A great dinner ruined.
|Writer's Cramp entry: 10/2/2009 (I love Scary Month at WDC. The decorations are so neat, and it really gets me in a horror story mood. With that in mind, write a short story or poem about a romantic dinner interrupted by something supernatural. It can be anything you wish - zombies, vampires, werewolves, anything. But the creatures MUST interrupt the dinner, and the diners must be have a romantic dinner.)
The maître d', an older gentleman dressed in a sharp, black suit, seated Jared and Imelda near a large, pane glass window. He left two menus for them and said someone would be with them shortly.
Jared loved eating at Mikey O’s. He loved the quiet atmosphere, the ambient light from the candles on every table, the classical music playing lightly in the background. As soon as he and his girlfriend, Imelda, had stepped into the restaurant, the aroma of sizzling steaks and other succulent dishes made him forget about her, but only briefly.
“Look at that,” Imelda said, eyeing another couple a few tables away.
Jared looked at her face and then looked behind him, down the room to where a morbidly obese woman and very thin man were dining. They were looking deeply into each other’s eyes, their hands intertwined on the table. “What about them?”
“I bet she’s never on top,” she said, giggling.
Jared gave her a disapproving look and tried to imagine himself outside of the restaurant, standing on the sidewalk, watching yellow taxis speeding by. He would hail one and have the driver take him far away from her.
“Oh, come on. Quit being such a wuss. And speaking of wusses, did you see the rug on the maître d'? God, that has to be one of the worst toupees I’ve ever seen in my life,” she said. “He looks like Elvis on crack.”
Jared tried to smile but he couldn’t anymore. He’d been able to put up with her for three months but great sex could only make her tolerable for so long. Sure, she’d do anything, anytime and any-which-way. Hell, for a brief moment a week earlier, he thought he was falling in love with her. The problem was she wouldn’t stop talking.
She opened the menu, “What are you going to have?”
Jared glanced through the food selections, not sure what he wanted now. “I don’t know…maybe a steak.”
“Ugh, I don’t know how you can stand eating meat. Have you ever seen how they kill cows?”
“You eat meat. You just don’t swallow,” he said.
She grinned but didn’t blush. “Don’t be rude.”
A waiter in a white jacket poured them red wine and took their orders. When he left, Jared went back to looking out the window, watching an old drunk stagger down the sidewalk, people moving out of his way as he neared them. He watched a young couple kiss in a car before they got out and walked into the restaurant. They were holding hands, looking very much in love.
Something made him look back towards Imelda. She’d been quiet and it wasn’t like her to be this way.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
She took a drink of wine. “Oh, nothing.”
“Nothing? When is there ever nothing wrong with you?”
She shrugged her shoulders.
“Something’s wrong. Why don’t you just tell me?”
She sat there staring at her glass. Jared knew she had something to say, but what was it?
“Do you love me?” she said.
“What?” Jared seemed to be taken aback by the question.
“Do you love me?”
“Uh, sure. Of course. Why? Do you love me?” He wanted her to say ‘no.’ Then he asked himself why he had said ‘yes.’ To spare her feelings? It was ridiculous because she’d never really shown him affection before. Even when they were intimate, there was no affection in any of it.
“I don’t love you,” she said. “In fact…I think you should know something…I’ve been sleeping with Tom.”
He found it strange that he had no desire to strike her or strangle her. “For how long?”
“About a month?”
“You know,” he said, smiling, “I wouldn’t have given a damn if it’d been anybody else. But Tom? My best friend? That’s low even for you.”
She refilled her glass. “Well, somebody’s got to do me right.”
“You little c—”
The waiter plopped their steaming plates in front of them and said, “Bon appetit.”
He couldn’t help but smell his food. For a moment, everything was right in his life.
“Look, let’s not fight,” she said. “Why don’t we just enjoy this last meal together?”
He was going to walk off, any other normal human being would. But Jared had another idea. He looked into her blue eyes for a short time and said, “Why the hell not?”
He cut into his juicy steak and she began to twirl pasta around her fork, their utensils clanking against their plates. Both of them made quiet, primal noises of pleasure as they chewed. Looking outside, Jared saw a moth fluttering around the light of a lamp post. He focused on it, locking his glare onto its soft, powdery body as it flew in figure eights around that which attracted the small, winged creature.
Then it vanished.
Jared took another forkful of steak for himself and then watched Imelda chew, concentrating on her mouth as she masticated with her pouty lips closed tightly. He waited for her change of expression until he could see her slow her chewing and then stop. She made a face as if she’d just smelled a skunk and then looked around for a good place to spit out her food. The taste appeared to be too much for her to bear because she just spat onto her plate.
And there it was, mixed in with her spaghetti; the moth. It’d been chewed up a little bit but you could easily see the intricate markings on its wings. She screamed and shoved herself away from the table. Everyone looked at her with wide eyes as she ran to the ladies’ room. Everyone could hear her retching.
The diners sitting closest to the restrooms wiped their mouths with cloth napkins and raised their hands for their checks.
Jared smiled and scooted back, stood up and pulled cash from his pocket. He thumbed through folded twenties but then snickered and walked out of Mikey O’s.