The lunch rush was just getting started, and by rush I mean total pandemonium. It’s always busy around at the Diner at lunch time, but I’ve never seen it quite like it was that day. And in the middle of all this, HE walked in. An odd looking man, dressed in a gray suit, white shirt, plain navy blue tie and a long black coat, he looked to me like he was some sort of military man. The aviator sunglasses sticking out of his pocket contributed to the effect.
You may ask yourself, why was it I noticed so much about him in the midst of a very busy time in the diner. Honestly, I didn’t at first. I saw the black coat and the great posture as he walked into the diner, but it wasn’t until I went to get his order that I noticed something was wrong. His eyes were bloodshot, and his hand trembled a bit as he held the menu. I thought maybe he was exhausted, maybe from a stakeout or something. Somehow, though, I knew it was more than that. He ordered coffee and apple pie, and I revealed my motherly instincts by asking if he maybe he should have something more substantial. He looked at me and a bit of a smile twitched at his lips. "Just pie, thanks." I smiled back, and went on with my work.
Okay, I’ll admit that he had a great smile. Even just the tiny one he gave me had my womanly hormones kicking into overdrive. Look, I’m happily married, but I’m not blind. Just don’t tell my husband. Leprechauns tend to be the jealous type. Of course he’s a natural flirt, but that’s "different". Right. Snort.
Enough about me. Back to Special Agent Fox, that’s his name. He told me later, after the lunch pandemonium, and after he’d had a gallon of coffee and about twenty pieces of apple pie—causing a pie shortage that didn’t go over well with the other customers, let me tell you!
Anyway, after things quieted down I went to tell him we were out of apple pie and he asked me to sit down. I was intrigued by the man, so of course I sat. "Are you all right?" I asked him. He nodded, but I could see from his expression that he was lying. He was still trembling, but that could be from all the caffeine he’d had. "Is there anything I can do for you?" I asked.
"Can you keep a secret?"
I chuckled. "I’m the epitome of secret keeping."
He smiled then. It was a sad smile, but big enough to show me just how handsome he really was. "I’m a M.I.B.," he told me.
My breath caught in my throat. Men In Black, my worst nightmare...I mean the worst nightmare of aliens currently residing on the planet Earth. "Why are you here?" I asked, cringing at the squeak in my voice.
"For coffee and pie," he said, and his smile reassured me—a little.
"I’d better get back to work," I said, and started to slide out of the booth.
"They aren’t aliens."
I stopped in mid slide. "Who aren’t?"
He leaned over the table and lowered his voice. "The little gray men. They aren’t aliens. They’re fairies."
"Fairies?" I didn’t worry about the squeak in my voice that time. Anybody would have squeaked over that little piece of information. Then I forced a smile. "You’re putting me on."
He shook his head as sadness filled his eyes. "It’s true. We’ve known for many years, but we encourage the outer space alien stories to throw people off track."
"Okaaay." I started sliding toward the edge of the seat again. After all, anybody could wear gray suits and black coats and own aviator sunglasses. Even crazy guys.
He grabbed my arm and I almost jumped though the roof. "I’m telling the truth," he said.
I looked into his eyes then, and I realized he at least thought he was—which didn’t preclude his being crazy. But then, the FBI ID card he had looked mighty real to me.
"You can’t tell anybody," he told me, as worry filled his lovely green eyes.
"I was serious about being able to keep secrets" I assured him. He looked deeply into my eyes for a long minute, then nodded.
As I watched him gather his things and head toward the door, one thought kept swirling through my head. Boy did he blow a perfect opportunity.
Chuckling, I went back to work.