I didn’t think I was going to get a story written today. I’ve got some winter virus and it’s snowing. The snow has nothing to do with my ability to write a story, but it sets the scene for you.
Don’t ask me where this one came from; all I know is I did eat a tuna wrap last week. So there you go.
Table for One
They said at the inquest that it came down to sun-dried tomatoes. That might seem strange to someone who wasn’t there to hear the evidence, but having sat through the whole thing, it made perfect sense.
The arsonist, they said, was a loner (aren’t they always?), or he at least kept himself to himself. He sat alone in the restaurant every day, facing the wall. ‘Not exactly what you’d call a conversationalist,’ said Patti, one of the waitresses, who, by chance, had been having a temporary crown fitted the day of the fire, ‘but never rude.’
Patti’s evidence was crucial: no-one else had ever spoken to him; at least none that were still living. His landlord recalled a brief exchange of words from the day he arrived in the town five years earlier; the man had apparently moved around a fair bit until he’d “found a town where they serve my lunch the way I like it”.
Patti thought he probably only ate once a day, and always the same thing: tuna wrap with potato salad. ‘So you see,’ she told the inquest, ‘he never had a reason to talk. But he always tipped.’
She explained that a new chef had started. ‘He was anti-frills and Food Network, if you know what I mean.’ I don’t suppose everyone present did, but she continued anyway. ‘We said don’t mess with the menu, but I guess he had a vision of his own, like chefs do.’
The man had taken a single bite of his wrap before calling Patti over.
‘He asked me where the tomato was. The only words he ever spoke to me in all those years. “Where’s the sun-dried tomato?”’
The inquest concluded he’d been insane; at least, he was when he ran into the restaurant holding a petrol bomb.
Afterwards, when I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the time my mother forgot to take mustard to the beach for our hot dogs.
© flyingscribbler 2013
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