Sunday, December 16, 2007

Writing Exercise Results

The task was to write a scene involving yourself and an annoying restaurant waitperson.

1. "Hell-o-o-o. My name is Randol. I'll be your server tonight. May I start you off with a 'tini? The chocotini is my very fa-a-vorite."

"Let's make this easy, Randy . . . "


"Rand'l. Whatever."

"Ran-DAWL, not Randall. I'm a PERSON, you know, not your slave."

"Okay, Ran-DAWL. I don't know what you're smoking, but give me two mediums, black, a pumpkin muffin, a coffee roll, and dozen of those Chocotini Munchkins you're so fond of. And make it snappy. I see the bus coming."

--Dick Margulis

2. Two goombas sat at a Formica table. A platter of steaming linguini di pomadoro crowned with meatballs sat on a platter next to a basket of over-garlicked bread. At the other end of the diner, a door opened and the smell of cheap air freshener and urinal cakes followed Porfirio Ruiz's short black hair, electric-blue silk shirt, and white tie to the table. He motioned to sit. Reedy pulled a chair from a table and sat with his legs around the backrest. Blantan stood behind him.

"Petunia tells me yous want to talk." Ruiz tucked a napkin into his collar, rolled the linguini against his spoon and shoveled a wad of pasta into his mouth. The ends flicked red sauce everywhere.

"Your name surfaced during our investigation of Zack Savage's death."

"I'm not a moron. Savage didn't give you my number. Only two people know that number. One is so brain damaged he can't remember how to jackoff. The other is no longer my son." Ruiz drank a half glass of wine and sopped up his chin with a piece of bread. A goomba refilled the glass.

"Sentimental," Blantan sniped.

"Go piss up a rope, moron. I don't give a shit about you or Savage. I paid the friggen Pope a ton of money to let me adopt those two kids and then I had to build a friggen cathedral to disown them. He crossed himself as he ate. "What's dey done now dat Daddy has to bail them out?" His words and mouth distorted by mouthfuls of linguini. He belched, garlic breath.

"Your son Jack was genuinely concerned," Reedy said, trying to understand Ruiz's attitude.

"He was?" Ruiz put his hand to his chest in mock concern. "He's the one without brain damage. When they hooked up with that idiot. I kicked their asses out, disowned them. No sons of mine are ever going to become jackasses." Ruiz swallowed a whole meatball.

--Dave F.

3. After pestering a fabulous babe at work for six months to go to dinner with me (and being talked to twice by HR), the last thing I wanted on our first date was an annoying waiter.

"I like your Hear no Evil Editor tee shirt," he said.

"Thanks. What would you like to drink, Margie--"

"What do you think of him?" The waiter again.

"Huh? Oh, funny guy. Margie--"

"Real funny or just sorta funny?"

"Real funny, sometimes. Margie--"

"Pretty good editor, too, huh?"

"Sure, dude. Margie--"

"What do you like best, his Face-Lifts or--"

"His Face-Lifts, of course. Margie--"

"Not his New Beginnings?" The waiter seemed really upset.

"You're him, aren't you? You've got the mutton chops and everything."

The waiter was stricken with panic for a moment. "You won't tell anyone, will you?"

--Bill Highsmith

4. The final drip of Hugo's piss plops into my wineglass and he bounds from the table, jabbing his elbow into the back of my head like a rugby player thrashing about in a grudge match scrum. I rise to offer my sincere apologies, and hopefully, to escape, but before my soup-drenched knees can respond to the most obsequious of grovelling reflexes, knives, forks, spoons, cruet and plateloads of my fellow diners' dinners are winging their way towards my skull, flung with a venom unwitnessed since Hitler cut himself getting his tash just right.

'No-one,' he screeches. 'Why does no-one ever compliment me on my beautifully folded napkins!'


5. It had been a rough day, so I stopped into an intimate coffee shop to wind down. I saw him immediately, heading my way, white gloves, white face, and apparently walking into a gale-force wind. It took him about a minute to reach my table, where he held out his hand as if it held a menu. I made a mental note to provide a tip with as much substance as the menu.

"Just bring me a cheese danish and coffee," I told him.

He frowned, then saluted, then started toward the kitchen. But before he'd taken two steps, he stopped. He could go no further, as he had somehow become trapped inside an invisible box. Unable to find a way out he looked panic-stricken.

Realizing the man needed help, I looked around until my eyes fell upon a fire axe behind a pane of glass. I sprang into action, breaking the glass, grabbing the axe, and rushing to the waiter's aid.

I still couldn't see the box, but it was clear from the waiter's hand positions where it was. Incredibly, just as I prepared to swing a mighty axe-blow at the box, it seemed to disintegrate, allowing the waiter to leap from it and run to the kitchen.

I never did get my coffee, but I did receive a round of applause from the other customers.

--Evil Editor

6. Serving the Muse

I chose to dine at A's establishment:
a restaurant well marked for style, panache
and quality, a place for nourishment
of soul and sense - at least they kept the trash

at bay when one's inclined to eat good food -
or so I was informed. I ordered boar
and settled back to contemplate the crude
parade of riff-raff shambling past the door.

"My deeply felt apologies," a voice
beside my elbow murmured. Looking down
I saw the chiseled bones of service hoist
into my view. "Why so?" I asked, a frown

across my brow. "We've had to bar the boar,"
the waiter cringed: "It charged around the place
creating havoc, carnage! Such a chore
to clear the mess - we turfed it out, disgraced!"

Nonplussed, I checked the menu once again.
"What else is there to eat?" The old man smiled,
his lips a gruel of soup. "The chicken, plain,
is rather good - a filling dish, par-boiled."

"But rather boring, I'd have thought?" He shook
his head and said: "You do not understand, young sir,
but plain is best - no sauce to hide the look,
no herb or spice disguising taste! The bird

served bland delights the plate. Just try a breast
or two." I was intrigued, I have to say:
"You use no salt? No stuffing? Just undressed?"
"Oh yes!" he said. "It is the only way

to exercise the muse! We don't allow
ingredients to spoil the meal, the chefs
must work in peace and comfort - once the row
of discontent is banished, gone, they're left

with harmony in which to hone their skills
and arts! A space where they can learn to shape
their honest, soul-full heart-wrought chicken meals
to feed our guests: a dish you can't escape!"


7. So I’m sitting on pins and needles. At least in my mind they’re right there under me, and they’re poking up out of this crushed-velvet pretend-French hoo-ha chair and hurting like, well, like pins in my ass.

I’m waiting for the guy to show, and I’m trying to keep those nerve needles from hurting any more than they have to. It doesn’t help much when this precious, pudgy waitperson waddles over, and I’m not sure if it’s a he or a she looking down at me.

“How are we this evening, Madame?” he/she says.

I look around, and I’m right. There’s no one else at my table. I guess I’m getting the Royal We treatment. Something I’m so used to.

So I say, just to piss him/her off, “We’re fine, thanks. And we’d like to start off, as soon as possible, please, with the wine list.”

And he/she says to me, as though I hadn’t just spoken, “My name is Porter, and I shall be serving you this evening. Would you care…” and he/she looks back and forth from me to the empty seat at my table and back to me again, “…to see the wine list?”

“I’m not alone, you know,” I say. “I’m…waiting for someone.”

“Yes, yes, of course you are, Madame,” says this pudgy Porter person, all warm smile and smarm.

About this time the door opens, and in the guy walks. He’s seated at a table by the window. Near me. Christ. I feel pins actually invading my ass. I think they’re really in there now.

Pudgy Porter hands me my wine list. He watches me watching the guy, and he smiles. A big one this time. I crook my finger at Porter, and Porter leans on over, all ready for a whispery confab.

“Don’t mess with me on this, Porter, honey,”I said to him/her, “or I’ll be finding out what’s down there between your little legs right in this room. Got it?”

And then, Porter got it.

--Robin S.

8. "You're very brave to bring me here," I said to Mark as he seated me.

"Nonsense. I've always wanted to try Cajun-Asian fusion cuisine."

"You're a bad liar, but a very nice cousin." As I began to study the menu, a waiter appeared--barely post-adolescent, with sullen eyes and a smarmy smile.

"Hello, I'm Benjy, and I'll be--"

Mon dieu! Not again! "Our waiter, not our personal friend," I snapped.

"Let me tell you a bit about the history of Wok Full of Gumbo and our specials. Our chef--"

"I already know the history of your restaurant, and I'd much rather read the menu for myself. PLEASE."

"But I need to explain our dishes." He turned to Mark. "Sir, here at Wok Full of Gumbo--"

Mark waved him to silence. "Never mind. Juliette, what do you want me to order?"

At this point Benjy lost it. "Dude, are you going to let the bitch tell you what to EAT? Are you a frickin' man or a frickin' mouse? You're supposed to order for HER! What is she--your sugar momma? Your boss?"

"No," Mark said mildly. "Just my cousin from Paris . . . and the food critic for the Guide Michelin."


9. It wasn't the best bouillabaisse I'd ever had, far from it, and what made it annoying was that the waiter had recommended it so highly. So when he asked how everything was and started to walk away before I'd even answered, I said, "Lousy," which was overstating it a bit, but if I'd given him the usual "All right," he'd have kept walking and I wouldn't have seen him for twenty minutes.

"What's the problem?" he asked.

"The clams are tough, the shrimp are overcooked, the fish has bones . . . "

He sat down at my table. "Man, I'm bushed," he said.

"And . . . you're joining me for dinner?"

"Nah, just resting my dogs." He picked up my spoon. "Do you mind?" he asked, and served himself a spoonful of the soup before I could answer. "Not so bad," he said. "Needs a little salt." He added some salt, then picked up a piece of my bread, dipped it in the broth, and ate that. "Mmmm, love it," he declared. "I don't see what the problem is."

"If you're going to eat part of my dinner, maybe you should pay for it," I told him.

"Hey, pal," he said, "you don't even like it. Better that I eat it than that it gets tossed in the trash or back in the pot. Pass me the pepper, will you?"

I passed him the pepper.

"Word of advice," he said as he finished off my meal. "Next time, get the vichyssoise."



McKoala said...

All great. I think my favourite twists were EE the waiter and the Michelin guide. I also loved the pins and needles image in Robin's.

Dave F. said...

They're all fun. So different from each other.

Confronted with the Michelin Guide, the waiter buys tires. he he he he he giggle...

"We don't allow ingredients to spoil the meal" Egad, what a concept. Unfortunately, tastelessness is not why we eat. I'm sending that to my chef friends to let them ROFL(M)AO.

Robin S. said...

Wow, rik. If I could write poetry like you do, I'd write it.

And it's like Dave said, these are good to read precisely because they each carry their own voice along with them.

I like doing these - doing a writing muscle stretch. Thanks, EE.

Church Lady said...

Hahaha! Liked the 'sugar mama!' Wish I could be one. I have to sell a few books first. Then the babes. Yep. Then the babes...

Loved them all! Really liked EE's second one, number nine.

WouldBe said...

EE, I had an adventure much like your second piece, a Mom and Pop cafe. The waitress was tired and plopped down at my table, and smoked...this was awhile ago. When rested, she invited someone to sit at my table because the joint was full. The guy drove a truck carrying hot tar, so his face was covered with vaseline. Not a pretty sight. The place is still there, but I haven't been back in 20 yrs.

Phoenix said...

I think these exercises serve best to give us deeper insight into the minds and characters of the minions. Amazing how much I think I know about some of you based only on your writing samples. Hmmm... maybe this is why I'm such a misanthropist. ;o)

talpianna said...

With the Guide Michelin line, you have to imagine the manager, attracted by Benjy's hollering, just arriving at the table...