The waitress had been yoking it up with the cook when Stephen and Kitty walked into the dining room, and she still had an absurdly amused smirk on her face as she made her merry way to their table, taking her sweet time.

Kitty greeted her by putting out the same energy the girl was broadcasting, “Daisy is a happy girl!”

The girl started giggling again, prompting Stephen to ask, “Care to share the hahaha?”

The waitress hesitated, then started laughing, “Um… well, it’s your President.”

“Oh, dear,” said Kitty, “What has the chucklehead done now?”

“Apparently, he just signed an Executive Order clearing the way for America to mine the moon.”

King and Kaboodle did what most people did when they heard the news; they laughed. “Yes, of course he did,” said Stephen.

“What do you mean, apparently?” asked Kitty.

“Well, it could be fake news,” the waitress shrugged.

“Yes, there’s a lot of that going around,” King agreed. “But it rings true. No sense starting a space force, unless you’re gonna start a moon mining company to pay for it.”

The waitress thought that one over, and asked, “You think that’s what his space force idea is all about? I hope not.”

“Why do you hope not?” asked Kitty.

“Well, my step brother is planning to apply for space force.”

“Your step brother is American?” Stephen inquired.

The girl nodded, “Yeah. My stepmom’s from Grand Marais, just down the road. But I don’t think he wants to be a miner. He’s imagining something more heroic than that.”

“Fighting off the evil aliens, no doubt,” Stephen smirked. “I hope he’s a real life Luke Skywalker, ‘cause Kitty here says the aliens that are coming are mighty mean.”

“Oh, I think so, too,” Daisy said. “I bet they’re coming here to farm us, just like we do with cows and pigs. Stupid meatsticks, that’s all we are to them. Protein bars.”

Dumbfounded, King and Kaboodle stared at each other, then laughed hysterically.

“What’ so funny?” the waitress wanted to know. “It’s pretty scary, if you ask me.”

“It’s okay, Daisy Mae, Kitty says all you have to do is become a vegan, and the aliens will leave you alone.”

“Oh, I hope so, ‘caUSe I’ve been vegan since birth,” Daisy said proudly.

“Oh, excellent!” Kitty chirped. “No need to worry, then. I will personally make sure you are spared.”

“Really? Thank you!” Daisy gushed.

King cautioned, “But you might wanna tell your step brother to think it over, because he’s more likely to be mining the moon, than he is to be fighting off aliens.”

“I think Stephen is rigt, And I would bet that the moon mining will be done with Putin as a full partner. Except that the Russians will all be political prisoners.”

Stephen loved that, and picked it up, “Yes, the new gulag archipelago, on the dark side of the moon. You better tell your step brother to read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich before he signs on the dotted line.”

Daisy looked at Kitty, and Kitty nodded her head in agreement. “Oh, yeah. There’s a shot ton, Eldorado mother lode of zero gravity, zero calorie Cheetos and Oreos up there. If you listen to Dark Side of the Moon backwards, it tells you exactly were the biggest deposits are.”

Daisy thought it over and decided she really liked Kitty’s black eyes. Like, really, really liked them. Like, a lot, a lot. “Okay, I’ll tell him that. Thank you! Now, what can I get for you?

“I’m gonna try the penne garlic vodka mushroom,” Stephen answered. “Kitty says it is fabulous.”

“Really?” said little Miss Daisy. “That’s great. That’s my recipe. All the vegan dishes are my recipes. Are you vegan,” she asked Kitty.

“I am,” Kitty confirmed.

“I thought so! You’re so pretty, and you just exude rigteousness. Everyone here says so, even my dad.”

“Thank you, Daisy!” Kitty smiled. “You’re very beautiful, too. Who’s your dad?”

“He’s the manager. Scott. He says you’re all so wonderful. And everyone agrees, especially me. And especially you, pretty little Kitty.”

Stephen sat back, entranced. Two tasty tarts flirting with each other was about the best floor show an old man could hope for in a family restaurant.

“I think you should try the falafel wild rice pilau,” Daisy advised Kitty. “I make the sauce myself. Won’t give the recipe to no one. Well, except for you, if you want it.”

“Oh, yes, I want it,” Kitty said, with just the slightest hint of sauciness. “I’d love to let you show me how it’s done, here in Thunder Bay.”

“You just tell me when. I’ve got two tickets to paradise. If you pack your bag, we’ll leave tonight!” Daisy smiled seductively. “Anything else? We have a nice riesling that goes well with both.”

“That sounds perfect,” Kitty answered. “Thank you so much.”

“It will be my pleasure to serve you,” Daisy responded, ignoring the old man’s existence, and sashaying back to the kitchen.

“What?” Kitty asked in response to Stephen’s smirk.

“You’re a shameless flirt.”

“Gotta problem with that?”

“No, not me. But be warned, skanky jailbait is a hard habit to quit.”

“Is that experience talking?”

“A lifetime of it.”

“You think she’s skanky?”

“She hides it well. Putting on airs, for the family, and the patrons, but yeah. Skanky in the good way.”

“Okay, but she’s not jailbait.”

“Maybe, maybe not. But she’s a semitard. The mind of a 12 year old.”

“Oh, whatever. It’s not as if I’m gonna knock her up. I wonder if she fucks her step brother? I’ll find out, and let you know.”

“Just don’t let young Stephen know about all this. He’s got a jealous streak a mile wide. He got that from me.”

“Well, until young Stephen grows a pussy for me to eat, he’s got nothing to be jealous about, does he?”

“Oh, I understand that. But he may not. That kind of thing is learned from experience, and he ain’t got none of that.”

“Don’t you worry about it, old man. I’ll take good care of your bastard bad boy.”

“Yes, I think you will. In fact, I think you’re gonna take good care of all of us.”

“I’m gonna do my best, I assure you. Just don’t stumble around, getting in my way, if you’d be so kind, please and thank you. And don’t worry, if I mess up, you can spank me, daddy.”




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