Friday, May 30, 2008

The First Installment

Here it is, as promised! It is a bit later than I had hoped, but it's here nonetheless, and there will be another one that I will write tomorrow!


“I don’t know, I guess I’m just in a bit of a dry spell,” Shawn told his coworker shortly after she walked into the restaurant. He was leaning against the wall by the server station, twirling a pen through his fingers and watching over the two tables he was serving so far.

“Well,” Maria said as she clocked in at the computer, “Plenty of girls come into this place, maybe you should hang around in the bar after work and try to make some friends?” She smiled mockingly.

“I wouldn’t mind being friends with her,” Shawn said with a nod towards one of his tables.

The front room of the restaurant was narrow, with wooden walls and a painted, concrete floor. The bar was on one side, and a row of nine small tables was on the other. The nine tables were spread evenly against a padded bench that ran the entire length of the wall, and they had chairs on the opposite side. There were two men sitting at a table that was fairly close to Shawn and Maria, and there were two women who were sitting at one closer to the front door. That was the table Shawn was nodding at.

“Which one?” Maria asked, as she squinted against the setting sunlight coming through the windows up front. “The one on the booth side, or the one in the chair?”

“The one in the chair,” he replied while getting lost in a gaze. He was admiring the highlights in her hair, along with her olive complexion.

Maria was finally satisfied with her look and stopped squinting to say, “She’s too old for you.” And she turned back to the server station to rifle through her purse, causing its contents to click against each other.

“What?” Shawn came out of his daydream and stopped twirling the pen to look back at his coworker. “She’s not THAT old…”

“She looks at LEAST thirty, she could be ten years older than you…”

“Yeah, but not more than ten… And that’s not THAT much…”

Maria looked up from her purse to give Shawn a serious look. “She could have babies and stuff, maybe even kids that are significantly older than babies.”

“Well,” Shawn said as he stubbornly crossed his arms, “She’s not wearing a wedding ring, so at least she doesn’t have a husband.” They could hear the two women laughing from across the room, but a quick look confirmed that they hadn’t heard Shawn and Maria talking. The men at the other table were talking quietly.

“Maybe just an ex-husband who’s super jealous and insane.” She gave him another mocking smile, and topped it off with a shrug before going back to her purse.

Shawn turned his attention back to the woman at the table and nonchalantly said, “Maybe I’ll just ask her out.”

Maria let her palms fall to the wooden counter and turned back to him. “Shawn,” she said condescendingly, like she was about to teach him something, “You can’t just ask out someone at one of your tables. It’ll make you look pathetic… Even more pathetic than you already are. Seriously, she’s older than you. She probably has a good career, an elitist group of socialite friends she hangs out with, and as previously noted, maybe even kids. Do you really want to make an ass out of yourself and ask her out while you’re waiting on her in a restaurant?”

Shawn didn’t break his gaze as he said, “The worst thing she could say is no, and I’d still be the same person I was when I woke up this morning.” He looked back at Maria and gave her an imitation of her own mocking smile and shrug.

“Ugh,” she sighed and shook her head. “You really are an idiot. Or just a bucket of hormones, I can’t tell which.”

“Hey,” he said as if he’d just gotten some brilliant idea, “maybe she’ll ask ME out…”

“Ok, I’m definitely leaning towards idiot now…”

“Come on!” He insisted. “Maybe she’s just looking to have fun, not for anything serious, and she thinks a younger guy might be good for her because he hasn’t yet been tarnished by the evils of corporate America! Maybe she’ll be attracted to the blissful ignorance of my youth!”

“The only thing that made sense just now was the word ignorance,” Maria told him with her condescending tone again as she stashed her purse on a shelf below the computer. While she was pulling her hair back, she spoke again, “Seriously Shawn, just go for someone attainable. Don’t stand around here waiting for some attractive older woman to waltz in and sweep you off your feet.”

“Speaking of which,” Shawn raised his eyebrows in excitement, “I should go check on my ladies up there.” Maria shook her head at his goofy smile and watched him walk over to the table to ask the women if they needed anything else. She heard them giggle at something he said, and then watched him return to the server station with the goofy smile still on his face, their empty wine bottle in one hand, and a credit card in the other.

“Excuse me, Maria,” he said as he tossed the wine bottle into the trash and listened to it clank against the sides of the mostly empty can. “I need to run this card for Amy and Christine.”

“And which one is your hot, steamy lover?” Maria joked as she stepped away from the computer, making room for him.

“That would be Amy,” he told her with conviction, “but Christine is paying the bill.”

“Oh no, maybe your lady doesn’t have the fantastic career we thought she might?”

“Nonsense,” he insisted as the credit card processed. “Her friend is just being nice, maybe she paid last time they went out. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go say goodbye.”

Shawn snatched the credit slip out of the printer and walked back over to the table. He thanked the ladies for their visit, said that he hoped they’d come back again, and wished them a good night. He gave Christine back her credit card, along with the slip, and he twirled the pen in his fingers before he handed it to her.

She signed the slip right away and handed it back to Shawn. The ladies thanked him for the service, and wished him a good night as well before they got up to leave. He watched them walk out the door before he walked back over to Maria.

“Well, did Amy give you her phone number? Did she ask you out?”

“No,” he admitted, “but Christine did steal my pen.”

“Your pen?”

“Yup, she signed the slip and threw the pen right into her purse like it was something she did every day.”

“Ugh,” Maria sympathized, “I hate it when people do that.”

“I know,” Shawn agreed, “but what can I do? I didn’t want to look like an idiot in front of Amy.”

“Well,” Maria said sarcastically, “if that were the case, you probably shouldn’t have approached the table in the first place.”


Until tomorrow, my friends...

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