Progressive Alternative Writing Exercises: Well, I Was in a Good Mood When I Came Into this Joint…


Chamomille Tea, a lemon bar, slice of toast and mulberry jam, a scrambled egg, and a large glass of water is what you look forward to every morning when you walk into Ella’s Diner. And every morning you are greeted with a smile from Fisher the cook who makes it his business to peek out from the kitchen just so you see that smile, and sweet ole Lina always says, “morning officer Washington, gonna catch crooks today?”
And every morning you grin and reply, “only if you’re a bad girl Lina. And please, call me Dionna.” Yes, your mornings are routine, simple, and wonderful. They get your days started right. Today though, it is all wrong.
First off, Fisher and Lina are no longer at the diner; they left after the meteorites fell. Ever since that winter day the town had changed. It is now a tourist attraction bringing all sorts of outsiders. That brings up the other reason this morning is starting on the wrong foot.
Locals are quiet, genuinely compassionate, gentle, and always provide a happy smile. Tourists are the opposite. In the diner more than three children are throwing tantrums, five or more babies are crying at a pitch that God would disapprove of, and the sickening aroma of cigarette smoke fills the diner. As you enter you actually choke on it. You want to write tickets and arrest the smokers, but the new owner allows it because it means more money.
So much of the changes involve montary greed. It feels as if the honest folk no longer live in the town. You pray the hype surrounding the meteorites ends soon. As you drink the coffee that tastes like mud, which you only indulge to wash down the rock the owner calls a pastry, some child tourist barges into the diner and screams about aliens. Tourists rush out and there is a moment of peace. Over your radio the chief calls, “Dionna, I need you down at the craters now!” The Chief is far more excitedly panicked then you have ever witnessed during your twenty year career. “Already got army and national guard enroute,” they continue, “you won’t believe it, but some aliens just popped out from one of them meterorites.”
Dear God why?


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