The Intriguing One-LeggedWaiter – Short Story JK.Leahy@
The intriguing one-legged ‘waiter’ perched on a strategic position, high above the dining area, next to an owl’s statue. He waited for his lunch. He caught my eye when I entered the restaurant with my friend Ratna Rashid for lunch today in Brisbane. Next, the one-legged ‘waiter’ flew down to a set table. He blended into the table arrangements.
Amongst the cutlery and the wine glasses, his reflections multiplied and moved as he turned his head from side to side – eyeing the patrons. He waited patiently, not missing a single movement as The Kenmore restaurant slowly filled up. When the first three tables were taken, the one-legged ‘waiter’ flew closer to those tables and listened to conversations, at least that’s what I thought. He was striking a prefect balanced pose – on one leg.
The Restaurant Manager walked out to the alfresco and was annoyed. Quickly, the ‘waiter’ flew up to safety on a ledge, eight metres high. It was almost midday.
As the manager turned his back, the ‘waiter’ flew down and landed next to the first plate of entrée. The patron cursed and brushed the ‘waiter’ and he flew to the next empty table and waited.
The manager returned and shooed the ‘waiter’ and apologised to the patrons.
“It won’t go away, it lives here,” the manager said.
Two more tables got filled. The ‘waiter’ scooped down and brushed the new customers behind the manager’s back, in an almost friendly gesture. Then the ‘waiter’ patiently waited. Looking from side to side at each table the waiter inspected what was served.
Finally, a customer on the first table departed. The ‘waiter’ swooped in and went for the leftover chips. Who doesn’t like chips? As the ‘waiter’ made himself comfortable, the manager returned and cursing loudly – he chased the ‘waiter’ away.
Up into the ledge and another wait while the manager clears the table, not wanting to wait for his staff to take the plates. The minute the manager turned his back, the One Legged Waiter swooped down to the floor – where the last chip had dropped to the floor. Lunch was served.
The ‘waiter’ is a part of the family of local butcher birds in Western Suburbs, Queensland. Thank you Ratna for the lunch and the enjoyable conversation.