The new waiter came from Allwick, the town notorious for those seven unsolved murders.
He paused, just a little too long, as he emerged from the kitchen.
“Anything wrong, dude?” asked another waiter.
“I’m watching them stuff their disgusting faces,” he said.
At table five was a middle-aged couple.
“Let’s go for a stroll after lunch,” said the woman. Her companion, lounging in his seat, replied with a drawl. “Nah, the walk to the car is enough for me.”
The new waiter cleared their plates.
At table two, a boy knocked over his milkshake.
His mother leapt up and dabbed with her napkin at the thick, brown liquid. Her husband remained silent, his face flushing. “Brian,” she implored, “please, not now. It was just a little accident.”
The new waiter helped clean the mess.
At table one, an expensively dressed man talked on his phone.
“Yes, buy the cheaper ones,” he said, “Nobody will know, but charge the same.”
The man held out a Mastercard.
The new waiter processed his bill.
At table three, two women drank coffee.
“I’m happy with my new boss,” said the first. The other pouted. “That’s nice for you,” she said. “I still hate my job.”
The new waiter took their order.
At table four sat a man with an older woman.
Looking at him steadily, she toyed with the strap on her shoulder. The sweet smell of delicate perfume surrounded her, like the pheromones of a mantis.
The new waiter did not interrupt.
At table six, a man sat alone and ate.
Soft and doughy rolls of fat completely hid his neck. “Waiter,” he called, “bring me another piece.”
The new waiter did so.
At table seven, an elegant woman considered her nails.
A girl approached her and spoke shyly, “Ms. Blythe, I’m sorry to disturb you, but do you remember me? My name is Chloe – we met last week.”
The woman at the table looked at her with razor-sharp disdain.
“No,” she said, “I don’t.”
The new waiter took the empty glass from her table.
He planned his retribution.