Tag Archives: Serial Story

#SOL18: March 29

Serial Story:  Scene 6

Okay before the month ends, here’s a return to Maria’s story.

(Continued from Scene 1Scene 2 & 3, Scene 4, and  Scene 5)

“Only 20 minutes left.” Face wrinkled.  Can smell her fear . . . Staring at the clock again. 9:40 pm.

Maria paced, “What’s the deal with the ambulance?” she wondered.  “The after-game crowd is always here by now.”  She stopped, turned, and peered out the front window.

“What do you think, Juan?  Did the game just go long?”

He came out of the kitchen, shuffling over to the door to check on traffic out in the street. “Nada,” he said.

Smile long forgotten, Maria paced again.  “So close,” she thought. “Just $4.82 more tonight and I will have the rent money.  Anything else i make tonight or tomorrow will be mine to spend.”

The minute hand continued to tick away.  Headlights, and then a car pulled in and parked. Five minutes before ten. Maria raced to fill water glasses, still praying for a crowd . . . but willing to settle for just four or five tables of customers.

As the door opens, her expectant smile turns down.  It’s Joe, the owner.  “Where is everybody?” He looks around as if customers are hiding under the tables.

Maria shrugs her shoulders.  “That’s what we were wondering.  The ambulance went by 20 minutes ago.  It’s quit snowing so at least if someone got hurt they won’t be lying in a pile of snow on the field . . . I hope.”

“Well, what do you two want to do?  Stay open a bit longer or go ahead and close up?” Joe steps behind the counter. “Juan, are you ready to go home?”

Juan starts to nod his head and then sees the expression on Maria’s face.  He remains mute, waiting for Maria to speak.

Maria says, “I think people will be cold and hungry.  If we only knew whether the game was over, then it would be easier to decide.” And in unison, they turn towards the lights and sounds behind them on Main Street. Cars pulling up out front, doors slamming, voices, the door opening and a steady stream of people.  All talking at once. Loud voices.  Cold air. Red noses and cheeks.  Coats tightly fastened to keep out the cold.

“Three coffees over here, Maria.”

“Hot chocolate here, Maria.”

It looks like every seat is filled.  Maria’s face is consumed by a grin stretching from ear to ear.  “The tips don’t even have to be good and I’ll be able to make some extra money,” she thought. Busy at Joe’s Diner on a Friday night after the football game was often good for $20.00 or more in tips.  But with the excitement of the ambulance, there was a story here that just might cause the diners to linger a little longer to tell their own stories about what delayed the game.  After all, her homework was done and she had no place to go until 11 am when she had to be back at the diner for her Saturday shift.

Disaster averted. Rent paid.  “Wait til I tell Mama when I talk to her tomorrow.  Maybe she’ll have good news about Grandma and she will tell me when she’ll be back. I miss my family. I don’t really like living alone.” She picked up her order pad and started through the crowd taking orders and turning them in to Juan, bouncing from table to table.

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily forum each March. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

Did the story end as you predicted? 

What details did you expect to have wrapped up? 

How might you construct your own version of a serial story?

#SOL18: March 13

Serial Story  

(Scene 1, Scenes 2 and 3, and then Scene 3 ended with:

“She walks over to the blue Pontiac Bonneville and trades the bag for a $5.00 bill, a muttered “Keep the change” and follows customers into the diner.”

Scene 4

At the cash register, she makes change and throws a single dime and three pennies into the tip jar. “Thanks so much for the no luck,” she mutters under her breath.

Maria fills two water glasses and  hands them across the counter for the new customers at the counter, while simultaneously pulling out the menus and setting silverware wrapped in napkins for two of the three places.  “Do you need that sippy cup filled up?” she asks.

One head nods no and while the other one doesn’t look up from the menu. Maria grabs a place mat and two crayons from under the counter and puts it in the middle and says, “I’ll be back in one minute.”

She fills four more water glasses, puts them on a tray and walks across to the table under the window.  Everyone’s favorite table.  Same routine:  water, menus, silverware, and a promise to be back.

“What’ll you have today?” she asks as she returns to the counter.  They choose sandwiches in a basket, a kid’s meal of chicken nuggets and fries, and one piece of lemon meringue pie.

Maria mentally calculates the total. . . about $14.00. “Maybe” she thinks hopefully. She hands the order through the window to the cook and hears two patties hit the grill and the sizzle of the fryer as the basket of fries drop into the boiling oil.

“What will you have this afternoon?” and she scribbles soup, salads, sandwiches, and shakes in diner shorthand before turning the order into the kitchen.

The smile on Maria’s face is real.  Anticipation. It’s the middle of the afternoon. One hour into her shift and over $30.00 of orders.  Her fingers quickly makes a cross from her head to her chest as she prays for decent tips.  Rent is due tomorrow.  Maybe. . . just maybe . . . this will be her lucky day.  The $3.50 an hour wages won’t come close . . . but ever hopeful . . .

Refills water.  Makes sure ketchup and barbecue sauce are full.  Double checks about dressing on the side for the salad.  That earns a quiet “thank you” from the customer.  Extra napkins at the ready. Finally fills the sippy cup. Quietly. Quickly.  Always on the move. Those feet in the flip flops glide across the floor.

“Order up,” sings out the cook and Maria delivers the first round of food.  The singing gets louder as Maria gets the salad from the cooler just as she hears, “Order up.”

Two trips later, everyone is eating.  Visual check. All the food is served.  “What else?”

“The best thing about afternoon customers,” thinks Maria, “is that the afternoon goes fast.  Better to be busy than to sit here and try to just look busy. Like Grandma says, ‘idle hands are the devil’s workshop’.” 

The pace of eating slows.  Removing empty dishes. “Anything else? Pie? Cake?” Every smidgeon of lemon meringue pie looked like it had been licked off. No dessert for the table.  Checks presented.  Paid.

Maria waits until the customers leave to cash out the bills.

Into the tip jar . . .

a dollar bill,

a dollar bill,

a dollar bill,

a dollar bill,

and two quarters.

Change from the second bill:

a five dollar bill,

a dollar bill,

a quarter,

and two dimes.

The bell over the door rings, rings, and rings.  New chattering customers . . .

What do you now know that you didn’t before this scene? 

How much do you remember from one week to the next? 

When do you need to verify your text evidence? 

How did you manage to figure this out with annotating? ( I believe that annotation has become the new “bore the kids stiff and make them hate reading” routine.)

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily forum each March. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

New learnings/ wonderings:

Some “cheap skates” who think they are “generous”

Name of the main character

How many customers at the counter?

How many people are in the diner?

What did you have to infer?

What is the problem?

What’s your prediction for the evening?

What questions do you have?


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