just trying to get a little service….

I am drinking beer.

I have a table to the side and
am waiting for my
order.

it is one of those chain
restaurants that are
all over the
city.

the food is usually bad
but there is plenty of space
and I attempt to situate
myself
as far from other people as
possible.

it’s not always
possible.

at the nearest table
sit
two fellows.
one is rather ugly and
old
and the other is a young
bland blond boy
in a blue t-shirt and white
walking
shorts.

the waitress is
bending over the table
between them
she is bending over
the back of a
chair
she is
chatting and
giggling…

the poor dear is
clearly
interested in
blue t-
shirt
but she speaks to
both of
them.

then
she
rushes off.

“what a whore,” says
blue t-
shirt.

“terrible ass,”
says the ugly
fellow.

“I wish,”
says blue t-
shirt, “we could just
get waited on
without all the
bullshit.”

there is   nothing much
for a while
then
she’s back
bending over the
chair
talking and
giggling.

“waitress,” I
say.

she doesn’t
respond.

“HEY!   WAITRESS!” I
intone.

she gets off the
chair-back and
faces
me.

“yes, sir?”

“could I have another beer,
please?”

“oh, of
course…”

she trots off toward the
kitchen.

blond t-
shirt
looks at
me:

“you don’t use the term
‘HEY!’ when you address
people.”

“when it’s necessary,
I do…”

“what’s with this old
fuck?” asks the ugly
friend.

“he thinks he’s a wise
ass, that’s
what…”

“remember what we did to
the last wise ass we
ran into?”

the waitress is
back with my
beer.
then
sensing that something
is in the
air
she
vanishes.

I take a hit from the
bottle.

“hey, old man, says blue t-
shirt, “I got something
you can suck
on!”

I look at
him.

“yeah?   what is
it?”

“you wanna step outside and
find
out?”

“any time…”

“that old man thinks he’s
tough,” says the
ugly one.

“you tough, old
man?”

“maybe not
but
I’ll tell you
what:   I’ll step outside with
both   of
you…”

“hey, listen to that,”
says blue t-
shirt.

“he must be
70 years
old,” says his
buddy.

“please don’t worry about
my
age…”

fuck you, old man!”
says blue t-
shirt.

I point casually toward the
doorway and start to
rise.

they get into a
conversation
about
other
matters.

they won’t bother me
any more.

in any  event
I am usually better off
eating at
home–
except for the dirty
dishes.

I take another
hit of my
beer:
something’s always
after a
man.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1986
Source
Original manuscript