Patricia Brooks

Tuesdays at the happy family restaurant


            “Get it off or I’ll blast it off!” the man yelled, and shoved a Jumbo Scampi, dripping with cocktail sauce, into his mouth.

            “Do we have our little gun in our sock again?” his wife asked seductively, picking the bit of offending green off her cheek and popping it into her mouthful of spinach salad.

            The man snatched a small silver pistol from his ankle holster and laid it on the table.  “It’s always ready,” he hissed, then shouted, “Waitress!  More wine!”

            An overweight woman in mini skirt and spike heels detoured quickly to the waitress station and grabbed a wine bottle from its ice bucket with her left hand, her right balancing a loaded dessert tray on her hip.

            But her run was intercepted by a huge man at an intervening table, who rose and plunged his pitchfork into her ample breasts, catching the dessert tray mid-drop.

            “My fudge cake!” screamed a toddler in a highchair five tables down.  Brandishing his fork, he clawed at the straps that held him to the chair.  “My cake!  Bad man!  Give it!  Give it!”  Scarcely aiming, he flung the fork at the farmer’s temple, felling the big man with a single blow.  The floor rumbled, rattling the ice cubes in all the long-stemmed glasses around the huge room.

            “That does it!” roared the serial killer from his usual corner table.  “Do I have to clear this room again?  My agent and I are trying to have a civilized conversation here.”  He hefted a sawed-off shotgun with one hand, drew a long-barreled pistol off his hip with the other.  “I’ve about had it with you amateurs!” he growled through clenched teeth.  “I’m the star here!”

            The first-mentioned man rose, dabbed at the corners of his mouth with his linen napkin.  “This is not,” he said with dignity, “my first wife,” and reseated himself.

            His wife leaned forward, stroked his cheek with the tip of her steak knife.  “But possibly his last,” she cooed.

            The SK’s agent had risen, and now passed among the diners, handing out business cards.  “My machine can speak to your machine,” he answered a teenage boy’s question.

            The girl with him rose and dropped her dress.  “Do you deal in this?” she asked shyly.  The agent extended his card with a polite leer.

            But the forked farmer had staggered to his feet, dripping blood into his gray beard.  Muttering curses, he now stalked toward the Men’s Room, catching up the girl in her Victoria’s Secrets under one arm along the way.

            The boyfriend stood and emptied both barrels of his six-guns at the farmer’s back.

            “You are one lousy shot,” the SK sneered, as four other diners slumped in their chairs.

            “All right!  Time out!” the Manager shouted, and the kitchen staff passed among the tables, taking back the uneaten food of the fallen.

            Beside the toddler’s highchair, his mother paused from kissing his pink cheeks to yank the collar around her husband’s neck, snapping, “Get that cake before they take it!  Make yourself useful for something!

            The father dropped from his chair and scrambled across the floor on all fours to the end of his leash.  By stretching both arms, he could just reach the globs of fudge cake and grabbed chunks in both fists, dodging the feet of the busboys to knuckle back and deposit them on the highchair tray.

            “Blaach!” the child spat, vomiting his first bite.  “Fingerprints!”  And he raked his sharpened fingernails down his father’s cheek.

            Beneath the first couple’s table, the wife had skillfully managed to toe down her husband’s zipper while they quarreled about whose turn it was at the second bottle of wine.  “Ready to go?” she asked, licking her lips after her final gulp.

            “Obviously,” he croaked, standing awkwardly.

            “So good to see you again,” the tuxedoed maître d’ crooned from the cash register as they approached.  “Next Tuesday as usual?”

            “We wouldn’t miss it,” they answered in chorus, each sliding a hundred-dollar bill between two of his proffered manicured fingers.

            Outside, six uniformed officers crouched behind their cruisers.  The youngest started to raise his rifle, but the officer next to him pushed down the barrel.

            The woman wagged a finger at him.  “We know our rights,” she said, smiling flirtatiously.

            Eyeing her husband’s crotch, she said, “I’ll drive,” and they climbed into their double-wide SUV.

            The motor roared to life, and the vehicle leaped as the safety brake was released.  The young officer barely had time to stand and get a good look at the woman’s hard nipples as her husband dropped her velcroed top with one snap of his wrist as they sped off.


Patricia Brooks is the author of two novels published commercially (Dell) and more less commercially.  Her short fiction and poetry has appeared in various literary venues, most recently Whirlwind, Blast Furnace, The Voices Project and Narrative Northeast.  She is now writing full-time to complete a four-book series of historical novels set in the slavery era, for which she is diligently seeking an agent/publisher.