Addie shrugged a tight smiled plastered across her face. “Yeah… I don’t know.”
The smile fell from Althea’s face her eyes narrowed at Addie, “do we have a problem.”
“Ummmm” Addie’s eyes darted around searching for an escape. “Yeah, I don’t really know what you are talking about.” The gentle sound of the phone ringing back at the counter saved Addie from another one of Althea’s inappropriate outbursts. “Oh I have to take this.” Addie said racing back to the front of the store snatching up the receiver before Althea could say another word.
Althea stomped out of the boutique annoyed. What did she have to do? Why did people always respond for her like that? She was just being friendly! Maybe they were just jealous of her and her deceptively large breasts.
Althea wiped the back of her hand across her glistening, oily face and smoothed her lank hair as she looked around for another store to torment. All Althea really wanted was a friend– someone who wouldn’t be put off by her brazen attitude and superior knowledge on all subjects. Althea had been to all of the stores in the past week and had made quite the spectacle of herself as she so enjoyed doing.
“What to do, what to do.” She mumbled as she briskly marched down the street liking to pretend she had purpose even when she didn’t. It made her feel important.
The rumble of Althea’s stomach reminded her it was time for lunch, but she had been banned from every restaurant in the area due to her instance that every neighboring table only order the food she recommended after all she was an expert. She was being helpful, she was a professional.
Before Althea made it back to her car she noticed a sign down an alley blinking in a slow rhythmic way which demanded her attention.
“Well they haven’t unjustly kicked me out.” She said aloud hoping one of those other restaurant’s heard her. She would just take her business elsewhere.
Althea burst through the door rattling the blinds. She immediately sighed loudly and waited with her hands on her hips. After ten seconds of waiting she yelled “Hello! I'm waiting here.”
A tiny man with large ears and a hunched over back came out of the back wiping his hands on his apron. “May I help you?”
“Duh, this is a restaurant I'm here to eat. Gosh, the service here is horrible.”
The man raised an eyebrow at her “you may sit wherever you like, but I'm not sure we have anything you would want here.”
“Well can I at least see a menu? I swear have you never run a restaurant before in your life. Once I worked in food service for 3 hours so I am sort of an expert if you need any advice.”
“No, I think I can manage. We have nothing prepared yet for today.”
“What is that I smell.”
The man coughed “It is a soup I really don’t think you would want it…”
“I’ll take it.” She cut him off. Althea hated being told what to do. She was a professional she knew what was best in every situation no one else’s opinion mattered in the least.
The old man’s frail, thin shoulders pulled up, “Whatever you say.” He disappeared back into the kitchen and moments later came out with a steaming bowl in his hands. Sitting the cloudy yellowish broth in front of her he stood back and waited.
Althea pointedly picked up her spoon and rubbed an unseen spot from it before dipping the utensil in the pungent liquid. The old man grimaced as she swallowed the spoonful of broth.
Althea looked up at him triumphantly “Needs salt.”
He quickly sat salt on the table and escaped into the back room where a room full of other twisted old men sat waiting for him to return. “Fellas, she is eating the boner soup.” Every mouth in the room fell open as they looked back at him. “Couldn’t talk her out of it.”
“What will it do to her?” One of them asked.
The old man wrinkled his nose and bared his false teeth, “can’t really say for certain.”
The group of men thundered out of the room and fought to see around the corner at what was happening to the girl.
“Oh my, it’s bad.” One of the men said “Look at her.”
“No, that was the way she looked when she came in.”
“Well go out and talk to her.” They encouraged him pushing him through the door.
The tiny old man walked back up to her talk “May I get you anything else?”
“Just my check, I am very busy and important.”
“Seriously, it's on the house. Are you feeling alright?”
“I'm always perfect, do you have a problem with me.”
“Not at all.”
“Well I never… I am a paying customer.” Althea stormed out of the restaurant while the old man watched her flabbergasted.
“What happened?” Someone called out from the back.
“It didn’t work.” Another one said.
“But it has been tested,” another person insisted.
“I guess it doesn’t work if you are already a dickhead.”