The repeated quote from not just the wait staff, but the entire Sunday night crew: kitchen staff, dishwashing staff, patrons, pedestrians and (dare I say) even the drunk vagrants in the window experienced a moment of sobriety with a mere glance at the public, and notably explicit, display of affection that was exhibited at table 23.
Table 23. The importance of describing this table adequately is that of the importance of introducing a main character in a story. A character whose presence is strong throughout the plot; an innocuous figure whose innocence and purity is violently stripped via slow abusive torture. The character in this story deserves a Prisoner of War medal. And a note to the grammar nerds reading this- yes, I am capitalizing the T in Table as I am now considering Table 23 a proper noun. It’s the least I can do for this poor table- either a proper burial or a proper name.
Located in a delightfully inviting corner of the restaurant, Table 23 is a table accommodating the booth seeker, as well as the chair seeker. The booth side is a lovely banquette that stretches the length of the three small tables that are evenly spaced apart from one another. The chair seeker has the advantage of having their back against the madness behind them. Undivided attention is thus granted to the banquette seeker. The banquette side offers a view of the madness.
From there, one can see the hustle and bustle of the wait staff as the main intersection from the wait station, kitchen and bar is located just in front of them. At this intersection, bussers dart to and from different sides of the restaurant, hostesses guide diners to their seats, managers frantically run after waiters with a manager card in hand, waiters run food from the line and drinks from the bar and kitchen staff wave their saucepans filled with simmering sauces into the air. Table 23’s banquette is one of the best places to people watch…and as the diners of Sunday night would proceed to prove to us, Table 23 is also the best place to be watched.
A lazy Sunday brought in older couples looking for a quiet night out, a few singles looking to dine and catch up on a good book, a couple of small families and a few regulars. Around 6:30p.m. a couple walks in through the front door. One of my co-workers greets them with his charming southern drawl, and as we were so mellow, offers them seating of their choice.
“Oh, it doesn’t really matter,” they reply.
“Very well,” says my Southern Bell and proceeds to glance around and locks his eyes on Table 23.
“How about a booth?”
The couple follows my Southern Bell to Table 23, the woman sliding into the banquette. The man looks at the table beside them, a sort of middle booth, and asks if they could slide the two tables together to be able to sit next to one another.
“That shouldn’t be a problem,” replies my Southern Bell and assists the new seating arrangement, diners sitting banquette-side.
My Southern Bell wasn’t their waiter, but a different co-worker was. Not particularly out-going, yet not particularly shy and definitely darling, my demure co-worker approaches Table 23 to greet his dining couple. Little did my Demure Darling know what he (and the entire restaurant) was in for.
Couple facing outward, my Demure Darling recited the specials of the evening and took their drink orders. I received a ticket for a bottle of Zinfandel and meandered through the maze of hallways to the wine cellar to retrieve it. Requesting two “nice” glasses, my Demure Darling made his way to the table to present and service them with wine.
Now I mentioned that it was a lazy Sunday in the restaurant, but in the bar? Nada, zip, nil, niete, MUERTO. I picked up my phone to fiddle about on Facebook only to find that my Demure Darling had just updated his status:
“To the two people at table 23 eating each other’s faces off, thanks but no thanks for the unexpected show.”
Before I could find my Demure Darling or peer around the corner, I was paged by the kitchen to pick up an order I had been waiting for, Steak Frites. I set my phone down and made my way to the line to find all of the cooks and dishwashers lined up, side by side looking outward. Thinking to myself, “Wow, they must be bored,” I neared the one plate that sat on the line to find that of the two items that the dish contained, 50% of it was missing.
“Hey Noodles- you do know that the Steak Frites comes with both a steak and frites, right buddy?”
“Uh…yeah. Sorry, give me a minute,” he (hardly) replied.
I looked at him in the eyes only to find that he was in a sort of trance, as though someone had cast a spell on him. Upon further observation, I noticed that all five guys standing at the line had the same dazed look on their face with their jaw slightly dropped. Snapping orders to drop an order of the frites immediately, I turned around to see what had grasped their undivided attention.
My eyes slowly scanned the restaurant, first looking at the windows in hopes it was a new vagrant character. But the windows were clear of new talent. I continued to scan the restaurant now looking for a stunning woman in a remarkably sexy outfit, or perhaps come celebrity chef- alas, I found neither. I glanced back at them to see which direction they were gawking and whipped around, satisfied that I was soon on the right track when my eyes found exactly what they were looking at and I spun right back around. It was Table 23.
The (notably unattractive) couple were glued next to one another, the woman’s hand clamped tight on to the table. I looked at her face that seemed to be refraining from either screaming in pain or ecstasy, and breathing heavily. I looked over at the man sitting at the table only to find that his left hand was buried between the woman’s legs.
Attempting to dismiss this glimpse as a sort of wrong place-wrong time moment, I looked up to find that the plate I had been waiting for was still not complete. The kitchen, with no other view than out, had become so hot and bothered by this display that it had completely eliminated any sort of short-term memory.
“NOODLES! The fri-” and before I could finish yelling at the cooks, a bellowing sound erupted from Table 23. As the sound carried the cooks’ eyes widened and their jaws dropped. I froze in fear as I heard more sound bites that worried me; forks dropping onto tables, knives screeching across plates, clinks of glasses being knocked over, gasps- and worse, these sounds were coming from place other than the initial bellow. I slowly pivoted, terrified at what I would discover caused that sound.
I looked over to Table 23 to find that the man’s hand had resurfaced and was reaching for his glass of wine. The woman, who was panting, catching her breath was grinning as she pinned her hair back and recovered from what was officially, an orgasm.
Horrified, I snatched the now complete Steak Frites and scurried into the bar, grabbed my phone and proceeded to reply to my Demure Darling’s status.
“Oh…My…GOD. I just saw her ‘O’ face.”
The floor staff slowly began to congregate in the bar, one peering around the corner updating the others of new events. We kept asking each other if we should say something, or do something about…them. I turned to my manager asking him if he was going to say something.
“I’m uh…speechless. I don’t want to interrupt, really. It’s just so awkward!”
I glanced over at the line to see that the kitchen staff and dishwasher were still all lined up, now only buckling at the knee periodically and cracking up hysterically. I pretended to drop a ticket in the basket, so as not to seem completely obvious a voyeur, only to find Table 23’s banquette turn into a pull-out couch. The male unit of the couple was completely on top of our female in this equation. As if that weren’t shocking enough, they proceeded to sit up right and the woman continued to shift, only end up straddling the man- and all the while with their mouths glued together in a sort of mother-bird feeding baby-bird manner.
Bolting into the bar with a look of complete and utter disbelief, only prompted the rest of the staff hiding in the bar to rush over to the doorway and peer around the corner.
“Wow,” said my Demure Darling.
“Oh, oh my dear God-” stammered my Southern Bell.
“Holy fuck!” blurted a line cook.
This explicit and erotic display of affection continued on and on only incorporating more wide arm movement causing plates of food to spill across the table. It was coming to the climax of their meal (among other things), and my Demure Darling was hesitant in approaching the table. We all pleaded that he get them out of the restaurant as soon as possible so as to spare us of any other sound effects or positions. Inching slowly away from the bar, he made his way to Table 23.
As he walked over to the table, the man stood up adjusting his pants and made his way to the bathroom, back faced toward us.
As my Demure Darling approached the table, the woman leaned over and harpooned a piece of duck breast with her fork and was savagely chewing on it. Observing the table only confirmed its appearance: a crime scene. Organic baby lettuce tossed across the table, rings of red wine stained into the butcher paper, cracked pepper sprinkled about like confetti and rice pilaf stuck to every upholstered surface possible. Trying to control his facial expressions which would have otherwise revealed a look similar to a scolding, “BAD DOG!” my Demure Darling leaned in with a forced grin.
“How was everything tonite?”
Duck breast being obnoxiously chewed, she looked up with a glazed look her in eyes and replied…kind of.
Trying to not burst out into hysterical laughter, my Demure Darling quickly asked if there would be anything else for them this evening and excused himself from the crime scene just as the man was returning from the restroom. Quickly printing their bill, he zipped back over to the table where I couldn’t help but to walk with him up to the hostess stand and get a first-hand look at the hot mess.
“Thank you, have a good evening,” said my Demure Darling as he lay the bill presenter on the table.
The woman, who we quickly discovered looked much like a Nordic viking short of the horned hat, stood up towering over my Demure Darling only to reveal that her denim skirt (which had enough material to house a Barnum & Bailey circus), was completely scrunched up around her waist, and her tank top pulled down under her bosom revealing that she was not wearing matching under garments.
Stumbling over herself, she twist her skirt down while muttering, “Fuck off-” to my Demure Darling. My jaw dropped (again) as I watched the hot mess attempt to saunter off to the restroom. The busser who had also just witnessed the exchange swiftly leaped over to me to also catch a view of their exit.
The hot mess shortly exited the restroom and clung on to the man like a mollusk as otherwise, she would have crashed to the ground in a scene not unlike the Hindenburg. Staggering through the door, they made their way through the parking lot and into a car.
I turned to my busser who had witnessed her first officially bat-shit crazy moment in the restaurant.
“You should consider shrink-wrapping your body before bussing that table. “