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First Flattop – Part 3 by htflatnc

First Flattop – Part 3
Saturday morning, the alarm went off waking me up at quarter of 6 for what had become my new routine the last week. After rolling out of bed, I walked down the hall, took care of business, walked back down the hall, and slipped on a t-shirt and shorts. I started doing some stretching exercises as I gradually woke up. I trotted down the steps and went outside to the front of the dorm. Jason was already waiting. He was the source of my new routine. Seems he got up every morning at 6 and ran either 5 or 8 miles on alternating days and had done so since he started high school. I had played football and wrestled in high school so running had been part of my training, but not at 6 a.m., and had not run since coming to college. As it was my first week of getting into this routine, Jason could still leave me in the dust, which he normally did towards the end of our run.
Today was no different except I tried to keep up for the last mile. It almost killed me, but I did it. I yelled (wheezed actually) at Jason that I'd pick him up in front of his dorm at 8. Jason had convinced me to start the drive back early so we could stop at a place he knew about 30 minutes out of town. He had gone on about how good their pancakes and omelets were. That's a lot of heavy food in the morning, but I was willing. After all, it was someday. And someday doesn't happen that often. I'd also find out later he had an ulterior motive.
I picked Jason up and as he got in he asked, "Are you ready to get a flattop?”
"Get a flattop? What are you talking about?”
"Don't give me that,” Jason said. "I just talked to my uncle on the phone and he explained what you meant about someday being today.”
"So the cat's out of the bag. Yeah, I'm ready. I'm really stoked. I wondered if this day would ever arrive and I'm glad – and relieved – it's here.”
"That's what my uncle said. He said he thought you would be very happy and relieved to get a flattop. He also explained why he was so eager for me to get a flattop. When I was there Christmas, he said he would let me have his Mustang after graduation if I got a flattop and kept it until I graduated.”
"You didn't get it up front? You're going to wait two years?”
"He won't go back on his promise.”
"I don't think he ever intentionally would. It's just that things can happen that you don't expect.”
"Like what?”
"Your uncle's a policeman. That is a dangerous job. Something could happen to him. And if the deal isn't written down, you'll be screwed.”
"Screwed? No. That's not how it would be. He gave me a push to do what I wanted to do anyway. I never would have agreed if I hadn't wanted a flattop in the first place.”
"Yeah, that's kind of how it is with me. You gave me the push. And your uncle gave you the push. So, I guess he kind of gave me the push as well.”
Jason was laughing now. "Yeah, that's something else he told me just now. He said that he thought he might give you a push through me. He knew we were the same age and both going to school together. So he thought if you saw someone your age with a flattop, you would probably get one as well.”
"That uncle of yours is sly.”
"Yeah, he's a good detective. He has your case figured out.”
I smiled over at Jason and he said we were coming up on the exit for the diner to eat breakfast. By this time, I was really hungry by this point.
"Gus King of Pancakes” the sign outside the diner read as I pulled into the parking lot. The parking lot was filled with pickup trucks and there were tractor trailer trucks parked between the gas station and the diner. This was a sure advertisement of food being good, plentiful and not expensive.
"Hope you're as hungry as I am after that run this morning,” I said.
"I am hungry. Plus I want to see my girlfriend. It's been two weeks. She's Gus's daughter.”
"Is her name Madea?” I joked.
"Madea? Who has a name like Madea? Her name is Madge,” Jason said as he pulled the door open for me.
I walked in and noticed the place was almost packed. No one was waiting and there were a couple of tables that were empty, but needed to be cleared and cleaned.
"Table for two?” a good looking middle-aged woman asked. Then she did a double take with Jason and said "Look at you. I didn't recognize you with your new haircut. That's really something.”
Saying "really something” is one of those ways of saying something without giving any indication of what you actually thought.
"It really is a great haircut, isn't it? Really suits Jason.” I said, pushing the issue.
"It does,” she said, turning around and seeing the empty tables. "Hold on a second, and I'll get them cleaned up.” She got the attention of a guy who looked like he was fifteen or sixteen and motioned over to the tables. He got to work.
"That was Madge's mother, Sonya, and the guy cleaning the table is her little brother, Pete.”
"OK. Madge, Sonya, Pete, I repeated. Sorry, if I don't say them I'll forget them in five minutes.”
We were seated inside of two minutes and a very good looking girl came over to take our order. She was smiling from ear to ear.
"Madge, this is Troy,” Jason said as she got to the table. I stood up and she said to sit. She then complemented Jason on his new haircut and ran her hand brushing the top of Jason's flattop. I think I heard Jason purring.
"Very cool,” I said to Jason after Madge had taken our orders. "She's really good looking, easy to talk to, and best of all, she likes your flattop. Definitely lucky you,” I said.
"Yeah, she's a fox. And I'm very lucky.”
Jason explained this is the first time Madge had seen his flattop, so he was expecting some kind of reaction. And this was definitely a very good one. I'm sure I had seen Jason before he got his flattop, but I had no idea what he looked like. Or at least I didn't think I did.
During the course of breakfast I made a joke that if he wasn't careful, Jason might wind up as king of pancakes as well. He said no way. He was on course to be a jet jockey and didn't want anything else. He wanted to fly jets off aircraft carriers. I then made a joke, "Pancakes, aircraft carriers, flattops: I'm noticing a definite pattern in your life.” Jason laughed and shook his head up and down.
I also asked Jason about his 6 am running routine and how it came about. He said it tied in with playing football and soccer in high school while also wanting to become a jet jockey. He ran that early to get training in for both sports (naturally), but also left enough time to do the studying necessary for pilot training while in high school. He had soloed and gotten his pilot license for a Piper Cub while in high school. Very impressive, I thought. He had continued running after high school because he really enjoyed it and it was good for his new sport, as he put it, the military. Besides, he said, by 8 he was always wide awake when classes started. I couldn't argue with that.
We finished our breakfast (Gus really was king of pancakes), paid, and got back on the road. Jason slept most of the way back to my hometown. I wound up pulling up in front of Roberts Barbershop at a quarter of 11 just as Jason woke up. "So running wakes me in the morning and pancakes put me back to sleep,” Jason said, as we both hopped out of the car.
I pushed open the door of the barbershop as I had over three years ago with slight apprehension, but nothing major. Since I was getting a flattop with no backing out, it was going to be a totally new experience just as it had that day years ago. Someday was here. Finally.

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