The Wait

Online shopping. If you own a computer or cellphone it’s bound to happen sooner or later. You’re lounging in your underwear when curiosity gets the best of you. “I’ll look one of those up, just to see how much they are,” you say, quite innocently.

Four hours later, you’re still riding the wave. Surfing from one site to another in search of a lower price, different color, or heaven forbid—FREE SHIPPING. By now they know more about you than the CIA, FBI, and the nosy neighbor across the street. Your bladder is ready to burst, but you’re only two clicks away from the bargain of a lifetime. Ah, sweet relief . . . .

If you are new to Friday Flash Fiction, our Home Shopping Guide for 100 word stories is Karen Cowan Wisoff-Fields. To learn how to participate in this weekly exercise in madness, head over to her blog for instructions. To rent a booth in the FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Two doors down stood the Rock Hard Café. We ducked inside and were soon seated at a cozy table near the back. Music videos from the seventies and eighties ran non-stop on a series of flat-screen TVs hanging from every nook and cranny in the joint.

We sipped our drinks with caution and aged gracefully in the gloam while the chef butchered the cow, caught the fish, and grew the salad. By the time the food arrived neither of us could remember what we’d ordered. We couldn’t care less as long as it didn’t fight back when stabbed with a fork.

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75 thoughts on “The Wait

  1. Dear Rachel Croft,

    I believe I’ve been to that diner. I’ll never get that part of my life back. No time to leave more of a comment. I’m waiting for the price to drop on Etsy for my floral printed tea cozy for gallon size pots. I’m sure you understand. Your story rocked…with real rocks.

    Shalom,

    Karen Cowan W(t)F

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    1. Dear Karen,

      Good luck with those pots. I can only assume the pattern contains violets. Are you saying the story rocked as in stoned? Pot, stoned, it’s all starting come together now. Pretty soon you’ll have the muchies and be off to the diner again.

      Be sure and leave a good tip,
      Rachel

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  2. Hahaha I learn so much about how the world works from your blog. Little curiosities that have begged for an explanation for years and the answers are revealed right here.

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  3. So true about online shopping! Although half the time, the sites make so many suggestions that I end up ordering nothing because I’m so annoyed at how much time I wasted 🙂
    Great restaurant story! ‘aged gracefully’ LOL

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    1. I bet their “profile” on you would cover six city blocks. However, I’d watch Henri if I were you. There’s no telling what that gnome might order when you’re not looking.

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  4. My tip of the week for on line shoppers, is to make sure that your computers camera is turned off. If you can’t turn it off, smile

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  5. Ha, ha. It seems the music, etc. is a distraction to keep you from wondering where the food is. I would also suggest people never take small children to a Chinese restaurant, By the time the food came we’d had to fight to keep our son out of the goldfish pond and he fell asleep eating the food. Good writing and hilarious, Russell. 🙂 — Suzanne

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    1. It sounds like you son was tired of waiting and decided to catch his own fish. Good for him. I think you could probably write the next World’s Greatest Novel at some restaurants while waiting for the food. I wonder if they’re not ordering it from another restaurant and having it catered in?

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  6. A slice of reality pie for dessert? Asks the server. How long will that take? Asks the customer. No time at all. Russell delivers right on schedule. Excellent service as usual, Russell. I’ve been away and in my absence I see you’ve changed your gravitar pic. Very Colonel Sandersesque. Isn’t it funny that there is not letter “R” in colonel?

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    1. Loved you comment, Honie. Last weekend I attended Oklahoma Writers Federation conference in Oklahoma City. On Saturday night, I wore a white linen sports coat, trousers, and bow tie to the event. I had two or three people tell me how much they enjoy my chicken. 🙂

      Actually, I’m outraged that there’s no “R” in Colonel. And even worse, why is the first half of the word COLON. Ain’t that a kick in the ass.

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      1. LAUGHED and LAUGHED some more. I had a feeling you were going to point out the : 😆
        Hey, did you happen to visit the banjo museum in OKC? I did last summer. Steve Martin’s personal collection was on display. Another wild and crazy guy who makes us laugh.

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      2. No, I wasn’t aware there was a banjo museum there. I do have a Steve Martin banjo CD though, the guy is an awesome picker. In fact, he can do about anything he sets his mind to. I remember when I first saw him on the Glen Campbell Show, and I knew he was a writer for the Smothers Brothers.

        He also looks good in a white suit, I might add.

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  7. Love that second paragraph it really captured the feeling of waiting forever for your food. Great story.

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  8. You really can’t by that kind of freshness right? Unless of course you consider the investment in time. And I thought the irony of Hard Rock as the setting was great. (after all, your sense of interminable wait would be a fraction of a moment in the eyes of a hard rock). Great flash.

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    1. Thanks, Gabe. You’re the first to mention the cafe by name. This happened at the franchise location in Hollywood, CA. There were three guys at a nearby table who were shit-faced drunk waiting on their food. I don’t know how many hours they’d been there before we arrived, but when their food was finally delivered I thought one of them was going to pass out and fall face-first into his plate. I think he ordered chicken. Naturally, they had to wait for the hen to lay the egg, etc. You needed a calendar to time those people.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, yes, slow service… My Mr. gets fidgets, moans, and sighs loudly when food takes a long time coming, and that’s just at home! If he’s going to have to pay good money for it, then the sin of slowness in putting his dinner in front of him is magnified one-hundred fold.
    I love your take on the prompt. It’s wonderfully sarcastic, but definitely not sarcasm of the lowest-form-of-wit variety!

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    1. Not the lowest form yet, but I’m slowing digging in that direction. We went to a Mexican place last night. We had to endure a 3-month wait while they grew the corn for the tortillas. I’m glad we didn’t order the flour version. That would have added another month.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. LOL. Butchery is a slow art, but I imagine the fish could arrived a bit more speedily. How many drinks did they get through while they waited? A cunning ploy methinks. Loved it.

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    1. The guys at a nearby table were practically falling out of their chairs drunk. One of them zig-zagged his way to the bathroom. How he found his way back to the table is a miracle (trail of beer caps?). We sipped ours slowly and limited ourselves to two apiece.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Gee, my experience at the Rock Hard Cafe was a little different. As soon as I came in “The Soft Parade” began playing followed by “Killing Me Softly,” and “Softly As I Leave You.” In fact almost everywhere I go those three songs seem to be playing. Go figure! But you are right about the service being awful. I waited so long for them to bring me a glass of water that not only had it evaporated from global warming all water on Earth had evaporated from global warming.

    I’m still thirsty.

    well, here I am back at Friday Fictioneers, sort of. I miss the old FF but right now I’m concentrating on the “official cannon” of my blog and also trying to figure out if that’s the correct spelling of “cannon.” Maybe it’s “canon.” I’ll be back when I figure it out.

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    1. You mean there’s more than one Cannon? I thought it was a TV show about an overweight detective with a receding hairline. My favorite part was the chase scenes where he huffed and puffed and attempted to scale a short fence only to crash in Humpty-Dumpty fashion on the far side. Somehow the bad guy never escaped.

      Let’s hope the same holds true in your Cannon.

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  12. I really enjoy your Intro piece as much as the story. I’m an Amazon addict and Prime customer [clearing my throat] so I always get free shipping [smiles]. When I noticed Rock Hard Café I wondered where this story
    Was going to end. Great writeM

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    1. Amazon is right up there with opioids I’ll admit, that the final click in the purchasing process does generate a temporary feeling of euphoria. Unfortunately, I often find that I didn’t NEED the item as much when it arrives as I thought I did while lusting after it on the screen.

      See you at the Rock Hard Café. I’ll be the guy who looks like Robinson Crusoe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I usually feel a bit panicked after I submit my order, wondering if I should have and if I am spending too much $$. I buy 100 times more in my mind like the days we only had Sears catalogues to flip through late at night…I admired, fantasized much more than I purchased, thankfully.

        I’m off now for a slice of cheese cake at the Rock Hard Café.

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  13. I don’t have the stamina for hours of shopping! Sometimes I think the chefs are harvesting the wheat for the breadsticks. Don’t go when you’re absolutely famished – you may not survive the wait. Nice story as always.

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