A Nice Arrangement
Once upon a time, there were two people who worked a late night shift. One of their names was Lucy Thrall. The other person’s name was Charlie Crown.
The two coincidentally were without work and found work during the holiday season. A large merchandising store placed an ad in a popular newspaper that said, “Now Hiring Seasonal Workers.” Lucy and Charlie both worked in shipping, loaded boxes into large trucks for six hours a night. They worked six days a week.
The two had worked together for three weeks. Charlie loved Lucy; her husband had left her about a year ago. Charlie thought, “What happens when this job is over? How will I still speak with Lucy?” She still had a lot to talk about; she was not quite through telling Charlie about her personal problems, in Charlie’s guesses.
“What would you think if I bought you dinner sometime?” asked Charlie, one night. “Are you asking me to go on a date?” asked Lucy. “No,” said Charlie, “I just thought it might be nice to share dinner with someone – I have not gone out to eat in a nice restaurant in months.” “Where would we go?” asked Lucy. “What do you have in mind?” asked Charlie. “The nice restaurant on 7th and Elk seems interesting. I hear the food is phenomenal, though it is kind-of expensive,” said Lucy.
“It sounds like a good idea,” said Charlie, “When would be a convenient time to go?” “I can meet you there on Friday at 6:30 PM,” said Ms. Thrall; “I will be there,” said Mr. Crown. The two ended their conversation and went back to work. Their normal hour-long lunch break was over. They worked through the night. Charlie was happy that he would see Lucy outside of work. He wanted what she did; he wanted to make her happy.
Friday came and Charlie dressed to kill. He shaved his entire body; put on his nicest slacks and a casual business dress shirt; and a minimal splash of cologne and his nicest watch. With his best shoes on, Mr. Crown walked out of his door in good time. He got to the restaurant early. He had made reservations for a table of two, Mr. Crown and Ms. Thrall. Charlie made it to the restaurant by 6:12 PM. The host checked his listing and found Charlie and Lucy’s name written down for 6:30 PM. “Right this way,” said the nicely dressed host. Charlie followed the host, tried to absorb the atmosphere normally only known of by common aristocrats in the surrounding area.
Charlie was sat down at a nice table towards the back of the restaurant. The lighting was romantic and the place was clean. “I hope Lucy enjoys this,” thought Charlie, “It sure is a nice place.” A server named, Jonah came over to see Charlie. Jonah was a highly presentable individual – he did not make mistakes. Jonah was dressed to perfection. “Hi, my name is Jonah, and I will be your server, tonight,” said Jonah. “It is nice to meet you,” said Charlie. Charlie’s eyes were already on the host-stand. It was not even 6:30 PM, and he was watching for Lucy.
“I am waiting for an acquaintance of mine,” said Charlie, “She should be here any minute.” “Okay,” said Jonah, “Can I bring you anything?” “May I have a glass of ice water?” asked Charlie. “Sure,” said Jonah. Jonah left and returned with a glass of ice water, tended to his other patrons while keeping Charlie’s presence known. Charlie watched his watch. 6:30 PM passed and Lucy was not there. Charlie noticed the nice arrangement of flowers on the table and thought to himself, “That is a lovely arrangement of flowers, there.” He watched the host’s stand. There was no Lucy to be seen.
Jonah checked on Charlie at 6:35. “Do you think she is coming?” asked Jonah, trying to be as nice as possible. “She may be running late,” said Charlie. “We both work at night; she may be tired or sleeping,” he thought aloud. “May I bring you an appetizer while you wait?” asked Jonah. It was clear that Charlie was not leaving just yet. “What do you have available?” asked Charlie. Jonah handed him a menu sheet with the word “Appetizers” on the top of it. Jonah saw many different treats and good ideas. He saw one line that advertised a fried escargot basket for 7$. “What do you think of the fried snails?” asked Charlie.
“I eat them all the time and I think they are great,” said Jonah, “They come with a dipping sauce that is similar to marinara.” “I guess I will try some of those,” said Charlie, “I hope Lucy is on the way. This arrangement of flowers is very nice.” “Thank you,” said Jonah, “One of the cooks and I chose those. They are combinations of pink, white, and violet orchids.” “I am impressed,” said Charlie Crown. Jonah left and returned in 6 minutes with a basket of fried snails and dipping sauce. “Still no sign of Lucy?” asked Jonah. “No,” said Charlie, “Thank you for the snails.”
Charlie ate the snails, one by one; the flowers reminded him of florists – they were without flaw. Half of an hour had gone by, and Lucy had not come into the restaurant. Jonah came and checked on Charlie a couple of times; they both decided that she might not be coming. 7:30 PM passed by, and Jonah came over to Charlie. “Would you like to order a meal?” asked Jonah. “Do you have anything to go?” asked Charlie. “We have some toasted lunch sandwiches that are pretty good,” said Jonah, “Would you like to try one of those?”
“How much are they?” asked Charlie, he had planned to pay for two luxurious dinners. He was not too concerned about the cost of a lunch sandwich. “My favorite one is a Philly cheese-steak sandwich with mozzarella and little yellow chili peppers,” said Jonah, “It is 7$.” “That sounds splendid,” said Mr. Crown. Jonah brought him the sandwich in a Styrofoam to-go container; it was nearing 8 PM. The server also brought Charlie his check. “Thank you,” said Charlie, as he looked at the check. The check had an automatic gratuity on it for 2$. It totaled 17$, due to 1$ for the cost of the glass of water. “Can I pay you here?” asked Charlie. “Sure,” said Jonah.
Mr. Crown handed Jonah 25$ in cash and enjoyed one last gaze upon the pretty orchids. Ms. Thrall must not have been able to make it, somehow. He shook Jonah’s hand. Both said, “Thank you,” and Charlie left to go get ready for work.