3. Lunch in the Third Avenue Sun

By Richard N. Anderson

Alan couldn’t take his eyes off the tall girl with close-cropped brown hair in the Brother Rat’s waitress uniform. Her body was long and angular. A small top, good hips and long tan legs. He turned back to his Bloody Mary and shook his head.

“What’s the matter, Alan. Haven’t you ever dated a waitress before?” Wally Hendricks sat with Alan at an outside table at Brother Rat’s on Third Avenue. “That chick is sending you a lot of messages, my friend.”

The last time the tall, tanned waitress in the white blouse and short brown skirt passed their table she had squeezed the back of Alan’s neck.

“I’ll bet she can squeeze a lot more than that,” Wally smirked.

“Come on, Wally, Jesus.” Alan shifted in his seat and took another drink. “And no, I have never dated a waitress.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know. I guess I’ve never gotten to know one well enough to ask her out. I guess I’m afraid of rejection.”

“Boy I’ll bet you get laid a lot.” Wally picked up the Brother Rat menu to order.

Alan knew it by heart, but searched it anyway.

“Meat loaf Bordelaise,” Wally snickered. “Jesus Christ.”

“It’s on the menu everyday. Somebody must like it.”

The tall waitress came over to their table. “Do you want to order, Mister Robinson?”

Alan looked up from the menu and smiled.

“How’d you know my name?”

“One of the girls told me. She said I was waiting on Mister Robinson and Mister Hendricks.”

“What’s your name, m’dear?” Wally overused that expression. To Alan it sounded more disparaging than affectionate.

“Else. E L S E.

“What is it, German?” Wally asked, as he ate the green decoration in his Bloody Mary.

“Yes.”

“Where are you from?” Alan had turned his chair half way round so he could to look at her without the sun in his eyes.

“Dusseldorf.”

Alan regretted he’d never been to Dusseldorf so he could say he’d been to Dusseldorf.

“Are you ready to order?” She smiled, slipping back into her Brother Rat role.

“Cheeseburger rare,” Wally never seemed to order anything else.

“I’ll have a double shrimp cocktail, Else.” Alan handed the menu to her. She looked at him and in a super split second she winked both her eyes at him. Before he could react, she had turned on a heel and walked back inside the restaurant.

“God she walks well, Wally, did you notice?”

“Always a good sign, Alan. Might be some kind of an aristocrat underneath those Brother Rat’s medieval wench threads.”

“Maybe she’s an actress or model or student or something.”

“Well, I’ll tell you something about Nick Ricci,” Wally took off his coat and draped it over the back of his chair. “He hires class. Gals on their way somewhere else who stop off in New York for a couple of months to make some dough.”

“All thanks to the jet plane, Wally. Youth fares and the jet plane. And speaking of jet planes, Lou wants me to step in to oversee the Lucky Stores television work. Another trip to the coast I guess.”

They talked for a while, disagreeing about whether the amenities at the Beverly Hills hotels were worth the drive to the studios in Hollywood. Alan always stayed right in Hollywood.

Alan was thinking of her fabulous eyes when Else reappeared with lunch. She put the plates down in front of Wally and Alan and, before they could register what had happened, sat on the two-foot high flower box that screened the tables from the sidewalk, leaned over and took a sip out of Alan’s Bloody Mary.

“I’ve never had one of those before.” Her voice was deep. A very good English accent and a subtle tease.

Jesus, Alan, thought. She took a drink out of my glass. She winked at me with both eyes!

As suddenly as she sat and took the sip she was on her feet and spun away again. Over her shoulder she said smiling, “Don’t want Nick to catch me with the customers.”

“Christ, we’re not customers,” Wally yelled as she disappeared in the doorway. “We’re fucking stockholders.”

 

 

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