Hawk Eyes — Part two.

[click here to read part one]

Giuseppe runs the Neon Diner on the corner across the street from the library’s parking lot. He thinks the library was owned by the mob during the early ’50’s, what with the abundance of over sized Lincolns that frequented the lush, Honeylocust streets, not to mention the enormous amount of dark roast Giuseppe’s family had to pull over the last 30 years. I suppose that’s why the Neon has the best espresso this side of the highway. Most nights of the week the Neon is brimming over with students, locals and those not so local. During the summer it’s always busy with patrons lining up on the sidewalk for its famous New England Clam Chowder served hot in a freshly baked sourdough bread bowl. The Neon has been on the corner since 1942, it’s open 24 hours a day and is one of the last diner cars of it’s kind in the city. It’s relatively small with black and white floor tiles and adjustable silver swivel seats at the bar. Framed sepia prints line the walls like trophy wins of a bygone era. Giuseppe still uses red and white waxed paper straws for the vanilla malts, something to do with his aversion to plastic and his memories of a childhood accident that almost left him blind in his right eye and unable to smell. For many, the Neon is an icon, to Giuseppe, it’s home. 

Everyday at the same time Hawk Eyes sits at a small corner table next to the window that looks out across the street and into the parking lot. Not the most pleasing view in world but far better than the red brick wall the back window has to offer. A creature of habit, Hawk Eyes will order the same wholewheat salad sandwich and glass of orange juice everyday. Giuseppe says she’s been doing it ever since he can remember. She’ll even read the daily cover to cover before returning to the library. Rarely whispering a word to anybody, like a ghost in the night she comes and goes, with purpose, dignity and a sense of accomplishment. Giuseppe once told me of a time when Hawk Eyes left a small brown envelope on the table. It was the week after Labor Day, packed like a can of sardines, the diner was bursting at the seams with students energized and refreshed from family vacation but by 3pm the tables were empty. Giuseppe was lost in his own world and so busy whistling an off key rendition of ‘Detroit City Blues’ that he didn’t even recall seeing Hawk Eye’s at all that day. He made his way over to the corner table for a wipe down and noticed peeping out from under the coffee stained newspaper, a small brown envelope. The envelope was blank, no name, no address, no stamp. Without thinking twice, Giuseppe opened the envelope.

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