Romney Schell, At the Disco (1979)

I found myself wandering around Midtown, nearly 3:00am on a Tuesday night, finally single, finally alone. The town that never sleeps was asleep, and the storefront lights were out. A streetsweeper moved up and down Broadway, preparing for the the hordes of tourists that would converge with the first crack of sunglight. The vendors’ carts were packed and gone, the T-shirt shops now finally closed. I had been awake for nearly two straight days, and yet even the thought of bed seemed absurd. If I could just kill another hour, I could then hop the one uptown to see Major. He was still baking at the Donutland on West 96th, and, if I remembered correctly, his shift started at four. He would laugh when he saw me. It had been months. “Single again?” He would ask. “Yes.”

Then I would settle into the kitchen, put on a pair of gloves, and help him prepare the dough. Later, we would talk. At four in the morning though, it was all about the donuts. First the old fashioneds, then the crullers, and finally the cakes. They had to be ready by six, or it would be too late. With donuts, as Major will tell you, it is all about timing. People don’t eat donuts for lunch or dinner. On a Wednesday morning, if the line isn’t too long, if they’re not running late, commuters will stop in on the way to the train, on the way to work. As with many things, the window is small, and once it is closed it is closed.

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