“We miss your rare smile these days,” Dave Winston told Molly Whiteside who was wearing a mask as she brought the guys their breakfasts on the outdoor patio at Mabel’s Grill one recent, steamy, hot day.
“You aren’t missing much!” Molly’s mutter was muffled through the mask. “It’s so darned hot out here in these masks that I’m not smiling much.”
“Yeah, well, I did say it was a rare smile,” Dave smirked. “It was something we didn’t see every day even in the good times.”
“Hey, it has its advantages,” Molly glared at him. “When a customer gives me a hard time I can mouth what I really want to call them and nobody can read my lips to see what I’m actually saying.”
“Her mouth might be hidden but her eyes still say plenty,” laughed George Mackenzie.
“Watch it, George,” warned Cliff Murray. “I think I can see her mask moving. She might be calling you names.”
“So, are there other advantages to wearing a mask?” Dave asked.
“Not much! I suppose I’m saving big time on buying lipstick,” said Molly. “And teeth whitener. But we’ve had so much sun lately that my boyfriend tells me the rest of my face is tanning from being out here, but I’ve got a white square over my nose and mouth. I’m not sure if I need to use more sunblock on the rest of my face or artificial tanning cream on my mask mark.”
“Hey, you and I must have been on the same wave-length lots of days,” said George. “There were so many dry days for a while, there, I was doing a rain dance.”
“Don’t let Mabel catch you,” said Molly. “Every time it rains she loses all the outdoor business.”
“But now at least you can serve indoors,” Cliff said.
“Every other table,” said Molly. “Hard to make money at half capacity. How’d you like it if somebody told you could only grow crop on every other acre?”
“Might cut my losses,” grumbled George.
“I suppose for Mabel, it really is about making hay while the sun shines,” said Cliff. “There won’t be much business out here come November.”
“Molly won’t be hot behind her mask, though,” said Dave.
“I definitely won’t be smiling, either, if we still have to pay the bills with this pandemic going on,” said Molly as she headed back inside to get George’s doughnut.
“Too bad we don’t have a leader like the Americans or the Brazilians,” called Dave. “They’re just going to make it magically go away!”
“With any luck, the American voters are just going to make Donald Trump magically go away,” said Cliff.
“These guys remind me of – oh what was that famous king back in history who thought he could give an order and the tide wouldn’t come in?” wondered Dave.
“King Canute,” said Cliff.
“Well, Trump won’t wear a mask and so far he’s gotten away without getting the disease,” said George.
“But how many of his followers got sick because they refused to compromise their freedom by wearing a mask?” wondered Dave. “Give me liberty or give me COVID-19 because there’s only a two per cent chance it will mean death.”
“Must be interesting in Quebec these days,” said Cliff. “Last year they passed a law saying Muslim women can’t wear a veil across their face when they’re riding the bus. Now they’ve passed a law that says everybody has to wear a mask when they’re riding the bus. I wonder if the veil might qualify as a mask?”
Molly returned with George’s doughnut for him to take with him, and the bills.
“Sorry, I’m short on the tip today,” George apologized to her as he fished out money to pay.
Molly just stared at him.
“Careful, George, I think I can see her lips moving behind that mask,” chuckled Dave.◊