The Diner

Edward Hopper, ‘Nighthawks’, 1942

A man’s profession is a ‘dining companion’; in other words, lonesome rich people hire him to accompany them to dinner and hold conversations. In the end he always uses his natural charisma to get them to pay for various extra things such as expensive clothes. 

The main character places high value on his ability to live a life of immense luxury without having to pay a cent. The various places he lives in, clothes, cars and extra expensive paraphernalia are all bought for him by others. One of his most prized possessions is an extremely flashy car given to him by one of his drunk clients who claimed that they were now ‘best friends’ and that only he ‘truly understood him’. 

One day he gets a rare request to dine at breakfast. As he arrives at the predetermined cafe he sees that his client is an average looking young woman dressed in unremarkable clothes. The woman tells him that she changes her mind and that she would appreciate if he accompanied her to various places to the day rather than joined her in eating breakfast. The man is disgusted and is quite prepared to refuse before she offers an amazing amount of money. He reluctantly accepts. 

To his utter fury he finds that they spend the day doing free things (flying kites, walking by the river) that doesn’t even gain him the benefit of getting others to pay for him. He is also additionally peeved that the woman doesn’t buy anything for him. But as the day progresses and they spend more time doing useless shenanigans together, he realises that despite these facts, he actually quite enjoys her company, and the two gradually develop some form of friendship. 

But who is this woman?

***************

(Optional)

As the day reaches the end of its run, the woman admits that she is some famous actress who is actually quite difficult to recognise without her signature makeup and attire. The man recognises this actress’ name due to her having some immense scandal that has caused her career to plummet and all her apparent friends to turn her back on her. She is fed up with her situation and wishes to spend her last day with someone who doesn’t recognise her as her manufactured image. As their time together ends she hands the man the money she promised to give him but he decides not to take it. 

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