by Eleanor Tylbor
It was a job. No more – no less and a means to an end, the end being the journey home.
“Good enough to eat!” she snickered to herself, adjusting the pieces of raw fish on the platter filled to overflowing with a vast assortment of sushi. Opening her mouth slightly, a thick stream of white saliva trickled down her chin landing squarely on top of the two center pieces of sushi.
“My compliments to the chef,” she said in a whisper, wiping her chin with one of the crisp white linen napkins folded and lined up across the table. Using a small corner to remove the blob of white slime on the fish, she re-folded it and returned it to its place on top of the pile.
Everything had to be perfect for the hungry theatre crowd that had descended upon the buffet like a swarming of bees. It amused her how they jostled each other to gain entry to the food tables, grabbing the sushi and devouring it immediately with obvious relish, repeating the pattern until the platter was devoid of food. They rested only long enough until the platters were refilled and then moved on to the wine bar to wash down the fish.
“Eat my friends,” she thought, musing herself with thoughts of their sluggish but appealing fleshy bodies and the red liquid that flowed throughout.
“Love sushi. Don’t you?” a male voice behind her asked, accompanied by a tap on the shoulder.
“Adore it,” she responded, smiling and showing a large set of pointed yellow teeth, “but then I love eating all things raw.”
His gaze fixated on the teeth, the man backed away his face reflecting a look surprise.
“I meant, of course, that sushi is certainly best eaten raw. Oh my – the platter is empty again. Let me see if I can refill it for you.”
She quickly made an exit waiting long enough for the man to blend into the crowd.
Moving intothe wine bar area, she removed a cork from a wine bottle and inhaled its fruity bouquet triggering images of her former life far away. Memories of home were becoming more difficult to access with each passing day but she willed them away reminding herself that sentimentality could spoil the progress they had made. Control and moderation were the guide words since all was in readiness for the next and hopefully final step. There was still ground work left to be done here.
“For heaven’s sake put the champagne in an ice bucket,” a voice behind her ordered. “Haven’t we taught you anything? Honestly – your type…”
His voice trailed off as he moved down the table, his white linen serviette slapping away invisible crumbs from the tablecloth.
“You call this silverware polished?” he demanded, wiping the fork tines with a napkin. Such a lackadaisical effort but what can one expect coming from…your type? Why we agreed to take you on I’ll never know but only a little while longer, though, thank goodness.”
She felt something building in her chest that slowly moved up to her throat, along with a definite pulsation on the right side of her eye.
“Ignore him,” one of the waiters whispered. “Their kind think they’re so smart but they’ll find out otherwise, very soon.”
“Oh he knows exactly what he’s saying and those words are intentional to maximize their effect on me,” she responded, her gaze now focused directly on the source of her growing rage, the pulsation slowly growing and spreading throughout her body.
“It’s not uncommon for them to address each other in that manner,” the waiter offered, attempting to distract her attention. “I think they call it…sarcasm…”
As his voice droned on she started moving forward slowly at first, picking up speed as she neared her target. The waiter was sampling some of the dishes laid out on the table when she moved directly behind him.
“Can’t any of you do anything right?” he bellowed, spitting liquid back into the soup tureen. “This does not meet our standards! I’ve had it. Tomorrow I’m going to start proceedings to have you all removed. I try and do a good thing and…”
At the point where she was almost on top of him he whirled around, his face contorted in fear with the sudden realization of what was happening. Her trajectory was slightly off that evening having forgotten to regenerate the night before. The head leader had cautioned them to adhere to a daily routine or rapid decline would ensue. The organizer didn’t see the six foot green-grey mass of glowing orange skin and flesh lunge in his direction until it was too late. In fact there wasn’t even enough time for a scream to escape from his throat.
“The sushi could be a little off tonight,” she commented as the features on his face turned into a bloody mass, “and the roast beef is a little overcooked for my taste. Of course I prefer mine more on the very rare side…” she opined. “Now let me ask you something important. Do you think a Chablis or rosé would be better?”
The punch fountain was a particular hit and speculation was rife as to the source of the unusual red tint to it.
She removed the white linen serviette from her uniform pocket and folded it neatly, to be added to the rest of her earthly souvenirs.
“Don’t think you’ll be needing this anymore,” she whispered, patting her now bulging stomach.