Sittin’ by the Doc on the (Monterey) Bay

Good morning(at least it is morning at the towers) Literati

Here is a quote from Diana Diehl’s wingman, John Steinbeck:

“The writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man’s proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit—for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and of emulation. I hold that a writer who does not believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature.”

—Steinbeck Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech[26]

Our own Diana Diehl has entered our contest Wing Nuts and the sleazy bar seems to be populated entirely by Steinbeck‘s charactersI suppose we should be grapeful for that and just pet the rabbits and eat the pearloined tortillas.

Here is

Cannery Roeoops!Row-double-oops!- THE CANNERY!!

by Diana Diehl

Damn spot.  No matter how hard I scrub, it never goes away.  No one at The Cannery will ever notice but me. This time of night my regulars are well into their cups, car keys safe behind the bar.

Doc is deep in some tome on crustaceans.  He’s sweet on me.  I know, and he knows I know.  He smiles sometimes when he thinks I’m not looking.

The corner table gets loud.  It makes big Lennie edgy.  George calms him down.

“Hey, Babe, we’re gettin’ dry.”  Danny at the corner table.


“Uh, sorry, Sal.  Can we get another bottle?”

I toss a towel over my shoulder and replace the empty Torelli’s with a fresh one.

“Last one for tonight, boys.”

Doc buys me a round. That’s when he walks in.  He looks even meaner than I remember.

“Gimme a Midtown Mechanic.”

Never heard of it.  I guess I’ll just have to wing it. My hand shakes as I lift the bottle of gin.  Like an angel, J.S. walks out of the back.  He takes one look at the guy at the bar, and he knows.

“I got this one, Sal.”

I retreat to the stockroom.  I feel a mountain of history glaring at my back.  After a while, I get the nerve to peek out.  I gotta close the joint some time.

The place is empty and sparkling.  J.S. nods and hands me my tips.

“Don’t worry.  I cleaned up for you.”


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11 thoughts on “Sittin’ by the Doc on the (Monterey) Bay

  1. TiMo says:

    “A mountain of history glaring at my back…” – singularly the winner for the most awesome line I’ve read in this contest thus far, and that’s saying something.

  2. 1948pdobbs says:

    I was so glad to see your name, I knew I was in for a treat! I want to agree with the other two comments about history glaring at your back as being a sentence that jumps out when you read the story. All the rules were kept, great story line and vivid characters. I wonder what a “Midtown Mechanic” tastes like. Maybe Thorn can tell us. Didn’t Steinbeck write “East of Eden”?
    Blessings, pd

  3. Michael Stang says:

    I have to disagree with the consensus about the “history” sentence. The last sentence where Steinbeck admits he cleaned up for her speaks volumns, I would have never thought of it. But, hey, it is why I love to read your shorts…er, I mean your flash…es. Are you on Broadway yet?

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