In today’s challenge, you’ll tell the same story from two or more unique perspectives. You can choose from the prompts below, or create your own prompt. The length of your story is up to you — you can write a sentence from each perspective, or whole poems from each perspective or a paragraph from each point of view. The structure is loose so that you can adapt the challenge as you see fit.
The scenario this blogger has chosen:
A waitress welcomes an elderly regular as he takes his seat at the counter in the diner. The man just got word his wife is dying of cancer. The cook watches through the order window.
It was an unusually hot Sunday morning and the diner was unusually empty. A customer would walk in every once in a while, order a cup of coffee, read the newspaper, and leave. If the customer’s in a bit of a good mood, he’d ask for their breakfast special – too fancy a name for a plate of toast, fried eggs, and plain bacon strips. Jamie always asked every person who walked in the diner that day, in an attempt to upsell their overpriced set meal. She was more persistent today but it was a bad day for business.
She sighed heavily, her thoughts drifting aimlessly to Jeremy, Janine, Max, and Chelsea. I will do everything…anything for them. She looked at the diner clock. Half past eleven. Thirty minutes more until her shift is over. Then she’d have to run to town to start her shift at the hardware store. She was too wrapped up in her thoughts she barely noticed a car had pulled up. Her next customer has arrived.
His jaw dropped when he saw the sleek, black Lexus.
“Sweet mother of God,” he muttered, admiring his dream car from behind the kitchen window.
If I sell this darn worthless diner, I would buy that baby. No more covering for disgustingly lazy employees.
The black Lexus owner was dressed down in jeans and plain shirt. He wore a cap on his head. He sat down in one of the tables near the door, his back facing the counter table. No movement from the waitress, who sat behind the counter table staring in space.
Damn it, Jamie. You’re going to lose me some customer.
He rapped on the kitchen window loudly.
Startled, Jamie snapped back to reality and saw Danny watching her angrily. His huge frame was almost bursting out of the window with sweat dripping from his chin. She was terrified. Her boss freaks out at the slightest provocation. She went back on her feet right away and walked over to the new customer.
Pretty face with an empty head. She better convince him to order all our specials or she gets not a penny from me today. I don’t give a fuck about those kids of hers. Now where are those pans…
The kitchen rattled with pots and pans as Danny prepared to cook whatever the gentleman was ordering.
“Hi, welcome to Danny’s Diner. Here’s our menu,” said the tall brunette who just walked up to him and handed him a thick, tattered menu card.
Her voice was soft and her eyes were kind.
“Two orders of your big breakfast special and one cup of coffee with two shots of espresso,” he said finally.
Jamie cleared her throat.
“Alright. Would you like to add some pancakes? And uh, our cheesecake is also the best in town,” she recited her spiel rather nervously, knowing Danny was watching her every move.
He was about to say no when his eyes caught hers. She was all smiles but the tired corners of her eyes betrayed her weariness. Her big brown eyes were imploring.
Say yes please.
“Sure, sweetie,” he said gently.
“Two servings each?”
As the waitress walked away with this order, he took off his black cap, and stroked his gray hair. The diner was quiet except for all that fuss by the overweight cook in the kitchen. There were two or three other customers, all neck-deep in the day’s newspaper. A wave of nostalgia hit him. The diner had lost its former glory. It used to be his favorite place in the world. He and Martha used to hang out there every Sunday from noon until sundown. They’d order a huge plate of fries and a big bowl of ice cream and they’d spend the whole afternoon talking, giggling, and laughing. They were both young then. And he was broke. Now, he had all the money in the world but he was about to lose the most important woman in his life.
“I wish you were here, Martha,” he whispered to himself softly. A tear trickled down his face.
He could hear the cook screaming at the waitress, but the words were muffled, drowned by his own sorrow. He had been driving all night, running away from his reality. All he could hear was the doctor telling him his wife was dying.
I’m sorry, Paul. There’s nothing we can do at this point. We tried every treatment possible.
Jamie came out of the kitchen, pale and horrified. She’d been arguing with Danny and she was obviously shaken. She took a deep breath. Danny told her he was not paying her today. There weren’t enough customers. Fighting back tears, she tried to reason with him but he would hear none of it. He began cursing her and calling her names.
This woman has the nerve to perform poorly on the job and ask for her pay.
Danny watched Jamie as she vainly tried to balance the platefuls of food on the tray. He scowled disapprovingly.
Jamie looked at the kind gentleman but he was deep in thought. After composing herself, she picked up the tray and slowly walked towards him. Halfway through, she heard a loud rap on the kitchen window.
RAP – RAP – RAP – RAP
Danny was shouting “Hurry up!” and tapping a steel ladle against the glass window impatiently.
Jamie stopped walking. She turned around and headed back to the kitchen.
The next thing Paul noticed was the sound of plates crashing inside the kitchen. The overweight cook behind the glass window was dodging the flying plates while the woman – the waitress, he assumed – was screaming hysterically. Judging from the egg bits and bacon strips on the cook’s furious head, his meal had found a target. He couldn’t help but smile. First, a small chuckle. The cook who looked menacing a few minutes ago looked ridiculously scared now. He began to laugh. The other customers joined in the merry chorus.
Paul put his cap back on and reached for his back pocket. He opened his wallet and pulled out a wad of crisp bills. The waitress emerged from the kitchen looking like a mess and he purposefully walked over to her and handed her the bills. She tried to apologize but he stopped her and told her it was okay.
“For your troubles,” he said and walked out the door.
I’m coming home to you, Martha. We’re going to get through this together.
Jamie stood there, stunned. She stood up to her boss. She will surely be fired now. And yet she felt great. Absolutely no regrets. The kind gentleman left her with a LOT of cash. He didn’t even get his pancakes and specials. The diner clock struck twelve. End of her shift. She must move on now. She threw her apron on the counter, grabbed her bag, and walked away from the diner. Forever.