I had put on a suit for this shit. Ironed the motherfucker myself because this was the sixth time and I wasn’t failing again. Plan B was an ugly woman whose tits you cried into. It was Plan A or nothing. Tiger town. Dusty roads like varicose veins on a fat woman’s leg. My arse hurt. This fucking suit was restricting my movements, but my hands were on the wheel because the veins were trying to push the whole car into the grass. Parked. An elderly couple walked to their car. That was the worst fucking meal I’ve ever had, said the old man. Liars. They just chose the wrong one. Everything painted with the same brush and I thought about incinerating those old bastards, but you can’t get to everything. Why was I so angry? What did you order? I said to the old man. He ignored me or didn’t hear me but I didn’t care. WHAT DID YOU ORDER? I said.
What? he said, looking at me like I’d killed his pet and made his wife fuck it.
WHAT DID YOU FUCKING ORDER?! I said, flames in my eyes, but only I was getting burnt.
Meat, he said.
Cow, I think.
You don’t even know what you ate! I said.
What’s it to you? said his wife.
Shut you’re fucking hole, I said.
No, she said.
How about I kick your anus? said the old guy. Like a train derailed and on its side, I couldn’t move. Thoughts flashed in and out. 8mm film with missing frames. A leather shoe belting into an anus. Over and over again like a hammer to a nail. What was on the other side and would the shoe fit? I snapped out of it and they had escaped. A trail of dust was the only evidence they’d been here. My shoes were dirty.
Inside. Any old table would do for my mission. A table with a window view? Only if I could punch her off the chair but there were enough denture scars on my knuckles and I didn’t want to talk about it. Not now. Not ever. The corner would do. Service like what’s given to an unwanted guest. Fuck these cunts, I was in a goddamn suit. Ironed. I banged on the table and the half retarded, half awake waitress slid over like a hovercraft on choppy seas. You haven’t looked at the menu, she said.
I don’t need to, I said.
Everyone looks at the menu.
Everyone is a fucking idiot.
Well you best look at the menu.
Because you’re a fucking idiot.
DO YOU WANT YOUR THROAT CUT WITH A BUTTER KNIFE?! I said.
You said everyone is a fucking idiot. That includes you. You should have said everyone else, she said.
I don’t need a fucking grammar lesson you peasant bitch. Bring me my flounder! I said and the word flounder came out of me like a fart held in for far too long. This was my mission. Five times denied and it would not be six. Six was the number of the beast. She stared at me. A book with no words. Just blank pages so I filled in the gaps by myself. With pen in hand I made everything up. Flounder was alpha and she was in awe. We don’t have any flounder, she said.
WELL WHY IS IT ON THE FUCKING MENU?!?
Bullshit! I said and I grabbed at the plastic coated and greasy piece of shit that lay on the table in front of me. I ran my finger down the page. Flashbacks to when I scoured the phone book to call people I knew and pretend I was someone else. You’re a cunt. Who? Me? Yes. Click. I couldn’t find the goddamn flounder. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH IT?! I said. I was the guy who fell asleep in front of the TV and in that half asleep state everything folds in on itself and you don’t know what’s real anymore. Where was I? She said they’d never had the fucking flounder and now I wondered why I had ironed this goddamn suit and why I hadn’t killed the anus kicker in the car park. What do you mean you’ve never had it?
Get me the chef.
He’ll say the same thing.
BRING ME THE CHEF! I said and she turned and went through a door to the kitchen. Five minutes and nineteen seconds later and she came back with a short guy in a cowboy hat. I’d already worked out who was going to die if I didn’t get my flounder. What’s the problem? said the chef.
Flounder, I said.
We don’t have it. Never have.
BULLSHIT, I said and I stood up and flipped the table. The chef and the waitress just stood there watching me. I felt lost and naked without the table. Like a guy with an erection who had been forced to stand up. Except I did this to myself. I went over to the window seats and grabbed the old woman by the collar. Cotton. She knew quality. How old are you, sweetheart?
Ninety-two, she said and I threw her out of the window. Like an ostrich trying to fly. Straight down. WHERE’S MY FUCKING FLOUNDER?! I said to everyone in the place. Nobody went looking for it and I realised that the world was full of selfish people. I kicked over another table, grabbed a lobster from the fish tank and ripped its head off and then pulled the middle finger at everyone individually before walking out the door.
A cloud of dust that enveloped the entire building from the back tires of my car and something was scratching away in one of those back corners of my mind that I usually kept taped off. All the stress of being flounderless again and a few of those thoughts had busted through. They must have had scissors. The tires finally gripped the dirt road and the car moved forward leaving ruts deep enough to bury bodies in them. Oh shit. I’d gone to the wrong place. The flounder was up the road at the Sharks and that’s where I headed. I was hungry.