5874/You Want Fries with That

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You Want Fries with That
Date of Scene: 07 April 2021
Location: Mel's Roadside Diner
Synopsis: Leslie has a new job at Mel's diner. And it turns out there's at least one good customer from nearby! The milkshake machine is also 'broken'.
Cast of Characters: Xi'An Coy Manh, Leslie Willis

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Afternoon - just after the lunch rush but before the commuters are going to pack the place. It's a time that is usually relatively relaxed in the restaurant industry, and it is often a time where relatively new hires can cut their teeth. Or teeth their cuts; either way it works.

A 2010 Subaru hatchback pulls into the parking lot of Mel's - puts it in reverse and noses over towards the carhop section. The person driving it, XI'AN COY MANH, mutters to herself, "<Frigging parking lot is a maze how in the name of Jesus the savior am I going to get anything done here.>"

There is a twelve-year-old-ish boy sitting in the passenger seat. LEONG COY MANH says, "OHHHHMMMMHHHHHHHHHH" as he looks up from the textbook he was reading.

"What," Shan says.

"You took the Lord's name in vain, SHAN. That means you're gonna go to H E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS!"

"Are you being clever with this or what," Shan grouses, staying in English as she pulls into the carhop space and kills the engine.

"double hockey sticks," says Leong.

"So," Shan says, "what do you want?"

"A menu," Leong says.

"You know, that's reasonable," Shan says as she rolls down the windows.

"Are you gonna put on a podcast? I hate that history dude," Leong says. He continues talking about some stuff Shan does not pay close attention to as she leans her head slightly out of the window, scanning the horizon for waitrons.

Leslie Willis has posed:
Mel's diner is a classic slice of Americana. It's the sort of diner that seems to have risen from the primordial rock of the Earth and to have always been and fated to always be, a gleaming chrome and glass that beckons to all travellers.

It's the sort of place where one expects to find bright-eyed youngsters and those waitresses who seem like they came forth from the Earth alongside the diner, full of sass and acerbic wit from decades of dealing with customers.

Leslie Willis may wind up going past sassy comments and snide remarks to murder. Leslie Willis has been a carhop for two days.

In two days she's had a kid drop his icecream into the change pocket of the 50s style apron she's forced to wear. The coke machine had a line burst and shower cream soda into her face. Random traveling salesmen have honked their horns and done that stupid 'Awooooga' call that old cartoon wolf did.

And Mel's diner? There's not even a Mel! He's just a marketing concept!

But she's getting the hang of it. She can totally stop on her rollerskates now, even if it's kind of jerky and she sort of rolls back and forth when she's trying to stay still. Plus the uniform dress is this gaudy peach sorbet sort of off-orange, and it is -clearly- not made to match her particular blue fashion.

And so she finds herself rolling towards the arriving car, taking a deep breath... c'mon Leslie, your Youtube channel gets -views-. Your podcast was going to be picked up by an actual media company until they started talking about 'Acceptable Behaviour Policies'. You can do this. And so she puts on a bright smile as she rolls up to Shan's window, holding out the Menu, her face an -almost- terrifying rictus of forced smile, "Hiiii! Welcome to Mel's! Home of the ... uhhh... jeeze... uhh..." She frowns a little, eyes rolling upward... nope, it's gone. She sighs, "Listen, we're the home of the big freakin' milkshake. It's named after one o' them planes that carried a buncha bombs in the fifties or something. You can wear the glass like a goldfish bowl on your head. It's... uhhh... like, totally retro-riffic."

This is going great. This is fine, she didn't hit the car skating up yet, this is gonna be -the one-. She'll earn a tip and everything.

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Shan smiles, accepting the menu and saying, "Thank you very much. Here, Leong, take a look," and it is handed over to the boy, who tosses his book into the footwell and begins exploring the options of 'building your own Mel's Diner slam.'

"The big, ah... freaking milkshake?" Shan asks.

"I want that," Leong says immediately. "I want theeeeeee... 'Operation Arc Light' with peanut butter. Can I get it Shan???"

Shan grimaces visibly, hard enough to make tendons in her neck stand out, but then she laughs it off, straightening up in her seat. "Is that something we can get to go? Can you tell me how many calories it is?" Shan asks Leong. Leong rolls his eyes and leans over to find nutritional informations.

"So this is a little complicated," Shan tells her waitress. "We're going to get something to eat, here, but once we're done we have a few things we want to get to go. Should we do that as separate checks?"

And then -- something troubles her, perhaps. Shan leans forwards and lowers her voice, even as her elbow hangs over the vaguely-battered door of the car. "... Are you alright? You look, uh... stressed. I don't want to make this rough for you, I know what it's like!"

"She can't go rollerskating any more," Leong informs Leslie. "Shan it has like ten thousand calories in it that means it is /super good/ right?"

"How many grams of sugar?" Shan asks. Leong shrugs, eloquently.

Back to Leslie. "Please forgive him, he's being a little bit of a PITA today." ("YOU SWORE AGAIN," Leong says immediately, having already moved on to the delights of just how many different ways you can buy chicken fingers.)

Leslie Willis has posed:
Leslie frowns thoughtfully, it's less stress frowning and more... okay, she really should've paid attention in math class. And also probably in the training meeting. But hey! She's got the answer!

When you can't remember a test, you cheat! And so she printed out the nutritional facts page from the company website. She furrows her brow as she scrolls down it, "It's got... haaaaaaaahahahaha!! Wow! That's like... -so- much sugar! I mean, it's gotta be okay though right? It's not like the government's just gonna let companies sell people -unhealthy food-. That'd be like... real bad and stuff right?" She frowns further, "Ah... nah, we can do it as one check and I'll just bring the other stuff out later."

She shakes her head quickly, and for a moment, like clouds parting for the sun, Leslie Willis manages a bright, actually genuine smile, "Oh! No, I mean, it'll be totally okay. I might need to do a couple trips if they're the really big things. I mean, I dunno why they think these are one order unless there's supposed t'be some sort of team of rollerskating teamsters around to haul this."

She sighs and lifts her arms in a little flex. Those pale blue, noodly arms. "But whatever, I'll get Greg to carry some stuff if I have to. He learned his lesson after yesterday's milkshake incident, and he doesn't wanna find out if I can actually fit his skateboard where I told 'im it's going."

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Shan frowns at this news of sucrose intensity. Leong looks up, intrigued.

"So let's do that for dessert or something," Shan says. "Oh - we could get one and take it home, that'd be great, wouldn't it? And if you share it with people," Shan begins, before Leong rolls his eyes at the prospect of sharing a milkshake.

"We were just out shopping and I didn't like the only options we had for lunch, so we're doing it late," Shan explains to Leslie; "which is why..."

"I want the chicken fingers plate with ranch and pickles on the side," Leong says. "Can you get like pickle juice all over the fries? Please? Please?" Leong continues, leaning over to make eye contact with Leslie. "And a Coke."

Shan has the look of someone trying to pick a battle, and opting not to have one. She nods, once, and continues, "I'm going with chicken Caesar, dressing side, and, do you have - no, just coffee." She gestures vaguely. "Like, a huge coffee. Please. I need it." She grins as she says it, even as:

FURTHER CHILD ACTION! "I'm going to the bathroom," Leong announces, undoing his seatbelt and opening the door -- he comes to a brief halt and then actually does look both ways, before moving towards the clearly indicated place to go piddle for the car hop side of things.

"Little brother," Shan tells Leslie. "I swear." She sweeps a hand through her bangs and then exhales with force. "So yeah like... that's it, I have to check the list... You're sure you're OK though?"

"Also if you can just like lie a little and say you're out of the 'two gallons of ice cream with a straw' thing, I will absolutely make it up to you," Shan grouses, slouching back into her seat.

Leslie Willis has posed:
Leslie scrawls the order down, even makes sure to note the pickle juice on fries order... 'cause even a villainess isn't gonna mess up a kid's lunch order! They're chicken strips! Totally an important decision.

She laughs softly and nods her head, "OH yeah, no problem. I mean I swear to got it's like ten pounds."

She glances around shiftily and stage whispers, "I'll try to make sure the Coke's not like, -crazy- syrupy either. We gotta stick together, right?" She points fingerguns at Shan and manages a spin on her skates that's only like... forty degrees further than she intended, arms spreading out a little as she kind of wiggle-shimmies until she's pointed towards the order window and grumbles, "I swear to god, next time I'm gonna find a place where you get to -skateboard- the food around."

Her voice can be heard from the ordering window moments later, "Sal, I'm telling you that there's -nothing- wrong with picle juice on the fries! ...Unsanitary? The kid's gonna eat the pickles right? And the fries? THEY'RE BOTH FOOD SAL! I've seen your car! You sure you wanna start throwing stones here about -food safety-!?"

It's a few minutes longer before Leslie's returning in little stop-start rhythms, her knees practically wobbling and knocking together as she's bringing the food on, with an extra little cup of pickle juice just in case the fries aren't juiced enough.

Of course, Leslie will deny she has 'feelings' or 'good will towards people' if it ever comes up.

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
"At least," Shan says. She smiles then, her eyes coming up to make momentary eye contact with Leslie. "Thanks."


"<Fasten your belt,>" Shan says in Vietnamese. "<Did you wash your hands?>"

The seatbelt is fastened in a very sarcastic way. "<YES.>"

"<Was there a line? You took a while,>" Shan says, looking out of the windshield after the blue-haired figure of the heretofore unrevealed villainess. Her attention is focused pretty emphatically on the wiggling, shimmying posture that is happening out there, which is probably, in a sense, the purpose of the entire exercise, but which also feels complicated to Shan - voyeuristic, but then, even if it's kind of an imperfect cue, Shan thinks, maybe -- she blinks once and finishes her thought: "<You're OK?>"

"<I was totally expressing my X-Gene and stuff in there,>" Leong says.

Shan looks at him.


"<As long as you're healthy,>" Shan says, looking back towards the outside world (Leslie mostly).

Leong grimaces and clonks his head against the passenger's side window. "UGHHHHHHHHHHHHH" he says, which transcends linguistic boundaries!


"Oh my god you actually DID IT!" Leong says as he is passed his plate of chicken fingers and potato fried chunks. "Don't spill it," Shan warns him, before accepting the plate with her salad and saying with another warm smile, "Thank you so much."

"Okay, so here's the stuff I need to go," Shan says.

"I need... Two large orders of onion rings, one taco salad (cold), an order of liver and onions - just the uh, liver and onions, no sides - one quart of chicken soup and --"

Shan starts winking at Leslie. Wink wink wink. "You said something about those really big milkshakes with the slightly problematic name?"

Leslie Willis has posed:
Leslie gives subtle little finger guns under the line of the window, "Oh! Yeah, turns out the milkshake machine is broken. It shorted out and made a -huge- puddle... Sal almost tripped in it. I'm hoping next time he will and we can put it on one of those prize shows for the funny videos."

She jots the follow up order down, working out the price and winking, "No problem! It'll be a few minutes. Long road trip huh? Lemme grab this for you!"

And once more Leslie's doing her baby duckling in roller skates routine. She only has to grab the takeout counter for balance for like, ten seconds tops!

And she even has the foresight to bag up the liver and onions and taco salad, and the container of chicken soup. She makes sure the onion rings aren't fully sealed up, so they won't get all sogged up, because soggy fried food? That's the -real- crime.

As she makes her way back, there's some dramatic sways and spins, but she makes it! ...Even if there's a thump of her hips against the side of the car, bracing herself, "Alright! Takeout's good to go! Uhhh... liver and onions huh? But yeah, next time you guys stop in, maybe we'll have those milkshakes! The machine totally sometimes doesn't break!"

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
"Oh, no, we're like fifteen minutes from home," Shan says as she accepts the food container unit pods and passes them over to Leong, who seems to accept his fate of culinary slavery, especially when he steals an onion ring. "We have a big household."

"Absolutely," Shan says: "Do you always work Tuesday afternoons?"

Leslie Willis has posed:
Leslie nods and gives a little grimace, "Well, I was kinda hoping it was that... I mean, neither of y'strike me as the liver and onions sort."

She bobs her head and shrugs lightly, "Yeah, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and then like ten hours on Sundays. It's not full time, but it's close. You drive safe and-"

And then Leslie's cut off as a semi-truck pulls up and blares its horn, and her hackles would raise if she had them... okay, that hair might -actually- lift up a bit, "You drive safe! I've gotta go be called 'little lady' for like the eighteenth time... but I guess that's why the pay's so minimum wage!"

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
And that's why Xi'an Coy Manh tipped 20#2552

She gets razzed by a child most of the way back to a certain stately institution over it. Leong does not fully comprehend the nuances of Tip Culture.