Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions?
Clive glanced out into the courtyard just as the first breath of wind sliced through the muggy stagnant air, stirring the leaves on the sweet bay and dogwood trees in its center. Bright sunlight, streaming from almost directly overhead, cut luminous diagonal swaths across the pale pink stucco and mauve shutters and steely blue decorative balconies (and wasn’t hoisting the new flowers up the ladder to those false balconies every morning a bitch, Clive thought), but now the light seemed to wash out slightly, and lose some intensity, as though the sun momentarily lost some of it’s sway it held over the sweltering August afternoon. And then, as quickly as it appeared, the wind died. The air quickly resumed its oppressive humidity, but in the distance, somehow muffled and amplified at the same time through some quirk of the dense, muggy, New Orleans air, Clive could hear a rumble of thunder. The breeze stirred restlessly again, and Clive looked around at the tables in the courtyard: all were empty save one, and the sixty-something couple sitting there peered nervously at the square of sky above and signaled for their check.
Clive nodded at them and headed to the ALOHA station with a sigh. The couple had split a Monte Cristo, five buck plate sharing charge be damned, and ordered two iced teas. Sweet. Sweeter than sweet, actually, to judge from the half dozen or so Splenda packets they had scattered over the table top. And no upselling for these folks, no matter how charmingly Clive had offered. No to the Sazeracs, no to the gazpacho to beat the heat, and oh, the Bananas Foster sounded tempting, but a flaming dessert when the air already seemed to be liquefying and crawling down their collars was a hard sell to anyone that wanted a courtyard seat. Oh, sure, they all wanted to sit outside when then walked into the air-conditioned restaurant, but once the novelty wore off and they realized there was actually weather out there, well, they were usually too ashamed to want to come back inside. And who suffered? Their server, with the meager bill and the equally meager tip, usually under fifteen percent, but enough to make their total payment a nice, round number. Clive had been working in restaurants long enough to know that type of patron on sight. He dropped the bill in its padded pleather holder on their table and hovered out of sight for just the right amount of time. Returned. Asked if they needed change, was assured they didn’t. Exchanged mutual pleasantries, watched them shuffle back out onto the street. Checked the holder. Twelve percent. Bastards. The thunder tympani-d again, closer now.
Hey look, he's writing fiction!
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