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The cook turned from the griddle to smile towards my seat at the diner’s counter, slightly abashed to see me waiting. His name, Garrett, hovered on the flat-panel television behind him, where it was attached to my order.

Garrett bounced in time to the oldies dubstep, frequently checking the timer for the sizzling ham. Most services were fully automated, but a human cook added atmosphere to the charming diner.

I smiled encouragingly. I’d been here frequently enough to get over the fascination of seeing a person cook. I came back for the human connection.

Squinting, Garrett moved his lips as he read directions on the screen above him. After plating my eggs and drizzling hollandaise sauce over them, he compared them to the picture and set my plate down.

Outside the diner’s windows, the sky glowed orange with the rays of fading sunset. I was the last customer.

I took my first bite. Warm eggs, ham and English muffin melded together on my tongue. I nodded approval.Garrett released an audible sigh of relief.“About done for the day?” I asked.Garrett leaned his hip against the counter and waved away my sympathy. “I’m not in any hurry.”“No?” I asked so he’d talk, and I wouldn’t have […]

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