So, it’s Wednesday again, and that means I’m going to share a little teaser to what I’m working on this week. Unfortunately, since a certain 2D, side-scrolling game has been taking up much of my winter break time, I haven’t written anything but a couple hundred words to Truthseer. Alas, I am a lazy writer.
But anywho, I’m going to share with you today another short story of mine, this time called, Of Hope and Horses, based on my adventures of working in a Chinese restaurant. Enjoy!
Of Hope and Horses
“I need my crunchy noodles and, I swear to the Lord, if you don’t get them for me, I’m going to badmouth you all over town. Do you understand me? You don’t even look Asian, so listen and tell your boss: I will say you have rats. Big, ugly, disgusting rats.”
I blinked. “The crunchy noodles are thirty cents each, m’am. Either you buy them of you don’t get them. I’m sorry; store policy.”
Her pink cheeks got even pinker. “Rats!” she called as she stomped out, defeated by my monotone, “With Bubonic plague!”
The next customer, a boy a little older than me with some very attractive stubble, leaned on the warped wooden counter. “Tough day?” he asked.
I managed a smile. “Not too tough. I just pulled a muscle in my neck, got my car stolen, and accidentally swallowed my cat’s medicine, but I’ve had worse.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Seriously?”
I let out a snicker. “Nah, some people are just angry. Got to take it on anyone they can. But me? I’m good. Don’t let it get to me.” He grinned back and his teeth were disconcertingly straight. Not moviestar white, which I appreciated. That always made me feel as though I had yellow corn teeth. He cracked his knuckles on the countertop and I noticed he had Band-Aid hands, knuckles split and cuticles ragged. “So, what can I get you?”
He rattled off his order, staring somewhere above my head as he did so. He ordered what everyone did: wonton soup, beef with broccoli, and extra crunchy noodles, please. He added the last thing as a joke.
“It’ll be about ten minutes,” I replied.
He nodded and set his elbow on the counter, showing me the inside of his wrist. There was a tattoo drawn there, a Chinese symbol. “It means hope,” he said, winking at me like this should mean something even though my dad got hepatitis from getting a tattoo in the sixties and therefore I didn’t really care to see how he marred his skin. “You always gotta have it.”
After he left, leaving eighty cents in a generous tip, my boss put his hand on my shoulder. Mr. Chai, which was what everyone called him even though his real name was something way different, looked like Mr. Miagi, except he was Chinese and didn’t make me wax things to learn karate skills. “That guy?” he said, gesturing out the door. “His tattoo mean horse.”
I looked at the place where he had been, biting my lips to hold back a smile. “Well, you always gotta have horses, right?”
My boss gave me his big Asian smile and walked away, leaving me to ponder what else was lost in translation.