Table for One

Submitted into Contest #55 in response to: Write a story about a meeting of a secret society.... view prompt

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Mystery Thriller

I watched her often. How couldn’t I? Why didn’t the rest of them? Maybe that’s why she didn’t mind when she caught me staring at her. Her cheeks would turn cherry-red when she noticed, which only made me stare more intently. She was a robust woman, fatty, plentiful, more than enough of her to go around but I wanted her all to myself. My mouth practically watered as she rang the bell on the counter, arm fat jiggling ever so slightly. A man approached to collect his box of freshly made pastry, probably lemon cakes by the look of them. I had never been a fan, they were far too zesty. I was ticket 39, it wouldn’t be long before I got to watch the tantalizing sway of her arms once more, which was far more appetizing than the dozens of donuts I was retrieving for my coworkers back at the office. I hadn’t been an intern for years so everyone thought it to be an act of kindness and generosity, the act, however, was completely selfish. The truth is I did it for her, but I’d take the brownie points where I could get them, I was up for a promotion after all.

Her back was turned to me while she got my order together, beads of sweat dripped down the back of her neck. I was drooling I’m sure, but I didn’t care. Even if I did, there was little I could have done about it, I was in a trance by that point. I was already approaching the counter by the time she rang the bell. I wasn’t in a hurry by any means I just wanted a better view. I couldn’t help but to lick my lips when her hand hit that bell, I’m not sure if she noticed, but if she had, I’m sure she just chalked it up to the bounty of glazed treats before me. “Twenty dollars, sweetheart.” She said with the warm smile of someone’s grandmother. I handed her a fifty. “Keep the change..” I looked down at her name tag even though I knew her name. I just couldn’t resist myself. “Maggie.” I finished, retaining eye contact. She smiled again, her cheeks that familiar shade of red. “Thank you, darlin’.”

As I walked the couple blocks it took to get back to my office building, I watched the strangers pass by me. Some of them repulsive, some of them quite good looking, but none of them made my mouth water the way that sweet old Maggie did. Against my better judgement I turned back around, not even bothering to drop the doughnuts off to my undoubtedly starving office mates. I made my way back to the cafe and walked past the fidgeting, hungry line of people straight up to the counter. “Is there something wrong?” Maggie asked me, eyeing the boxes I held in my arms. “On the contrary,” I said trying my best to sound as captivating as possible, “Forgive me if this is too forward, but I’d love to have you for dinner,” I said with a quaint smile. She was clearly taken aback, the cherry-red now more scarlet in color. She smiled a suspicious smile, her brows furrowed. “I’m flattered, but I think I’m a little too old for you sweetheart.” She said with a hearty chuckle. “I can assure you, that is absolutely not a problem.” I said, again trying to sound like a gentleman rather than a gawking creep. Her smile disappeared, but her brows remained creased. She was clearly trying to figure out my motives, and rightly so, after all, I was the guy who came in to stare at her three times a week for the past month. “Alright. What time?” She finally agreed. “What time do you get off?” I asked her. “Eight.” She said smiling. “I’ll have a car pick you up here at eight then.” I said returning her warmness, adding my own dash of suave. “Make it nine, gimme some time to doll up.” “It’s a date.” I said as I made my way back out of the cafe’ past the line of irritated customers. I didn’t dare to turn around for one last look at her, I may not have been able to leave, and I had some planning to do.

My coworkers practically cheered upon my arrival. They swarmed like hyenas around the pastries like it was their last meal on Earth. “My man!” I heard a man’s voice call out as he approached the table. The hyenas parted for him, it was our boss Manny, or if you were close, which we were, Emanuel. He shook my hand, squeezing a little too hard (as he always did). “You get me my regular?” As if he needed to ask, I always remembered it, three plain raspberry jelly doughnuts. “Right there.” I said pointing to the three doughnuts designated in a corner of one of the boxes, precisely where they always were. He grabbed two, and bit into one of them. Red jelly burst from the pastry and gushed down his chin, staining his nice white shirt, though he didn’t seem to mind. He looked like a grizzly bear. I couldn’t help but to feel a little guilty, he was the one who introduced me to the restaurant I would be dining in. I should have invited him to partake in the absolutely voluptuous woman I would be enjoying, but I had the same thought that I had back in the cafe’, I wanted her all to myself. He would just have to fend for himself like the grizzly bear he was. I checked my watch, twelve hours before the car would be picking up Maggie. I would get some work done first for appearances, but then I had to make some calls, get the ball in motion.

By six o’clock I had arranged for a car to pick up Maggie, and reserved my favorite table in the joint. The hibachi section, I was the kind of guy who liked to see how the sausage was made. By eight I was back home steam-pressing my favorite red suit, it was a special occasion, months had passed since I had done this, and that guest hadn’t been nearly as pleasing as Maggie would be I was certain. Nine o’clock I was dressed and headed out the door, I liked to be fashionably late, but I couldn’t dilly dally or the restaurant might set off without me. The heavenly establishment was based in the lower deck of a yacht. Surely Maggie would be surprised, perhaps even delighted when she learned that bit of information. Most people weren’t used to such extravagance, but then again most people didn’t have the connections that I did. 

I was greeted on the dimly lit dock by the disturbingly tall man whose name I did not remember. He wore the same suit I had seen him in last, it must have been custom made. What one could only assume was a smile crept over his ordinarily stoic face. I was flattered, he remembered me. “Your table is ready sir.” He said. That was the only thing I had ever heard him say. He turned to walk on the boat, and I followed. The upper deck was full of chattering guests, all of them excited to be seated for the best meal of their life. Most of them were first-timers I could tell, their faces were all unfamiliar. The restaurant was only open once every three months so it was easy to spot them. A dozen people or so I recognized immediately, this night was a tradition for most of us. It was always odd when the regulars weren’t present, to some people it was something of a red flag. I would be surprised if Emanuel wasn’t present, he never missed a night, but I hoped we wouldn’t run into each other. The thought of explaining to him that I hadn’t been courteous enough to invite him knotted my stomach up with anxiety. I was his number one after all, he expected better from me. Tonight, however, manners were out the window. 

As I made my way down the spiral staircase to the lower deck I was hit by an aroma. A smell so delicious, so succulent, my knees almost buckled. All the family barbeques, Thanksgiving dinners, and drunken fast food runs I’d ever experienced combined could not compete with the delicious fragrance of this restaurant. I could hear the sizzling of the hibachi grills past the silk draped tables. The fancy men and women sat at them, ready to spend thousands, not just willingly, but eagerly. Whimsical music played on the piano in the center of the room. “How are ya, George?” I said to the pianist. He nodded and continued to tickle the ivories. Then, I could see her, Maggie. I could hardly recognize her without her head, but I could pick those arms out of a lineup. 

“Please allow me Mr.Morrow.” The waiter said as he pulled out my seat. “Will anyone be joining you?” “No..” I replied, unable to take my eyes off of Maggie’s perfect, naked corpse laid out on the slab before me. “Very well.” The waiter said. I grabbed him by the arm lightly and said, “Bring me a bottle of scotch.” “Yes sir, what kind?” “I don’t care..” My voice trailed off as the chef slid her blade down Maggie’s thigh, severed a substantial chunk of meat, and tossed it onto the butter slathered grill. The crackling and the enchanting smell that followed was worth the ten grand in my book. I could see the jealousy on the faces of the other diners as they waited for their meals to be served, and here I was about to chow down on this utterly delectable woman. They must have been wondering how such an average-sized man could eat a meal so large. Little did they know I had been fasting for five days. Five days of pain and discomfort. Welcomed inconveniences that would all pay off once I could truly indulge myself. I would eat myself to death if I had to. “How would you like it cooked?” The chef asked. “Medium rare..” I responded through my grinding teeth.


August 20, 2020 22:39

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Valerie Rinker
16:10 Aug 25, 2020

Amy said " it really caught me off guard at the end"

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