Tag Archives: restaurant

For a Free Day

 

My cat sits on my computer and yowls in my face. She is smashing the letters. 

“Diva, let me do my homework,” I say, pushing her aside and commencing the deletions. 

Undeterred, she sidles back up to me, puts her paw against my thigh, and cuts her claws into my leg.

Enraged, I stand up, and she skitters a safe distance away, conspicuously near the food bowl.

I sigh and go to feed her. She always gets her way.

As I dole the food into the dish, Diva twining around my ankles in smug self-satisfaction, the phone rings.  It’s Gina at the steakhouse.

“Yes?”

“Hey… will you come in today? Kirk was supposed to but it fell through.”

“I have homework to do.”

Diva meows her agreement.

“Please? I’m really in a bind.”

I massage my temples. “Alright… alright, but you owe me.”

I grab my keys, put on my work clothes, and head out. They still smell like the restaurant from last night.

As I shut the door behind me, Diva takes advantage of my distraction and streaks outside.

Fucking cat. 

 

I get to work, put on my apron, and start taking orders. Of course Gina gives me more of the shit tables; the old church ladies who keep their change and never tip. The two-top tables, women who share a flatbread and drink a mimosa, then talk for two hours, picking at their crumbs. A poorly-dressed man with feral eyes who I suspected might be homeless. He asks for his steak cooked rare.

Wednesday afternoons at the steakhouse are never very busy, I don’t understand why she called me in. The way she was talking you’d think the place was on fire.

I go into the kitchen to find Gina gone. Gone. She’d just left without a word to me. I have to host now. It’d actually be an improvement, if I weren’t so angry at her. She might be my supervisor, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a fragment of respect.

I run the whole damn front for the next six hours, until Mina arrives. 

“She just left you?” Mina says as she ties her apron on. Her terse lips tell me she’s been treated this way, too. She shakes her head and punches in.

“Yeah. I’m pretty worn out, so you don’t mind me leaving you with my tables?”

“Tables? You mean table.”

I glance out of the kitchen. The feral homeless man had dashed while I was talking to Mina. Bastard had gotten a free dinner out of me.

Well, that was coming out of my paycheck. I just made $34 for six hours of work.

 

I come home, Diva is waiting for me. She zips back into the house when I open the door.

At least I get tomorrow off. Thirty-four dollars. What’s the point. 

I climb miserably into bed. I’ll shower tomorrow.

I wake up at eight AM. Diva demands food. I feed her, go back to bed, and luxuriate in my blankets, the warmth, the soft sheets. Diva lies in the patch of sun on my bed. I curl around her to share the rays. I’ll get hungry soon, and have to get up. But now, this is where I want to be. Today, I am free. It is a delicious sensation.

The phone rings. I look at the name. It’s Gina again.

Diva slumbers on my chest. She cracks a questioning golden eye at me, which catches the sunlight, lighting her iris in glinting amber flame. I am lost in admiration of her. 

Maybe I’ll skip class today.

The phone rings again. I won’t answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The Restaurant

Today I burden you all with some flash fiction.

 

 

The dying man couldn’t believe his eyes. Another hallucination? Broken as he was, he couldn’t help but pull himself toward it, hope strengthening his limbs.

His eyes ached from the bright, unforgiving landscape, and the sand had worked its way into his deepest joints. His skin was thin, hard leather. This place had turned him into a living mummy.

But hope lay ahead. After an eternity, he reached the threshold, where a waiter in a fine tuxedo politely held the door for him, the epitome of timeless old world culture.

The guest dragged himself through the proffered opening and felt a sudden blast of restaurant air conditioning roll over him like the breath of a benevolent god. He wept dry grateful tears.

“Table for one?” The waiter asked. The man’s graceful manner said he watched the desert eat men every day, and it was no excuse for poor etiquette.

The man opened his mouth to reply and found that his voice had shriveled away. He nodded instead.

“Would you care for help to your table, sir?” was the next question, delivered formally and without judgment.

He managed another nod.

The headwaiter gestured down the hall where two more waiters stood like polite statues. They came to life and aligned themselves on either side of him, supporting him under the arms.

“After me please,” the headwaiter said, and swept into the dining area. The sick man was helplessly carried along in his wake.

“Please take a seat,” the headwaiter said, gesturing at a table for one with a white tablecloth and an array of shining silver cutlery laid out, precise as surgical tools.

Once the man was propped into place, the headwaiter began to speak.

“Our menu has recently changed. The special tonight is a salad niçoise with quail’s eggs, seared sea bass with shallots over a lemon–”

The man cracked open his mouth. Every breath raked the back of his throat like sandpaper. Forcing out words felt like he was trying to exhale a handful of thumbtacks.

“Water,” he croaked, then broke into a weak coughing fit. It was torture; he’d have coughed up blood if he’d had any left.

“Please,” the waiter said, offended. “Allow me to finish. Our menu has recently changed. The special tonight is a salad nicoise with quail’s eggs, seared sea bass with shallots over a lemon risotto, a cold cucumber dill soup, lobster rigatoni with a creamy champignon sauce, and for dessert we have a cooling tiramisu gelato.”

For the first time, he looked his shabby guest in the eye. “However, we ARE a rather exclusive, fine dining establishment. I am afraid I will have to ask you for payment up front.”

Did he even have his wallet on him anymore? The man felt his pockets and was relieved to feel a familiar lump of leather had made the journey with him. It was amazing to him that such a thing could hold value for anyone. What could be more important than water?

With shaking hands, he pulled out the wallet and attempted to work a credit card free. They wouldn’t budge. The desert heat had fused his cards and his wallet into one solid, multicolored blob.

“This is a common issue,” the waiter said. “you don’t happen to remember your card or checking account number?”

The man shook his head.

“That is fine. We are happy to accommodate. You may use our phone to call your bank. If you don’t know their number, you can give us their name and we will look up the number for you.”

The man geared up to speak again. “First… National…” this much speech was all he could muster before breaking into another weak coughing fit.

By the time he recovered, the waiter had looked up his bank, dialed the number, and was waiting politely to hand him the phone. The man accepted it and pressed it to his ear.

“Welcome to the First National Bank phone tree,” it was saying. “Please wait until the end of the recording and listen to all of the options as our menu has recently changed…”

 

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