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by Dan Morey

The pool boy watches the maid set the picnic tables. She covers them with white tablecloths, then puts down plates and silverware and napkins. She’s an old black woman, sweating in the Carolina sun.

At one o’clock the pool boy leaves the pool and joins the motel’s other employees at the tables. The manager cradles two buckets of fried chicken in his arms. “Let’s eat,” he says, placing a bucket on each table.

The manager, bartender and pool boy, all white, sit down at one table. The maintenance man and maids, all black, sit at the other. The pool boy, who’s from New York, looks confused.

“They sit there because they want to,” says the manager.

The pool boy is friends with the maintenance man. They’ve been fishing, down in the Roanoke Sound. He says, “Room for one more over there, Sam?”

The black man glances at him, and goes back to his chicken.

Dan Morey is a freelance writer in Pennsylvania. He’s worked as a book critic, nightlife columnist, travel correspondent and outdoor journalist. His writing has appeared in Cleaver Magazine, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Jersey Devil Press and others. Find him at danmorey.weebly.com.