“Waiter,” called Walter at the hustling server, a table away already. Walter drank a little wine.

The waiter broke stride and doubled back.

Not a lot of places like this in the Dakotas.

Walter, again, “I think it’s time to mention that my brother—my brother’s Chef Peter. He’s working tonight, right? And the job he did? Not so bad. Please tell him everything was great, let him know I’m out here before you come back with the bill, okay? Will ya, pal?”

Tablecloth joint. Waiter’s in an outfit. The silverware’s nice.

“Ahem, um,” scratching of the neck, a shuffle, “well sir, I’m sorry, but Chef Peter stopped…he, um, he doesn’t work here anymore. You’re his brother?”

“Yes.”

“I thought you looked like him. He just stopped coming in, out of the blue, about two weeks ago. We were all so surprised.”

“Jeez, don’t tell me that.” Looks away to hide contempt. There’s a stain on the cloth tinged pink from the jus from the beef.

“I’m sorry, sir; it’s the truth.”

“I know. Look, I believe you, I’m sorry.” Head in hands for a second, recovers to, “Can you just bring the check?”

It had dripped off of the meat on his fork and he was bothered when he noticed, but he let it happen because he was so full and distracted.

The waiter brings back the bill and there was a mint on it, a green peppermint—the little things—it was more expensive then I thought it would be, per usual.

***

For all installments from 30 Birds, click here.

Previous installments:

  1. “Velvet” by the Bloody Eyes
  2. “Subtle” by Yukio Mishima
  3. “Geronimo Sunset!” by Jun. 27
  4. “My Hero” by Annie Wonoffate Million
  5. “Gender” by Jun. 27, Part 1
  6. “Gender” by Jun. 27, Part 2
  7. “Eel Dogs ‘Til Stupid” by Jun. 27
  8. “Pleasant Town” by Jun. 27
  9. “Daffy” by Herman Barker
  10. “Classic, Ecstatic, and Shocked (My First Kiss)” by John Robert Barnes
  11. I Would/Would I?/Wouldn’t You?
  12. “Fabled” by Jun. 27
  13. “Simpatico Starring Matthew McConaughey” by Harrison Ford
  14. “Tarantella” by Jun. 27
  15. “That Time a Toucan Was in Our Backyard/The Very First Thing I Can Remember” by John Robert Barnes
  16. “Gutwrenching (Sadism in Palindrome)” by the Bloody Eyes
  17. “Maraschino” by John Robert Barnes
  18. “Church and God” by John Robert Barnes
  19. “And a Phanta?smagoria” by John Robert Barnes