Coffee With A Marine At McDonald’s

mcdonald-s-cups-campaign[1]Daily Prompt: Imagine All the People

The next time you’re in a public place — a coffeehouse, a park, a store — observe the people around you. Pick a person, a couple, or a group, and imagine what their lives might be like.

In every McDonald’s there is an old-timer or two who comes in, sits, and sips coffee.

‘There he is,’ I say to myself. It’s the old Marine I see in here all the time. He has the tattoos and a cap to tell the world he was or is a Marine.

His wrinkled face was healthy as if by design. His hair is silver and bright; it almost reflects the sun. His hands are stout like two sledge hammers.

He’s still large; almost one of those larger than life characters. He walks as if he’s waiting to take charge. If he heard mortar rounds there would be a parameter staked out within minutes and we’d start taking prisoners.”

He smiles and talks loudly. But I know he’s lonely. Why else would he be here everyday.

“How’s it going, today,” I said.

“Good,” he smiles. “How ’bout yourself?”

“Fine as a frog hair,” I say.

“Ya wanna sit and have a coffee together,” he says.

“Sure,” I said.

We slid in a booth opposite of each other and began sipping our coffees.

“How long has your wife been gone?” I said.

“Five years,” he said. “I’m just now getting out.”

“That’s good,” I said.

“Is it that obvious?” he said.

“As obvious as your cap and tattoos,” I said.

“Sure gets lonely,” he said.

“Would you like to talk about her or the Marines?” I said.

“How ’bout your wife?” he said.

“I come in here a time or two a week and pick us up something to take home,” I said.

“That’s nice,” he said.

“Bring her in sometime and we’ll have coffee and a sandwich together,” he said.

“I’ll do that,” I said and smiled. “But I can’t havin’ ya talk like a Marine.”

He chuckled. “Marge, never let me talk like a Marine either. She was my real commander. She had me chargin‘ up more hills than the Marine Corps could have ever made me do. You a Marine?”

“No,” I said.

“I bet you’d have made a good one,” he said.

“Nah,” I said. “Not me.”

“Why not?” he said.

“Don’t like hills,” I said. “I was Army.”

“I don’t like hills either,” he said.

“You come in here to watch the people,” I said.

“But I’m not lonely,” he gestured with his head towards the other patrons. “They’re lonely. I just come here to keep all them company.”

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