You sit here, pumpkin, is that okay? So you can look round the restaurant. Comfy? Good girl. Now, let’s have a look at this here menu. Hmmm. Hasn’t changed. Let me guess what you’re going to have. Chicken nuggets, right? Yes, I know you like them! Mummy did, too. So nuggets and what else? Chips? They’re not very good for you, you know. But as it’s a special occasion … why not? And you can have a little salad to go with it. You don’t want salad? Well, darling, you’ve got to have some goodness. We’ll get you a titchy, tiny salad, and if you eat it up like a good girl, then we can have you-know-what for dessert. Yes, I know! I know you love it. What flavour this time, though? Strawberry?! Again? You’ll be looking like a strawberry! No, daddy’s just kidding. You won’t actually look like a strawberry. That would be silly. Imagine my little girl sitting there with a bright red face and green leaves poking out of her head! Wouldn’t that be a funny sight! No, you won’t turn into a strawberry. Trust me. Now, tell me — what are you going to have to drink? Coca-cola? That’s not very good for you either, but okay, just this once. With lots of ice, right? Right, so that’s you sorted out. Now me, before the man comes. Mmmm … it all looks very nice. I can’t decide. Oooh, you know what? I think I’m going to have the same as you. Chicken nuggets, chips and salad, and Coca-cola, too. Did I? Exactly the same? I don’t remember that. But what’s the harm in having things you like. Mummy always cooked our favourite on a Sunday, didn’t she? The same every Sunday. I used to love that. Ah, those were the days. Me too, darling. And I … always will. What? No, no. I’ve just got something in my eye, that’s all. I don’t know — a little bit of dust or something. Pass me the servi— … okay, I’ll get it. That’s it. See? Dust all gone. Daddy’s better now. So we’ve decided what to order, haven’t we? Don’t worry! I won’t forget dessert. We can ask for that later. I promise, pumpkin. On my life. Yes, and on … your life. Oh, here comes the waiter.
“Have you seen that man over there? No, don’t turn around!”
“How am I going to see him if I can’t turn around?!”
“I don’t know — drop your serviette or something.”
“Whoops, silly me! Dropped my serviette!”
“Did you see him?”
“Yes. What about him?”
“He’s odd, isn’t he?”
“A bit, I suppose.”
“Okay, he’s odd. Can you tell what he’s saying?”
“Not really, no.”
“Anyway … shall we order?”
“Yeah, let’s call the waiter over.”
“Good afternoon. What can I get you?”
“A Neapolitan to share, please. And two Cokes.”
“Yes. Do you think that man’s all right?”
“That man over there?”
“Well, it’s a sad story.”
“He’s been coming in here for years. One of my colleagues told me he’s not from these parts, but he drives through, about the same time every year — end of October.”
“Is he all right, though? You know … in the head.”
“I don’t know. It’s funny … he always orders the same thing twice, eats everything, pays and leaves. But he seems harmless, never been any trouble.”
“Why does he come here, of all places? Not exactly the centre of the universe, is it?”
“She says — my colleague — that he was in an accident, a car accident, just down the road.”
“So, what do you think? He comes here to kind of … commemorate it?”
“Was he hurt?”
“Really busted up apparently, but his daughter … well, she didn’t make it.”
“His daughter was in the accident?!”
“And you think that might have turned his head?”
“I don’t know, but as I say, he’s never any trouble, so we just leave him alone.”
“Yes. Anyway, I’ll get your order.”
Aren’t you hungry darling? You should eat, but I can’t force you. Mustn’t let it go to waste, though. Let me just take your plate. There. These nuggets are delicious. You don’t know what you’re missing. I bet you’ll have space for you-know-what, though, won’t you? I thought so. How many scoops are you going to have, one or two? Three?! I don’t know, you really are a greedy guts with some things. But I do love you very much, my little pumpkin.
Beth Evans says
Great story, stream of consciousness perfect and good dialogue.
Phil Town says
Thanks, Beth, for the read and the kind words.
Ralph Askenazi says
Phil Town says
Great! Really engaging. It’s a pity it ended so quickly.
Phil Town says
Thanks for the positive words, WR.
(In my defence: ‘Short’ Fiction Break 😉 )
dorothy h. turner says
Another heart touching read….Thank you….
Phil Town says
Thank you, Dorothy!