Visions of Sugar Plums
[Kelly wants to inform
you that she was in particularly mushy mood while writing this, so . . . be
So I'm sitting at the
counter, Katie on my left, Chris in front of me cooking, and all I can think
is "Jon Stewart just walked in here and is sitting in my section of the
I take a deep breath,
muster up all the courage I have at the moment, pick up my wait book, and go
back to get the standard water and silverware to bring to the average customer
. . . only, this is Jon Stewart! I can't be positively sure it's him, cause
he's got a scruffy, yet so sexy, goatee going on and a baseball cap.
I walk over to his
table and amazingly enough I get out a warm "Good mornin'" in that sometimes
annoying slightly southern accent that I have. He smiles that beautiful smile
up at me and I pray to god that my face isn't beet red and that my knees can
hold out just long enough to get his order.
he says, just as warmly. "I love that accent . . . it's so . . . hospitable!"
"Well, I am training
to be a nurse . . . " slips out, and immediately I'm asking myself why
I said that.
He giggles slightly.
I find myself smiling at him, thinking the whole time, "I just made Jon
Stewart laugh!" He nods and says to me, with a bow, "Well, then, uh
uh, that will come in quite handy then!"
I giggle then, cause
now I know beyond any reasonable doubt that this is the very same Jon Stewart
that I watch on a daily basis sitting before me. I try to make myself stop and
close my eyes, taking one deep breath. As I open my eyes I notice he's giving
me a peculiar glance. I look around and lower my voice, "Forgive me, I'm
just such a fan."
He frowns. "Of
I roll my eyes. "Of
you, you dork."
He laughs again and
I'm so glad that I have that speak-before-you-think quality that more often
than not comes out as humorous. "Ah, I see . . . well . . . ." he looks slightly
embarrassed but smiles anyway. "Thank you?" he says. I smile. He looks around
and turns to me conspiratorially. "Why are you whispering?"
I laughed again. "Because,
well . . . I kinda figured you're way the hell in Louisiana to be on vacation,
not be mobbed by college students."
He looks around. "Yes,
well . . . what college students?"
I point back in the
general direction of the campus, located about half a mile behind the restaurant.
He nods. "All right,
thanks . . . ."
"So, what did you want
to drink? Coffee? Soda? Juice?"
He frowns. "Hey, I
thought we were having a chat and all of a sudden you wanna know what DRINK
I smirk. "Well, ya
know, I AM a waitress!"
He laughs and looks
at the menu. "Uh . . . coffee?"
"You're not sure?"
I say, tapping my pen against my pad, feeling more at ease than I would have
imagined I'd feel in the company of the greatness that is Jon.
He laughs and says,
more affirmatively, "Coffee."
"That's the ticket
. . . I'll be back." I say, turning quickly and heading to the coffee machine.
As I'm getting his
coffee my friend and co-manager, Chris, shouts from the office where he had
"What?!" I shout back,
still pouring the coffee into the cup.
"Get your ass in here
so I don't have to yell."
"Ey! Screw you! I'm
pourin' coffee here!" I yell back, smiling. Our morning bicker battle was one
of the many reasons why I'd been working at the café for over two years.
"Like I give a shi
. . . "
"HEY! Language people!"
One of our regulars shouts, smirking at me. "My virgin ears man!"
I stick my tongue out
at the frat boy and he laughs. "The day you make me believe you're a virgin
is the day pigs fly out of my . . ."
"Kelly!" Chris yells
again. I roll my eyes at my fellow waitress Katie and she giggles at me. Instead
of going to the office I pass it up and flip him off, heading back over to Jon's
table with the steaming hot coffee.
"Coffee, my friend."
I say, not even stopping. "I'll be back!" I go back to the office. "WHAT?!"
Chris smirks at me.
"Louis Armstrong or Ella Fitzgerald?"
I stare at him. "You
wage a war against me over MUSIC?!" I hear scattered laughter through out the
nearly empty place and I swear to god one of them is Jon's adorable giggle.
"Louis or Ella?!"
I start to reply with
Ella but am interrupted by that same frat boy. "How 'bout neither, they both
suck, dude!" He and his buddies laugh. "What are you, eighty?"
Chris stands up and
quickly runs over to the counter, me following him, smiling, knowing what's
coming. "What are you, on crack?! Louis Armstrong?! Ella Fitzgerald?! They're
classic! You . . . you can't BEAT THAT!"
Once again, laughter
fills the restaurant and this time I'm sure I hear Jon's. When I look at him
he smiles at me. "What do you say?" I ask.
He shrugs. "Billie
"OOH!" Chris shouts,
running back to the office. "I have that!"
"Oh, MAN!" The frat
boy says, frowning.
"Pshaw." Chris says,
coming back out after he's pressed play on the Billie Holliday CD. "Like it
or leave!" He says, waving a threatening finger in his face, his smile belying
I shake my head and
go into the office to turn up the radio cause our system sucks and you can't
hear it unless it's above 40db. I wander back over to Jon and take out my pad.
"Made any decisions?"
"I love Billie . .
. I love the south." He says, his eyes scanning the menu.
I laugh sardonically.
"Really? Then, please, stop making fun of us!"
He makes an apologetic
face and shrugs, looking up at me. "I can't help it, it's my job!"
"Uh huh . . ." I say,
He clears his throat.
"All right . . . um . . . what do you suggest?"
"I suggest the bacon
. . . ." I say, my smirk widening.
"I can't eat pork .
. . ." he says, looking up at me. Seeing my smirk he starts to laugh. "But you
knew that . . ."
"I did know that."
"Cause I'm . . ."
"Cause you're Jewish."
He nods, still laughing.
"And hey . . . uh uh
. . . success!" He bites his lip and I think to myself, "I wonder what
it would be like to kiss him . . ." before I can stop myself. "I want .
. . what?"
I shake my head. "Huh?"
He points to himself.
You were . . . you had a strange look on your . . ."
I know I'm blushing
and I shake my head. "No, nothing, it's just . . . well, I've never . . . served
He nods. "Well, you're
delightful so far . . . ." He looks back at the menu. "What about . . . what
about the Mitchell Omelet?"
I shake my head no.
"You can't eat that."
He looks at me strangely.
"Why can't I . . ."
I point to the menu,
reading from it. "Comes with cheddar cheese, onions, and ham . . ."
"Ah . . ." he says,
looking back at the menu. "Damn the Jew thing . . ." he jokes.
"Okay, suggestion time
. . . Spanish Omelet is the best omelet, Cheeseburger is good . . ."
"I can get a cheeseburger?
It's nine in the morning!" He says incredulously.
"Twenty-four hour restaurant
my friend, that's the wonder of it . . ."
He nods. "Too early,
but . . . good to uh, have the uh, option."
"BLT Poboy, uh, grilled
cheese on a bagel . . ."
"Go back to that .
. . Grilled Cheese on a bagel? Interesting."
I nod. "Well, everybody
thinks I'm nuts, but . . . well, you should know, it's a New York thing, bagel
He nods. "I know, but
uh . . . that's why I was surprised."
I nodded. "Well, for
one, we have a New York Bagel Factory like, just around the corner, plus two,
like, my whole family lives in New Jersey."
"Oh, yeah?!" He asks,
smiling. "So, you're from . . ."
"No, my mom was . .
. when she was young . . . she was from, well, Long Island actually, but they
like, migrated to New Jersey eventually."
"Huh so . . . wait,
let me . . ." he bites his lip. "Do you have a break or something?"
I look around. "Well,
not really, but, this place is empty, so . . . yeah."
He smiles. "Well, listen,
I would love it if you could sit down and talk to me while I wait for my food
. . . ." I'm shocked at that and I think he can tell cause he laughs. "Seriously,
I'm in a . . ." he moves his hands around sporadically. "talky mood."
I laugh. "Well, all
right, yeah, I'd uh . . . I'd actually love to."
He nods. "You want
something to eat?"
I know I snorted at
that cause he barely contained a laugh. "No, I already ate, but thanks . . .
that's so sweet of you."
"That's me . . . sweetie-pie
Jonny . . ."
I nod. "So, what do
you want? I'll go ahead and get your order in . . ."
"I want that, what
you said . . . Grilled cheese bagel."
I nodded. "Jack, Cheddar,
He frowns. "Jack?"
I nod. "That's my choice.
I keep telling Chris we need to get locks . . ."
"EW!" Chris yells from
behind the line.
"Shut up! They're good!"
I yell back.
Jon laughs. "Yeah,
you uh, definitely have family from Jersey."
I nod. "I'll be right
. . . I'll be right back."
I go and I hang up
his ticket. "Never, never talk about nasty locks in my restaurant again, missy
. . ." Chris says as I do so.
I roll my eyes. "Chris,
ya gotta get outta the south, man . . . there's a whole world out there!"
"Hey! I know that!
I'm from Mississippi!" He shouts. I start to retort but he shuts me up by pointing
a malicious knife in my direction. "Shut up."
I giggle and go over
to Katie who's sitting over at the counter reading her Philosophy book. "You
see the guy at table seven?" I ask her.
She looks up. "Yeah."
She looks at me, her
eyes widening. "You're kidding me!"
I shake my head. "I
kid you not."
She lets out a little
squeal. "He's so hot!" She whispers so he won't hear.
I nod. "Even better
She glares at me. "So
jealous . . . ."
I smirk. "And? He wants
me to come over and sit down with him, talk to him while he waits for his bagel!"
"You're kidding me!"
"I kid you not, my
She shakes her head.
"Man alive . . . so damn jealous!"
I nod. "Seriously though,
if it doesn't get busy, could you cover my section so I can milk this?"
She sighs. "I really
shouldn't cause it's just NOT FAIR, but . . . yeah . . . all right."
I kiss her on the cheek
and try not to do a little dance just in case he looks over at me. "You're the
So, I grab a coke for
myself and go over to his table, where he's reading the front page of the paper.
Fourth Case of Anthrax Detected . . . government warns of more . . . I frown
and sit down, my good mood slightly dashed by the harsh blast of reality. "Jesus,
put that away . . . ."
He looks up. "Oh, I'm
I shake my head. "I'm
kidding, if you wanna read . . ."
"No, seriously, had
enough of this crap to last the rest of my life, and what's scary . . . "
"It's only just beginning."
I say, shaking my head.
I lean forward. "Can
I get mushy for a second here?"
He gives me a peculiar
look. "Are you gonna like . . . try to, uh, molest me or something?"
I laugh. "No, man .
. . " I take a deep breath and try to form some simple way of summing up my
feelings. "Look when . . . when it happened, I was in class . . . " I look at
him to see if I need to clarify that "it" but obviously, as in most cases these
days, "it" was painfully clear enough. "My teacher came in and just blurted
it out, but . . . I mean, that's the only way she coulda done . . . there's
really . . . no easy way to . . . ." I took a deep breath again. "Well, anyway,
one of the girls freaks out and says My dad works in tower one,' and runs
out of the class . . ."
"God . . ." he says.
"Yeah, really . . .
so that's when it hits me . . . hey, I've got family there . . . I've got two
cousins that specifically work there, a cop and a fireman . . ."
"Oh, for Gods sake
. . ."
"Fine by the way, they
happened to not be there at the time . . ."
He nods, visibly breathing
a sigh of relief, and I'm truly touched by his honest to God just caring. "Thank
I laugh. "You're telling
me . . . so, I ditched school and came home and started what turned out to be
oh . . . roughly about a six day marathon of news news news . . . ."
"Yeah, I know what
you mean, I don't think I slept one second that whole week."
"And there's only so
much of that you can take, ya know? I was so grateful to tune out for an hour
. . . when I could let myself . . . and switch it off to The Daily Show at 10,
even if it was repeats."
He smiles. "You don't
have to flatter . . ."
"No, dude, I'm dead
serious . . . granted, I didn't crack up like I usually do, but . . . I mean,
if I didn't have some sort of . . . normalcy . . . to like, ground me . . .
I literally would have imploded."
"Well, I'm glad our
show could . . ."
I hold up my hand.
"I'm not even done, Jon . . . ." He smiled and nodded for me to go on. "So,
I tuned in every night, and actually, I was worried that maybe some of you weren't
okay, cause, well, you work right there, so . . . but then finally, the 20th
you came back and . . . ." I have to stop myself from getting emotional and
to my amazement he reaches out and takes my hands . . . he's not doing it to
seem sweet, it was just a natural reaction, that much I can tell just by looking
at him. "You're speech man . . . honest to god . . . was the best thing I've
"Oh come . . ."
"No, I'm serious. You
addressed it, head on, and you . . . you weren't afraid to . . ."
"Cry like a baby?"
he said, with a self-deprecating tone.
"Damn straight, and
you . . . being a guy, I realize that's the uncool thing to do . . . but . .
. Jon, you're . . . you're human, and you had a human reaction . . . and it
was just . . . the best . . . the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
He smiled and blinked.
"Well, I . . . I thank you . . ."
"I don't think you
realize how many people you've helped, Jon . . . the . . . the majority of your
audience, I assume, is people my age . . . people of the Gen-X age . . . and
well, you just . . . you seem to get that. You addressed it the most real, and
assuring way possible . . . and, what light there was, you exposed, you know?
The . . . the firemen, and the unity, and the . . . the Statue of Liberty .
. . ."
He nodded, and I saw
a tear actually fall down his face before he laughed embarrassed and wiped it
away. "Well, I thank you . . . uh . . . Kelly?"
I nodded, laughing,
wiping at my own eyes. "Yeah."
He nodded. "And . .
. all your family is all right?"
I nodded. "Every single
one of them."
He nodded. "Good."
"How about you?"
"Me? Oh, yeah, I, personally,
didn't . . . lose anyone . . . but . . . I knew people who . . . but yeah, all
my family and friends are all right . . . well, as all right as they can be."
I nodded. "Hey, I've
got a question. Have you spoken to Denis Leary since this happened?"
He nodded. "I have."
I smiled. "And, how
is he? I mean, I know he's very . . . emotional about firemen, what with the
Denis Leary Firefighter's Fund."
Jon nods and smiles.
"You're very knowledgeable . . . yeah, he's fine . . . he's of course, devastated,
but . . . he's set up a side fund for New York and . . . he's doing all right."
"Is it . . . hard to
get up every morning and . . ."
He nods. "Yeah, every
morning I try to not look but . . . but I look and I don't see them . . . and
the thing is, at first it's like this . . . just this sense that something's
not right, and then it hits me. Oh Yeah. Cause they were . . . just such a permanent
. . ."
"Yeah, and . . . but
then, I look harder and in the distance I see that.. I see the Statue of Liberty
and . . . I know, it's so corny but . . ."
"It's so definitely
NOT corny." I say seriously.
He smiles. "I really
draw strength from that . . . I really do."
I nod. "I've wanted
to go to New York ever since it happened cause, I mean, Louisiana is just so
. . . far away . . . and, it really . . . it still feels like a movie . . .
and I feel like . . . God, I just wanna do SOMETHING . . . you know?"
He nodded. "I guess
. . . really . . . all we can do is . . . pray . . . let the government do their
job, you know?"
"Jon Stewart, showing
support for George Bush." I say, laughing.
He laughs. "Well, I
don't know if it's support for Bush per se, but Chaney's good, Powell's good."
He sighs. "I don't know. I never supported Bush, but even I have to admit he's
. . . he's done a wonderful job for the people ever since this happened . .
"Yeah, well . . . I
always did, but yeah, you're right, he has done a wonderful . . ."
Katie came over then
and brought his grilled cheese. He smiled at her and she giggled. "I love you,"
she said, turning quickly and running away.
We both laughed. I
take the last swig of my coke and jiggle the ice around. "Well, Jon, it was
very nice to . . ."
"I was just gonna .
"Don't close . . .
stay!" He said, smiling enticingly at me.
I laughed. "I've actually
gotta get back on the floor, or Katie's gonna kill me . . . ."
"Oh, well, yeah, if
ya have to get back to work," he said, actually sounding disappointed.
"I just wanted to .
. . express my thanks again . . . that and, I just think you're such a great
guy, and you're freaking hilarious . . . and adorable."
He looks at me, smiling
warmly. "Thank you. And I can actually say the same thing to you, even though
I've only known you for five minutes."
I laugh. "all right
well . . ."
"Hey . . . when do
you get off here?" He asked.
I looked at he clock.
"Like, two or so." I looked at him, trying not to hope.
"Well, listen, Tracy
is still asleep right now, but . . . how about I take you out to dinner with
us tonight. You can show us the town . . . "
"Tracy's your . . .
wife right?" I asked.
He nodded. "Yeah."
I shrug. "Uh, yeah,
I'd love to if you're sure."
He nodded. "I'm positive,
I'd love for you to join us."
I wrote my number down
on a ticket stub and handed it to him. "Here, you know, if you want to, call
me here, or if you wanna back out . . . well, I'd still prefer a call . . .
but . . ."
He smiled. "I'm not
gonna back out," he assured me, putting my number in his wallet and putting
it in his pocket.
I smile. "Okay, then
. . . great."
He pointed to Katie.
"And maybe your buddy could join us if you want."
I smile even wider.
"She would LOVE that!"
"Wake up baby."
I looked at him oddly.
He smiled at me. "What?"
"Wake up, Kel,"
I laughed. "Did you
just . . ."
"It's time to get up,
honey, seriously, you have thirty minutes."
I sit up in bed and
look at my best friend, Amy. "DAMMIT!" I yell.
A dream . . . it was
all a damn dream! It got my hopes up and everything!
DAMN ALL THE DREAMS!
But what a great dream,
Added November 17,