My new book, Swimming In Quicksand, is available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle format (Click Here To Purchase). If you are interested in a sample of the book, you can get one from Amazon. However, over the next several weeks, I will be posting a bit more of the book than the publisher’s sample. If you enjoy the sample, please recommend this to your friends, colleagues, and family. Thank you.
Mark arrived at Maribelle’s at 11:15. He hadn’t slept well the night before, and the morning seemed to last forever. At 11, he gave up trying to be productive and left for the restaurant. He had to admit he was nervous. He didn’t know what to expect but felt like he was heading for a job interview.
The first thing Mark noticed about Maribelle’s was the color. The outside of the building was a sunny yellow with light orange accents. It looked bright and cheery. The building was relatively small and square, and the front was dominated by two very large windows with southwestern looking wooden frames. As Mark pulled in, he noticed the parking lot was more than half full. “Looks like Joe wasn’t kidding about the lunch rush,” he thought to himself.
The second thing he noticed was the aroma. As he opened his car door his mouth began to water. Even from across the parking lot he could smell grilling meat, hot corn chips, and the zing of a good salsa. “Wow! If it tastes half as good as it smells, I’m going to be in culinary heaven.”
As he walked through the front door, he was again taken by the colors. The sunlight streaming through the many windows landed on light reds, oranges, and yellows. Mark also noticed bright blues and greens here and there. Along the back wall was a mural depicting a town square complete with a fountain. The bright colors and simple style made Mark smile. It just felt happy.
“Can I help you?” said a cheery voice.
He turned toward the cash register stand and saw an attractive young lady with long black hair. Her brown eyes sparkled, and her smile seemed to light up the room. “Ummm… Yeah, I’m supposed to meet a couple of people for lunch.”
“Would they be Joe and Steve?” she asked.
“They sure would. Did they make a reservation?”
“Not really,” she answered, “It’s just their regular day for lunch, and they usually arrive at 11:30, on-the-button.” She glanced at her watch. “You beat them here by about ten minutes.” She walked around the register stand, holding three menus. “Follow me, and I’ll show you to their regular table.”
As Mark followed, he continued to look around the room. The place was very clean and cheery with about 10 tables spaced around the middle of the room and several booths evenly spaced around the walls. Most of them were occupied by people engaged in lively conversations. Every table had a brightly colored Mexican village themed mosaic on top; women hanging laundry, men working on a building, children playing. He smiled again. He was going to have to bring Maggie here. She’d love it.
The young lady stopped at a booth in the back corner, next to a window. Mark noticed the mosaic was of a school house.
“Here you go,” she said, placing the menus on the table. She then turned and held out her hand. “By the way, I’m Maribelle. Welcome. I know you’ll enjoy both the food and the conversation. Steve and Joe are great guys.”
“You’re the owner?”
“Yes sir. As well as hostess, head waitress, chief cook, and bottle washer. I’ll be back in a moment with some chips and salsa. Make yourself comfortable.”
Mark sat down, and within a couple of minutes Maribelle returned with a full tray. She quickly set a pitcher of water, three glasses, a basket of chips that smelled fresh out of the oven, and three dishes of salsa on the table.
“Wow, three different types of salsa!” he said. “How do I know which to try?”
Maribelle smiled and pointed to each dish as she described them. “‘Wimpy’, ‘Spicy but Irresistible’, and ‘Ay Carrumba! But it’s a good kinda hurt!’.” She laughed at the look on his face as she described the last one. “I’d recommend starting with ‘Wimpy’ and working your way up as you get more comfortable. With a flip of her tray, she headed back into the kitchen.
(To Be Continued)