My first stop after making sure the girls had everything under control was the Bighorn Diner. It really was only dawn, after all, which meant breakfast time and I had been wanting to try Miss Ellie’s famous strawberry triple stack flapjacks. It wasn’t like I ever had the time during the day to go out for breakfast and I was totally taking advantage of this one. Besides, it would make my assurances to Mrs. Goslin that I really did need a break from the store more realistic in a way that was easier to explain than “super secret mission for my boss, the Egyptian god.” That would not have been nearly as reassuring.
The Bighorn Diner was everything I had heard it was. The dining room was huge, almost twice the size of mine, and the kind of inviting atmosphere that is usually only associated with idyllic TV shows. The scent of hot grease, fresh organic fruit, and real maple syrup permeated the air and was accompanied by the sounds of people chatting over breakfast, wait staff refilling drinks, and small children chattering about their artwork as they doodled on place mats with the provided cups of crayons. I half expected the Fonz to come breezing in with a kiss for Mrs. B’s cheek and a “hey, hey, hey!”
“Well hello there!” a sweet grandmotherly woman said with a huge smile as I stepped in. “I’ve seen you around town but never here in my diner. You’re Marissa, right? I’m Miss Ellie, the owner of the Bighorn.”
I grinned back and nodded, unable to stop myself from inhaling the heavenly scent of perfectly fluffy pancakes as a waiter walked by with a try for a family seated not far from the door. “I don’t usually have anyone to cover the coffee shop in the mornings, but the Goslin girls are working for me over Christmas break, so…” I said with a bashful shrug.
“So you saw the chance to get out for a bit and decided to make a run for it,” she finished with a hearty chuckle.
“I keep hearing these fantastic tales of made-from-scratch pancakes and decided I just had to try some,” I agreed, not bothering to hide the eagerness in my voice.
“Ah, ah, ah! I don’t serve pancakes here, only flapjacks,” she corrected with mock sternness, just as I had been warned she would. “A table just opened up over there by the window. Why don’t you sit yourself down and I’ll send someone over to take your order directly.” I smiled again and headed over to the booth she’d pointed out, mentally changing my Fonz metal image to one of Miss Ellie’s strapping sons sauntering in to give his mother a buss on the cheek. I could see why the Bighorn was so popular with the town’s shifters, even the carnivores. They wouldn’t get any meat with their meal here, but the soul couldn’t live on red meat alone.