“Garish,” she said, looking around the place, an expression of disdain on her face.
“What are you talking about, Beth?” he asked. “This is a classic re-creation of a mid-century diner. It’s totally retro.”
“Oh, right, Andy,” Beth said. “Like you’d even know what an actual mid-century diner looked like. You’re a child of the late Nineties.”
“My dad used to take me to diners near where we lived,” Andy said, “so I know what I’m talking about. Look at these vinyl seats and all the neon signs and lighting. And these tabletop jukebox thingies, just like back in the day.”
“It’s so plastic,” Beth said. “They’re trying too hard and it’s not at all authentic.”
A waitress, frantically chewing a wad of gum, walked up to their table and handed Andy and Beth menus. “Can I get you some water?”
“Sure,” Andy said.
“Do you have any sparkling water?” Beth asked.
“You mean like seltzer?” the waitress responded.
Beth sighed. “Never mind. Still water is fine.”
The waitress spun around and left the table. Meanwhile, Andy, after looking at the menu, said to Beth, “Do you see the prices on this menu? This can’t be right. A burger for 95 cents. Add cheese for a nickel. French fries for a quarter and a Coca-Cola for a dime. This has got to be a joke.”
“Maybe they charge retro prices in this retro diner,” Beth quipped.
The waitress came back to the table with two glasses of water. “Can I take your orders?” she asked.
Andy read her name tag and said, “Hey, Betty, these novelty throwback menus are great, but can you get us the regular menus, please?”
Betty looked confused, reached over and took the menu from Andy and looked at it. “This is our regular menu,” she said.
“Come on, Betty,” Andy said. “A cheeseburger for a buck? A Coke for a dime?”
Betty’s cheeks turned bright red. “I know,” she said in a hushed tone. “Until last week our burgers were only 75 cents and Coca-Cola was a nickel. But the owner had to raise the prices on just about everything in the menu a few weeks ago because of a higher cost of living. It’s 1955, you know. Your money doesn’t go as far as it used to.”
Beth looked at Andy and then back at the waitress. “What do you mean it’s 1955?” she asked Betty.
“1955,” Betty said. “March 15, 1955.”
Andy stood up and looked out of the diner’s windows. He turned pale, sat down in his seat and pointed toward the windows.
Beth looked toward where Andy was pointing and saw that the diner’s parking lot was full of cars from the early Fifties. And that’s when Beth started to scream.
Written for this week’s Sunday Writing Prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.