The Red Moustache Manuscripts

The Red Moustache Manuscripts contains vignettes chronicling over a half century of adventures. Some of the stories are amusingly funny while others can be seriously enlightening. So come in and enjoy a truly unique experience!

Eddie's Diner

It was the summer of 1974 and every room was smoke-filled and every empty glass was being refilled in a hurry. It seemed we couldn't get enough, or at least we set no limits to just how fucked-up we could get. Not really sure what our problem was, or if we even had one, but our addictive personalities made us slaves to our demons. The availability of drugs and alcohol, even to minors, made it easy to stay inebriated, high, or both. I really don't understand how we all managed to stay alive and out of jail, but we did. It must have been that everyone was doing the same things and so the blue uniforms just pulled you over and made sure you got home...

Walking in at 3 a.m. was easy when your father was living in New York City and you lived in Massachusetts with your mother. First he'd come home on weekends and then every other weekend...

I became a loose cannon, partying my ass off and disobeying any and all forms of authority. And I wasn't alone. There was a  group of us that partied until long after the lights in most homes had been turned off. We cruised dark, empty streets listening to hard rock playing on noisy eight track tape players shimmed with matchbooks to work properly. The music was rebellious and along with the drink and the smoke, we were always fueled up for trouble...

Occasionally we'd get hungry late night or early morning depending how you looked at it, and Eddie's Diner was open all night. For $1.10 you got two eggs, two strips of bacon, and two slices of buttered toast, with coffee. We used to double it up. Eddie's Diner was a small railroad car, more like a caboose, that was set on an empty lot on Route 1 in Walpole near Sharon. It had already been there a long time before we discovered it. The parking lot was dirt and not very well lit. During peak summer months and in the absence of rain, when you pulled in the dust hovered over the entire place for a few minutes. Once inside it was comfortable. A low, chrome-trimmed, white Formica counter faced the grill and there were small booths around the perimeter and a few in the middle. Eddie always worked the grill and he was a real short order cook, old school. White tee shirt, full-length white apron, a white cap and he could keep hot food coming.

We had gone to the El Bolero in Wrentham for drinks, live music and the opportunity to meet some young ladies. When all we found was alcohol we went looking for trouble. After cruising without any purpose except bad intention, we decided to get some breakfast. It was around 2:30 a.m.-

Eddie was still cooking and his little diner had several empty booths. Ellie immediately chose one in front, next to a window facing the door and he sat down in the middle of the red vinyl bench seat that looked to be original to the railroad car that was the diner. Tommy and I shared the bench across from him. Ellie couldn't handle his booze, at all. We were hoping he'd get lucky at the Bolero, but instead he drank too much and scared any available women away from all us. So, there we were, sitting in Eddie's Diner at  3 a.m., just starting to eat breakfast.

In walked three kids our age, two guys and a girl. She was a "hippie-chick", and nice-looking too. They sat down a few booths closer to the door, middle of the diner, closest to the grill. Ellie saw them walk in and he followed them with his eyes. This was not our first rodeo and Tommy and I looked at each other knowing that this was not going to end well. The eggs were hot, bacon was crisp, and the toast was buttered, but we never got to enjoy it-

One kid, the tall thin one, was wearing a Yarmouth tee shirt. He looked like any other kid during those times. He needed a haircut and better fitting clothes. Maybe it was that those two guys seemed happy and were with an attractive girl that pissed Ellie off. Maybe it was the alcohol, or maybe a combination of everything in his life. After his parents separated and divorced a few years earlier, Ellie developed some real anger issues. He was a good size kid, good looking, heavily muscled, dark skinned with blonde hair and of Latvian decent. His father had a temper and those of us close to Ellie saw that firsthand. Ellie was a fighter and Tommy and I saw it coming even before we decided on Eddie's Diner. We were hoping our intuition was wrong and that a good breakfast would sober him up and we'd all get home without incident...

Ellie looked over at the table where these three kids were sitting and made a real funny face and then he read the wording on the tee shirt out loud, adding his own unique twist to the pronunciation of Yarmouth. At first it looked like he was just going to act goofy and read the tee shirt. He spoke loud so everyone could hear "Yar- mouth". Then he added "sucks dick!" Uh-oh, there's gonna' be a fight. Forks down, backs up. Ellie got up, walked towards their table, and lunged across it and punched the tall thin kid in the face. Eddie jumped over the counter and stopped the fighting and forced all six of us out of his diner and into the dirt parking lot where Ellie immediately got into an aggressive posture, fists clenched, hands up, circling the tall thin kid wearing the Yarmouth tee shirt. Tommy and I are good size and so the other kid stood back and we could see by the expression on the hippie-chick's face that she wasn't very happy. Just as the fight was about to start, through a fast moving cloud of dirt, headlights appeared and a car full of their friends pulled up awkwardly, like a drunk desperate to make last call. Five guys got out of the car in a hurry, headlights still on. The odds had suddenly changed. We were outnumbered.

All of a sudden the kid got into a Karate stance and faced Ellie. Ellie laughed and got into an exaggerated Karate stance of his own, thinking it was a joke. Then without warning, the kid executed a perfect round-house kick that landed hard on Ellie's jaw, stunning him. Nothing we could do but watch Ellie get his ass kicked, not that he didn't deserve it.

Fortunately Eddie had called the Cops and they arrived just in time to save Ellie from getting his drunk ass kicked all over the dirt parking lot by this kid who we found out later, was a third degree black belt.

On the way home, seated in the back of Tommy's car, Ellie hung his head and didn't say much. We dropped him off at his house and with the night finally over, Tommy and I agreed that was the last time we were going out with him. I had been friends with Ellie since first grade, our birthdays were a day apart, but he had turned into trouble and I can't say that it was all his fault. There was no one to help him with his anger or his demons. Eventually his addictive personality took its toll and Ellie was never able to come out of it like the rest of us.

He died before he turned 30 years old...


All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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