Image credit goes to awesome artist, Steve Epting. He’s also an illustrator and he currently works for Marvel Comics.
Green note: La vida loca’s not for me: flying here, being there, mostly incommunicado, barely making deadlines. Worked on this story in bits, still working on it…maybe…
“Bunny! Get your ass out here!”
Bunny jumped, nearly dumped the cocaine piled high in his pinky nail. He lifted it to his right nostril and sucked the powder into his head.
“Jesus, Hanford, can’t you give a guy a moment’s peace in the john?”
“Not when there’s tables need bussing! Tables seven and nine need bussing now! Eight’s coming up, then three and eleven, and we got a line out the door!”
“Alright, alright, just a minute!” Bunny hollered back. He snorted one last nail full of coke, capped the vial and jammed it back in his sock.
“Boy, you better quit jerkin’ off and get on out here or your ass will be in the unemployment line!”
Bunny checked his nose in the mirror and pulled his sleek black hair into a ponytail. He unlocked the door, gave it a violent outward shove and came skittering out.
Hanford jumped back, could move fast for a paunchy little man.
“But I just started workin’ here, boss man!”
“Hell’s fire, boy, you’re one hopped-up son of a gun! Hence the name ‘Bunny’ eh?”
“That’s not it, boss,” Bunny said. “It’s on account of my gift to women, if you catch my drift.”
“It sure ain’t on account of your brains, working a busboy job.”
“Are you kidding? I got an IQ of 145.”
“Sure you do,” Hanford said. “Now get on out there!”
Hanford lunged at Bunny. “Git!”
Bunny ran away laughing, grabbed a bus tub on his way past the kitchen and strode into the dining area.
He headed for table seven and began clearing it. A plate slipped out of his hand and he grabbed it just in time to buffer the noise of it hitting the other plates in the tub.
Bunny shot a glance at the couple at table five to see if he’d disturbed them, but there was such intensity there, a tension that seemed unlikely to be broken even by a stack of dishes crashing.
The man’s face looked haggard but his hands were on fire. The index finger of one hand repeatedly jabbed at the paperwork in the middle of the table while the other gesticulated angrily. And his voice, though low, was fierce, spitting, barely under control.
The woman sat quietly, her shoulders sloped and her hands lay limp in her lap, as if she had no energy to do anything more with them, ever. Only her lovely, watery eyes gave expression to her soundlessness.
Bunny rushed his full tub back to the kitchen, grabbed an empty on his way back to the dining room and began working table nine. He couldn’t keep his eyes off the doe-eyed woman, kept stealing pieces of her in glances. She looked so perfect and sepia-soft, so delicate of frame and mind. Bunny’s heart cried for her. He wanted that heartless dirtbag of a man to hurt as much as she did.
Bunny felt anger heat his head. He ran another full tub to the kitchen and came back to table eight where he could get a closer look at the goings-on. He loaded the tub as quietly as he could, collected bits of the dirtbag’s cutting words.
The papers turned out to be a first draft of a divorce petition, and Bunny watched Dirtbag keep pushing them toward his doe-eyed wife, insisting that she read them, add input. She wouldn’t touch them, and Dirtbag looked like he was fixing to blow a gasket.
Bunny ran his tub back and returned to table three, ready to nail the guy to the wall if he started any trouble. But Dirtbag had crumpled. He was now a hunched mass, elbows on the table, head in hands, fingers threaded through salt-and-pepper hair.
Doe-eyes sat forward and took up her water glass in a delicate hand. Bunny watched the sensuous way she brought the glass to her sweet, full lips, watched them receive the glass’ edge and melt against it. He’d seen that before, just like that.
Bunny went through a catalog of actresses in his mind, trying to place her moves. He watched her set her glass down softly. Then she reached her hand toward Dirtbag and touched his arm. Bunny braced himself.
Dirtbag lifted his tired head, looked at her, quizzical.
“I’ll have nothing to do with this paperwork because I’ve done nothing wrong,” Doe-eyes said.
Bunny’s heightened, vibrating senses all funneled into her soft, sad voice. He’d heard it before. He went back to his mental catalog of actresses. Dirtbag said nothing. Doe-eyes spoke to him again.
“I swear I’ve never been unfaithful to you, Charles, and I will not admit to an offense I didn’t commit.”
“That’s it!” Bunny said aloud. He rushed to the couple’s table, said to Doe-eyes, “I know you!”
Doe-eyes looked appalled. Charles sat erect, prepared to defend.
“Just who do you think you are?” she said.
Bunny winked at her. “You don’t remember our Spanish Fantasy?”
“How dare you invade our privacy with your ridiculous—”
“I dare no more than you,” Bunny said. “I believe it was a ‘well hung conquistador type’ you asked for when you called the escort service, and naturally they sent me.”
“Do something, Charles!” Doe-eyes snapped.
Charles stood up, got eye-to-eye with Bunny. “You’re way out of line, sir. Leave us now or I’ll get you fired.”
“No, seriously, I know her! She’s Amora, got a blue butterfly tattoo on her left hip!”
Charles turned to Doe-eyes, raised an eyebrow. “Amora?”
She flushed bright red.
“Finally, that vulgar tattoo has paid for itself as a handy identifier,” Charles said.
“No!” Doe-eyes cried. “It was a lucky guess!”
Charles snatched the papers from the table. “My attorney will be in touch,” he said and walked out.
Read an alternate ending to this story here.
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