As they passed my open door, they paused and stared across Milwaukee Ave, dumbfounded, slack-jawed. They didn't know I was listening. It was only 7:45. One of their companions was shouting the bad news from across the street.
"What did he say?"
"They're fuckin' closed!"
"You gotta be fuckin' kiddin' me! Fuckin' closed? Why?"
Their companion dashed back across Milwaukee Ave. and rejoined his crew near my open door.
"Da guy says dare remodeling da interior. Believe dat shit? A fuckin' White Castle closed for fuckin' remodeling?"
"Day oughta at least put up a fuckin' sign or some fuckin' ding."
"There's a sign on the front door....'bout dis big."
"Yeah fuck dat shit, they oughta put it up on the big White Castle sign where they give da specials."
"I had a fuckin' taste fer a sack o' sliders goddamiit! Awwww fuck me! Now what?"
"I dunno. Wanna get some donuts?"
"Ah dem fuckin' (racial epithets) don't know what dare fuckin' doin'!"
"Good coffee doe."
"Yeah, day do got good coffee..."
"Let's just get some fuckin' donuts. Fuck."
"And some coffee..."
"Yeah, and some coffee. Day do make good coffee,"
"I might pick up a bag o' da coffee. What da fuck! Fuckin' White Castle!"
As their angry voices trailed off, it occurred to me that the usual smell of grilled onions, so powerful in the morning that the aroma actually overpowered the exhaust smell from Milwaukee Ave. was indeed absent.
I looked out the window, and across the street. As the three angry men strode past the front door of the White Castle, they paused and stared at the closed front door with the small sign announcing the temporary closure for remodeling. Shaking their heads in disgust, they proceeded across to the east side of Harlem Ave., and in to the Dunkin' Donuts.
When they returned with their coffee and donuts, I could tell morale was low. They stood around their vehicle and discussed the morning's events, and the news of the day.
"How's dat coffee?"
"It's pretty good. Real fuckin' hot too."
"Ya remember that story about the old lady dat burned herself with some of that McDonald's coffee?"
"Yeah, what a bunch o' bullshit dat was. Fuckin' coffee's supposed to be fuckin' hot fer god's sake. Fucking lawyers...."
"Catch that Hawks game yesterday?"
"Da last period. Dare playin' good again...."
"Dat fuckin' Hue-ay bastard. Dis Niemmmy's better dan Hue-ay. Q better just stick wit dis guy."
"Let's get the fuck outta here..."
"Yeah, let's go."
By 8:15, they were gone.
And by 8:30, the next wave arrived. The driver chose a more appropriate parking spot.
The three person crew made the long trudge across my parking lot. I didn't have the heart to tell them that the fucking White Castle was closed. I watched as they too reached the front door of the fucking White Castle, only to find a small sign informing them of the interior remodeling that fucking White Castle was doing.
One of them, in an act of pure desperation tried to place an order at the drive-thru window, only to be informed that one must actually drive up to the drive-thru window. No walk ups allowed for insurance reasons. He glanced back across the street, and obviously came to the sad conclusion that their truck would not fit under the drive-thru canopy.
This team made no pretense of accepting fucking donuts as a replacement for their morning White Castles. They hung their heads and made the slow walk back across Milwaukee Ave., across my parking lot, and silently climbed into their vehicle.
As the driver pulled away from the curb, I could see the disappointment on his face.