Monday, July 6, 2009

In The Mood (True Story)

Several years ago my co-worker Glen suggested we go for Thai. I was more in the mood for Italian or maybe Mexican, but didn’t squabble because I hadn't had a thing to eat all day. We were stopping for a late lunch after driving a considerable distance that gloomy day to work on bids in downtown Los Angeles. Most places weren’t even serving lunch anymore, as they had closed to prepare for the dinner crowd. The Thai place had a glowing OPEN sign in the window, was practically empty and very dark, so we sat in the front under the sign where we figured we’d have a little more light. A frail old man took our order. I sat in the chair facing the window. My co-worker had a view of the room. I turned around and gave the place the once over, mostly to see where the snickering was coming from. I saw a mature woman carefully pouring tea for a fellow I presumed was her husband at a table not far from us. As my eyes adjusted I managed to focus in on the source of the boisterousness, two young girls dressed like punk rockers sitting at a booth all the way against the furthest wall in the darkest recesses at the back of the restaurant. It appeared that they were feeding one another. I turned back around.

Our beers arrived. Glen drank his straight from the bottle. I used the small frosty glass that the old man provided for that very purpose. We discussed business briefly. But predictably, Glen began to complain about his wife. Male coworkers, (and back then there were hardly any women in my line of work), made a practice of pointing out their wive’s or girlfriend’s various flaws to me. Glen’s wife had lost a baby boy years earlier and had never gotten over it. They had a young daughter but she resented the poor little thing. Or, so Glen claimed. I had my doubts. I’d seen his wife at the company picnic acting like any other loving mother, fussing over the little girl when she fell in the three-legged race, and seeing to it that she didn’t drink too many sodas. 

Whenever he tried to drag his wife through the mud, I’d take up for her and wash her off with my words. “Everyone deals with loss in different ways,” I reminded him. “Maybe you two should go to therapy.” 

Glen offered no response and took a long swallow of  beer. I wasn’t interested in encouraging any of the men I worked with. It was a good old boy network and I had to get along in that hostile envirorment if I wanted to get anywhere. I knew darn well that they were continually testing the water, and I wanted to make it very clear, the water was freezing cold. I wanted to make it crystal clear that I wasn’t interested in fooling around with any of them—no way.

The old man set our plates down and waddled off. I couldn’t help but notice that Glen wasn’t paying attention to his pad Thai, that he was indeed ignoring his fried pork belly and broccoli. Why, the man’s eyes were glazing over. I turned around to see what had captured his attention so steadfastly. Glen didn’t make a practice of ignoring food. I turned around just as the mature woman exclaimed, “Well, for crying out loud!”

The two girls were going at it. One girl was practically straddling her friend. The girl on the bottom, her blouse was open, exposing a breast, and she began to moan as the girl on top ground her hips wildly. I had never seen such a public display.

The woman stood up, “Sir,” she said, waving the ancient waiter over. Before he reached her table she rushed to him and whispered something in his ear. He glanced over at the two girls; they were lip-locked at that moment and oblivious to the scrutiny. The old man backed away, did an about turn, and disappeared behind a curtain and into the kitchen. The woman’s husband begged her to sit down and finish her food. I watched him pop a shrimp into his mouth in one deft move. Like me, he wasn’t facing the frisky lesbians, and like me he preferred to eat his food while it was still hot. I turned around and dug in.

Glen, on the other hand, was completely riveted. His jaw hung slack as he watched them make out. The man was in heaven. I took one of his spring rolls and he didn’t even notice. Glen wasn't big on sharing.

The mature woman jumped out of her chair and stormed into the kitchen when the old man didn’t return. I could hear her in there making quite a ruckus. Her husband just shook his head and continued eating with his back facing the amorous goings-ons. A young woman emerged, tread softly over to the girl’s table, and in a most hesitant and calm manner asked that they vacate the premises.

“What?” The more aggressive girl slid off the other and glared at the woman, “I can’t understand you.”

The Thai woman's accent hadn’t been that thick, I'd understood what she said. 

The mature woman joined the proprietor at the lesbian’s table. “Don’t play act! You heard her. Don't make us call the police,” she said, pointing to the sign over the cash register that said WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE TO ANYONE. “Just pay your bill and leave.”

The Thai woman moved behind the mature woman when the girl slammed her fist against the table and sent dishes and silverware to rattling and chattering. “I am not done eating!” She shouted.

The mature woman said, “We’ll pack it up for you.”

The other lesbian began to button her shirt. “Let’s go Jo,” she said. “I’m finished here, forget the food, it's crappy anyway.” She was full of it, the food was wonderful. 

Glen watched every move the girls made as they paid and went out the door.

“I ate one of your spring rolls,” I told him.

He looked down at his plate. “Man, that was something. I’m turned on.”

Disgusted, I grabbed another spring roll, leaving him only one. “You’re a pig,” I snapped. Getting something off my chest that I wanted to say for a long time.

Glen didn’t seem to hear me though. He downed the rest of his beer, grabbed his fork, and said, “If that lady didn’t break in I think the pretty one might have gotten naked. I really do.”

The mature woman finally returned to the table to join her husband just as he had finished cleaning his plate. “You missed the show,” she said. “Those two were really having themselves quite a time.”

I'm afraid curiosity got the best of me, I craned my neck to witness his reaction. The man studied his wife momentarily, then replied, “I guess I am getting old. I’m hungry all the time, not horny.”

“Oh Ralph,” the mature woman said, then she smiled and poured him some more tea.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.


Nancy said...

Wow! That was quite a story. Can't say what I would have done. Maybe laughed?

Kim said...

I wonder if the mature woman would have had the same reaction if it was a heterosexual couple getting intimate. I hope so!

Daryl said...

Wonderful story, well told, and I want to thank you for visiting mine and leaving such a nice comment!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Thanks, hope the story isn't too racy. I don't think it would have mattered one way or another, if the couple had been hetro I think the woman would have complained anyway. Maybe I should have titled this, "Get A Room!"

Maggie May said...

There are some things that are not appropriate in a restaurant & that couple didn't seem to know!
Well written story!
Thanks for visiting me.

Marguerite said...

Fantastic story, Elizabeth! I think that the mature woman's actions were justified. And instead of "a pig", we call that sort of man "a dog".

Lauren said...

OMG! That's awesome! Gutsy Writer was just talking about laughter. Funny that yours was the very next that I read :). Let me tell you, that one made me laugh. Wow. I love Glen's reaction. lol

Harl Delos said...

Interesting story, nicely told.

When I was 20, I wanted to be a writer, but I couldn't come up with anything to write.

Now that I'm retired, I don't have any shortage of stories to tell, between what I've lived, and what I've had others tell me.

"You can't make up this stuff," people say, and they're wrong. You can - and that's why I was such a crappy writer at 20.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Harl, I couldn't agree with you more. Life experiences teach us and it's too bad that wisdom is not more revered.

Harl Delos said...

I just ran across a quote in Doc Searles' blog - We play the hands of cards life gives us. And the worst hands can make us the best players.

I think I'd rather be a lousy player. As Mark Twain said, of being tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail, if it weren't fer the honor of the derned thing, I'd have druther walked.

Jenn said...

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction most of the time. What a strange thing to have happen in the middle of a restaurant and then for your male coworker to so casually announce that right in front of you. Bleh.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Love the different patrons' and coworkers' behaviors being revealed along with the others.

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

great read Elizabeth, I would have said;


R.Ramakrishnan said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Greetings from Coimbatore,India.I was passing by and took the liberty of reading your blog. Interesting story. Pure fiction I suppose - but then these outrageous things do actually happen these days dont they!

Have a great day.


Elizabeth Bradley said...

Thanks for reading, you guys!

Harl, lately I've been dealt some mighty awful cards, but I'm still in the game and hoping to win a few hands.

Ram, this is a TRUE STORY, one of those weird but true stories. And this happened twenty years ago, when gay couples were more subdued. So, you can see those two girls were very BOLD to say the least.

Cheryl said...

I really enjoyed this story! It felt totally true so I'm glad to read in the comments that it was a true story. Very good depiction of character through dialogue as well. And I'm glad you (the main character) ate Glen's spring rolls!

Woman in a Window said...

love, Love, LOVE this. Your control of understatement is beautiful. The whole thing. And the first spring roll, I laughed and bit my tongue. Yes!