The Specials

"What can I get you, faggot?" This is my waiter, possibly kissing his twenty percent goodbye, but I looked up from the menu anyway, a newfound respect for the boy with no respect for me at all. He's got grease in his hair.

I play along. "Tell me: what is it that makes your lobster ravioli so special?"

The kid looks East, looks West, and then with the dedication of a bad actor auditioning for a role he could never play: "I could tell you that... but then I'd have to kill you- and stuff your entrails into our lobster ravioli."

He paused for the laugh track, turned left and made his exit stage right, amusing if not brand new, and in my head I clicked the tip meter back up to seventeen percent. Seventeen if the mozzarella stick could remember to keep my water glass full.

He wouldn't.

I looked across the restaurant, at the women waiting to get fucked. They came in multitudes, in hungry throngs, in dripping swarms... they came with boyfriends who had embraced complacency and forgotten how to set their velvety lips on fire. They came with husbands who had found mistresses decades ago. They came in teams, in squads of micro-mini's, for support, for defense, to secretly hate the teammate who got chosen as the target of the juice.

They came with their parents on birthday dinners, begging to be stolen away and ravaged in the ladies room, freed from the prison-like convention of the day. They came in the bravest of forms: all alone, no pretense, perfume soak up the skin, pheromones dripping off the nape of their neck, loose strands of hair falling out the tight bun, teeth sink into their own edible lower lip, the itch between their stretch pants making them cross their legs involuntary, bat their eyes and look away, oh no I couldn't, you misunderstand, you just don't get it, you sick brutish man...

A waitress who was not my own drop a blank check at my table with her phone number scrawled on the back, and her name- Martha- written in liquid love above the digits. I watch her ass bounce away in her black lycra sandwich wrap, promising myself I will never call, but her cheeks grind good, her hips functioning independent, and my god I'm only human, can only hold out so long...

The sad secret of this restaurant is that they're all beautiful, all worthy of the sonnets and operas I keep deep inside. Tonight I'm not asking for perfection- just a girl to help me forget the last one. Just a heartbeat and a soul and a pink place where I can lose myself, where I can share my power. Just a woman I can hold a mirror to: give her a night to stop thinking and start feeling, start being, start melting in my arms... our bodies tangled alive in the universal joy. She's out there. In here. In this restaurant tonight. I get to choose her off the menu.

"Have you made up your mind, faggot?" My buddy the waiter is back, faux hawk & lisp & two-day stubble, and I'm tipping the kid 25% because he'll never get it.

I close the menu & hand it to him.

"Yes, my friend..."

I smile and inhale, take a breath of scented air, take in the all beauty in the restaurant around me.

"I have."

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