“Hi, I’m Allen and it’s my pleasure to serve you tonight! Could I get you a drink?”
“Sure thing, Allen, double margarita on the rocks with salt.”
Allen paused and stared at me.
“You want two margaritas?”
“No, I want one margarita. A giant margarita. On the rocks. With salt.”
Allen was writing a thesis on his little pad.
“That would be our Special.”
“Great. One Special.”
“You want that frozen?”
“No, thanks. On the rocks. With salt.”
“I dunno. What kind of salt do you have?” And, as soon as the quip left my lips to float on the ether, before I could reel it back for a do-over Allen turned on his heels and headed off into the kitchen.
Over his shoulder he called, “I’ll check!” And he was gone.
Rats, rats, rats and double rats! Memo to self: don’t mess with the waiter until AFTER you get your drink.
The next Ice Age came and went and Allen returned with my Special, on the rocks with salt.
He explained, “We only have one kind of salt, so I used my initiative.”
“I hope you didn’t use it all up at once,” I quipped unthinkingly.
Engaging brain and slipping it into high gear damage control I replied, “The salt. I hope you didn’t use it all up. My, that’s quite a large glass the Special comes in. Yes, indeed, must use a lot of salt. A veritable dome of salt, I’d say…” and I trailed off muttering.
Quickly, I changed the subject.
“So, Allen, you from around here?”
“Yep, born and raised.”
“Here in Allen, Texas.”
“Yep, my home town.”
“Allen from Allen.” I took a pull on my Special. Restraint. Restraint!
“That’s right" Allen continued, "Funny, but I’ve got a friend, Bob, who’s from Bob, Texas.”
I swallowed a chunk of ice, coughing for a few moments. Wiping the tears from my eyes I couldn’t help myself from offering…
“Well, Allen, lucky for you this place wasn’t named Tinkerbell, Texas.”
Allen was still and quiet as the consequence of what I had just said sank in. Then, he bent down close. His eyes narrowed. His brow furrowed. Quietly he hissed so only I could hear.
“If’n the town had been named Tinkerbell, then I would be proud to be called Tinkerbell. Very proud.”
And with that, Allen marched into the kitchen and was gone.
Some time later, I’d say two Ice Ages worth, another waiter came up to my table and offered an explanation.
“Allen’s gone off shift. I’ll take your order. My name is Dallas.”
I decided, for once, that discretion was the better part of valor and placed my order.
“I’ll have two more Specials, and the crow poblano looks good. Yes, I’m definitely in the mood for crow tonight.”