good father. I was an only child, after all. But I wouldn’t say that I was spoiled: I had to work for what I got. I didn’t receive a new Mercedes Benz on my 16th birthday; heck, I didn’t even get a car until I was 18, and it was a beater that I paid for.“

“What about the future? Did you expect to meet the man of your dreams at college, get married, and live happily ever after?“

Hah!” shouted Avis. “And hah! again! I didn’t grow up with delusions of life. Both of my parents worked, and I expected to be a member of the workforce. Although not as a truck driver or waitress, like Dad and Mom; I was going for big money. I wanted to make life easier for them.“

“So you became an accountant? I can see where the pay could be high, but I’ve never thought of accountancy as exciting,” said Jon.

“It was a stepping stone,” said Avis. “I figured to start at the bottom, handling the books at a large firm, and eventually getting into other money-handling areas, like stock trading. That’s where the real money is. And this” she said, dropping a couple of dollar coins on the counter and grabbing the tall paper cup of coffee, “is the end of my break. Gotta get back to the bank. Thanks, Wanda. Keep the change. Later, Jon.“

And Avis was out the door, headed back to a job she never expected to have.

Jon, of course, watched as Avis crossed the street and entered Consumers’ Bank. Then he returned his attention to his research, and wondered how he could afford to build an entire amusement park.