It was 2 a.m. and I was sitting in a booth at Denny’s. I had just finished a double shift at the factory and I was hungry – like really hungry – like Naked and Afraid hungry. I looked up and Kendra (my waitress) was approaching with a tray of food, my food. I couldn’t help but notice she was cute. She was probably close to my age. Twenty two? Twenty three? She smiled and placed my food on the table; a burger and fries, a side of biscuits and gravy and a chocolate milk shake. “Can I get you anything else?” I grinned, “No thanks.” She smiled, and tucked her pink-highlighted hair behind her ear before walking away.
I took my time eating, enjoying every bite. Reading, checking email, liking, commenting, reblogging, retweeting, crushing candy, clashing clans… After a while my phone was getting hot and my stomach full. I guess it had been nearly an hour since I sat down in the booth. Kendra had checked on me from time to time, refilling my water. My plates were empty except for a few fry crumbs and streaks of sausage gravy. The last sip out of my milk shake tin gone long ago. Feeling full and tired, I closed my eyes, yawned and stretched. One of those amazing stretches where you arch your back, raise your arms and tilt your chin, nearly getting light-headed in the process.
When I opened my eyes, they slowly refocused on my now empty table. My plates were gone. I didn’t hear Kendra clear them. I had only been stretching for 5, maybe 10, seconds. Weird. I still felt tired but also, somehow refreshed. I looked at my phone, now cool, and it was still 2 a.m. Confused. Looking up from the table I saw Kendra approaching, full tray of food balanced on her hand. With a familiar smile, she once again placed the food on my table; a burger and fries, a side of biscuits and gravy and a chocolate milk shake. Was I in a dream. Was this Deja Vu? I knew that I had just eaten this exact meal, but somehow I was still hungry. Did I travel through time? I’ve seen the movie Primer – is this booth my storage unit? “Can I get you anything else?” Puzzled, I muttered “Did… didn’t I just eat this exact meal an hour ago?” Kendra, head tilted, looked at me with uncertainty. A hesitant laugh on her breath, “ha, u,m, no silly” She pulled the check form her pocket and left it on the edge of the table before walking away.
Picking up the check, it felt heavy. Pushing it between my thumb and fore finger, it separated. It was two checks. Both time-stamped with 2 a.m. Both for the same meal. Both signed by Kendra.
I looked around scared, sweating. No one else noticed we in a repetitive life groove. It was clear then, and oh so frightening, I had entered…the Savings Zone…