“It’s a quarter to twelve, and a nickel to five. It’s a quarter to twelve, and a nickel to five.”
Ribble the waiter repeats this to himself as he walks into the dining room and gives a quarter to a lady at Table 12, and a nickel to a man at Table 5.
Over at Table 8 is a table for four.
Ms. Fit is joined by her three children: Bea, El, and T. Mr. Fit will not be joining them this evening, or any evening going forward, as Ms. Fit has kicked him out of their home – a bungalow, of course.
It had been a day of yelling at the Fit household.
Ms. Fit threw a fit when she learned her husband was sneaking around with another woman. Mr. Fit took off in his car, and she left a post-it note on the front door that read, “Take your things and leave. B, L, and T will live in this bun. with me” before taking the kids out for dinner.
Ms. Fit felt the need to abbreviate her children’s names and the word “bungalow” because she was running out of space on the post-it.
She was throwing her husband out. She hoped that would be the last fit she threw today. For the first time in her life, Ms. Fit didn’t feel like the odd one out. She felt right at home.
Ms. Fit and her three kids had been seated at Table 8 for ten minutes and had yet to be attended to by anyone.
Well, after Ribble dropped off a nickel at Table 5, he heard someone calling out behind him.
“Waiter! Waiter! Waiter!”
It was Ms. Fit. But because she had been crying and blowing her nose all afternoon, her throat had gotten very dry, so when she said “Waiter”, it sounded like “Weigh-tair”.
“Weigh-tair! Weigh-tair! Weigh-tair!”
Ribble turned around and Ms. Fit saw his name tag.
“Weigh-tair…Ribble, yes, Waiter Ribble we have been waiting for at least three weeks. Not only am I parched, but the air circulation in this place is terrible and my three kids are sweating through their Dri-FIT clothing. Can we please get some water?
“Yes, sorry, yes I’ll be right back.”
Ms. Fit lived in a small town, which meant word spread fast. After just a few minutes, she noticed almost everyone at the other eleven tables were whispering to each other, looking at their phones, or staring at her.
Over at Table 2 was a table for two. Ms. Understood and Mr. Pot were out celebrating their two year, two month, and two day anniversary. Some would call them a perfect pair.
But on this Tuesday night, this duo was focussed on Ms. Fit and her children – Bea, El, and T.
Ms. Understood was often slow to process details, while Mr. Pot was almost too quick and liked to stir the pot whenever he could.
Mr. Pot looked at his date and pondered, “I wonder who he cheated on her with?”
Before Ms. Understood could say the word “minute”, Ribble had turned around, thinking she was calling for the waiter. She wasn’t. He misunderstood.
“Wait a minute. I thought she cheated on him.”
“Nooo, it was him.”
“Then why are we staring at her? Why don’t we stare at him?”
“Because he’s not here, remember?” explained Mr. Pot.
“Ohhhh, I get it now.”
“We should go over there and offer our sympathies. Maybe tell her we’ll send over some fresh soup for them, or something.”
“No, no, no…you already stir the soup pot too much at home. The Doctor said…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Doctor said you should give me a hand because I can only stir so much until I turn into Mr. Potato Head and have my hand fall off.”
“I do like when you make potatoes.”
Over at Table 1 was a table for one. It was Mrs. You, the town crier. She was trying hard to hide her tears, but couldn’t. She was distraught about the entire situation.
Mrs. You didn’t deal with separation very well, whether it was when her kids went off to college, when Cory and Topanga broke up on Boy Meets World, or when I Miss You by Blink 182 plays on her iPod Nano. This was a big deal.
She always hoped for a happy ending, believing one person would reach out with a “Miss you” text.
Over in the far corner at Table 12 was a table for three, who were all dressed to the nines. It was supposed to be a fun girls night out for Ms. Poke, Ms. Perception, and Ms. Take.
Earlier, in the lobby of the restaurant they came across an old-fashioned looking machine. If you put in a nickel, it would spit out an uplifting message on a little sheet of paper.
For some reason, Ms. Take was enamoured by it. She hadn’t been acting like herself all day, but this machine had her attention. This would be a good takeaway for her.
She gave it a nickel, nothing happened.
Another nickel, nothing happened.
Another nickel, still nothing.
She wanted her uplifting message so badly, but after giving five nickels to the machine, she gave up.
When the three women were brought to their table, Ms. Take explained to Waiter Ribble that she didn’t get a message from the machine even though she gave it 25 cents.
Ribble replied, “Yeah, that machine ate your money. It hasn’t worked in three years.”
Flabbergasted, Ms. Take said, “It ate my money? I’m sorry, I don’t see that machine sitting at a table. It does not have a reservation. It. is. not. here. to. eat! Busted!”
“You’re taking this the wrong way…I’ll just get you a refund.”
Five minutes later, Water Ribble dropped off a quarter to Ms. Take, at Table 12.
Over at Table 5 was a table for one. A mysterious man who went by the name, Sir Tain. He looked like a character out of a high school drama department, but so did everyone else in this town.
He had long hair that covered his face, rarely looked up, and didn’t talk much – that was certain.
He, too, had been looking for an uplifting message from the machine at the front, though he only lost a nickel. He hadn’t made a fuss to Waiter Ribble about it, like Ms. Take had, but Ribble had seen him at the machine and went to ask how much money he lost.
Maybe Ribble wasn’t that terrible of a waiter after all.
Five minutes later, Ribble dropped off a nickel to Sir Tain at Table 5.
“A quarter to twelve, and a nickel to five.”
Back at Table 8, Ms. Fit and her children – Bea, El, and T – were finished their main course and waiting on a dessert menu.
Over at Table 12, Ms. Take was noticeably silent. Normally, she would be giving a hot take on the Ms. Fit situation. Not tonight. Not even when Ms. Poke was poking and prodding her, trying to get her to say something. Nothing.
Meanwhile, Ms. Perception was sitting on information that would turn the entire dining room on its head.
Ms. Poke, Ms. Perception, and Ms. Take were the first to be seated for dinner. They had requested a table “out of the way”, so they were seated at Table 12.
Ms. Understood and Mr. Pot arrived after them and were given Table 2, for privacy. That privacy didn’t last long because Mrs. You came in shortly thereafter and despite being lead to Table 7, she slumped into a chair at Table 1.
“It’s close to the door and my car is out there…I miss it. I want to be close to it.”
Ribble wanted to ask her why she didn’t just go to a Drive-Thru restaurant, but decided against it.
Every other table filled up except for Table 5 and Table 8.
All of a sudden, in walked Mr. Fit. The entire dining room stopped and stared at him, except the girls at Table 12. Only Ms. Perception saw him walk in, as Ms. Poke and Ms. Take had their backs turned to the entrance. Ms. Perception didn’t let them know he was there. She knew too much.
Mr. Fit was seated at Table 5.
Ribble asked him, “Can I get you something, sir…?”
And just as Ribble pronounced the letter “r”, into the dining room walked Ms. Fit and her three children. In a panic, Mr. Fit reached into his jacket pocket, pulled out a wig, and put it on.
He was a high school drama teacher, after all. He fit the part.
The rest of the dining area had noticed, but Ms. Fit and her children were just focussed on getting to their table – Table 8.
“Sir Tainly! How do you do?”
And with that, Mr. Fit was now undercover.
Ms. Perception didn’t like the “Ms.” prefix in front of her name.
“Ms. Perception is my mother, call me Perception” she would say.
But now, she was about to burst.
She could sense things were about to go wrong, so she decided to do the one thing she knew she was capable of.
She was about to turn Perception into Reality.
With that, she took her glass in her left hand, a knife in a her right, and stood on her chair.
Ms. Take and Ms. Poke had no idea what she was doing.
“Hello, everyone. I am Perception, but right now this dining room needs a taste of Reality! So, Mr. Fit, if you’d like to join us.”
“WHAT!?!?” Ms. Fit yelled.
Meanwhile, Ms. Take whispered to Ms. Poke, “He’s here?”
“I don’t know, but Ms. Fit is. We should go.”
Ms. Fit was frantically looking around the dining room. Her children were sweating right through their Dri-FIT clothing, again.
Finally, Sir Tainly stood up, removed his wig, and Mr. Fit finally looked up from the ground for the first time since his wife and kids walked in.
Ms. Fit, predictably, threw a fit.
“OH MY GOD. The whole time? The whole time?”
Ribble chimed in, “Hey, that’s what the lady in Mrs. Doubtfire said when she realized her husband was the…”
“Shut up, you terrible waiter!” Ms. Fit snapped.
Perception wasn’t done turning the scene into Reality. She couldn’t help herself. She had to spill the beans. She knew who Mr. Fit had an affair with. And she knew that woman was also in the dining room right now.
In fact, she was sitting at Table 12.
Perception started out, “Ladies and gentleman, there is something in my soul telling me to do this, even though there will be pain for the people involved. I can’t help it. We must all face reality. And the reality is…”
Ms. Spoke cut her off.
“It was only a kiss, how did we end up like this, it was only a kiss, it was only a kiss!”
“Ms. Spoke, what are you doing? Mr. Brightside?” asked Perception.
Ms. Spoke and Perception were now whispering.
“You’re going to say you’re the one who had an affair with Mr. Fit and I just wanted to preface it so people wouldn’t get a misperception.”
“Ms. Perception is my mother! And I’m not the one who had an affair with Mr. Fits…”
Perception, yelling now: “SHE DID!”
Gasps filled the dining room as Ms. Fit threw a salt shaker across the room, narrowly missing the woman who messed up her marriage…Ms. Take!
“It…it…it was a mistake!” Ms. Take tried to reason.
Ms. Understood muttered to herself, “No, she’s Ms. Take.”
Mr. Fit was back to making eye contact with the ground.
Ms. Fit launched into a tirade, but only after her children covered their ears with hamburger buns she took from the next table.
At Table 1, Mrs. You was starting to realize the only reunion that would take place tonight would be her and her car.
Ms. Fit grabbed Bea, El, and T, and was about to leave the restaurant when she turned around one last time and said, “YOU, Ms. Take, have been nickel and diming my marriage for months. Months!”
“Actually, it was a nickel and a quarter” Ribble said, confidently.
Mr. Pot jumped in, “You’re misunderstanding!”
“No, silly, I’m Ms. Understanding!”