Setting: 1987, Portland, OR. A greasy spoon in the historic Multnomah Village neighborhood. Route 66 signs pepper the walls, as do T-shirts advertising “Fat City.” A Coca-Cola ceiling fan spins overhead. A counter seats an old man in a John Deere cap. A zaftig and aging Waitress scratches her head with a pencil as she takes an order from a young couple in a corner booth. The sounds of clinking silverware, sizzling bacon, short-order cooks ringing the bell now and then. Two middle-aged men sit in a center booth with mugs of coffee. They are Police Chief Jim Davis and Mayor Bud Clark. Davis is clearly rattled. Clark is preoccupied with sugaring and creaming his coffee.
Clark: I love this place. Crap for coffee, but I keep coming anyway.
Davis (leaning forward): Listen, I know why you called me here.
The Waitress approaches, a plate in each hand.
Waitress: Who had the corned beef hash? (Clark motions. She drops the plate unceremoniously in front of him and the other in front of Davis. She winks at Davis.) And the cinnamon roll. Extra sweet. (Davis watches her saunter off.)
Clark: This corned beef smells exactly like my dog’s food. Tastes like it, too.
Davis: Listen, Bud, I know you know about the audit…
Clark: How hard is it to fry an egg? Jesus, we got one overeasy egg here and the other one is rock solid.
Davis: But I had the right to know what was being said about me and my team.
Clark (Smacking a bottle of Heinz ketchup over his plate): But I love this place, you know. The pork chops are like hockey pucks and I one time had this french fry still frozen right in the middle…
Davis: Will you listen to me? I’m trying to explain myself here.
Clark: Sometimes, you can love a place even when it’s a total screw-up. Because that’s what it’s supposed to be, a screw-up. You don’t expect a whole lot, you don’t get a whole lot, and no one goes home unhappy. (He looks at Davis, points the ketchup bottle at him.) You had no authority to go over my head like that.
Davis: Read my lips: yes I do have the authority.
Clark: Read my lips: you’re fired.
Davis stands. The two men stare long and hard at each other. Davis turns sharply and leaves. Clark reaches across the table and rips off some of Davis’s untouched cinnamon roll and eats it, nodding.
Clark (Shaking his head): That’s a good goddamned cinnamon roll.
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