The Yes Man
by J. Scott Ellis
“Hey, he’s back.”
Mandy paused over the vat into which she was rhythmically crushing lemons. “Who?”
Her co-worker Paulina, wearing a matching uniform of wide red, blue and yellow stripes, said “The freak.”
Mandy followed her co-workers gaze, and then to the clock. She ruefully smiled. 1:33 PM. You could set your watch by it.
“Paulina,” Mandy said, drying her hands, “make me a corndog.”
“You actually eat here?”
“It’s not for me.”
“You don’t mean—"
“I do. Now chop-chop.”
Across the food court, the “freak” started into an upward trot on the down escalator. Descending mall patrons moved aside, pulling their children close, eyes averted, contemplating the mystery of the hand rail.
Mandy took the up escalator next to his. When she caught up, she reversed direction and jogged down at a pace to keep even with him.
“Hungry?” she said.
The man’s head whipped around, wild eyes laboring in separate orbits before settling upon her. “Yes.”
“Wanna have lunch together?”
“Do you say anything else?”
Mandy rubbed her chin thoughtfully. “Am I the most beautiful woman you have ever seen?”
She gracefully vaulted the median, landing a step below him and took his hand. “Come on then.”
He stopped running.
When they reached the bottom however, he planted his toes firmly on the edge of the comb plate and would go no further.
A sweat bead formed on his brow.
“We’ll eat here then,” she said, giving him the corndog.