When he and his mother arrive at the restaurant, there is only one table available. Without waiting for me to lead the way, the boy makes a bee line for it like he's a little old Asian lady getting onto the F train at East Broadway, paying no mind to anyone who may be in his path. He throws himself onto the chair and exclaims that he does not need the menu. The mother agrees.
"How are you?" she asks me.
She is a regular and we often bump into each other at the grocery store and around the neighborhood. She's nice and I like her.
Before I can answer, the boy sighs heavily. "I'm starving," he whines.
"No you're not. You're hungry," says mom.
"Gargh," says the boy giving the impression that he is somehow clearing his throat sarcastically. He throws his sweater onto his chair and lets his head fall back in utter disbelief that his mother is not going to get food for him right that second.
After the mother and I are finished with our pleasantries, the boy says, "Now can we order? Gawd! I want the steak well done with the fries on the side" (As opposed to the fries cooked inside the steak, I suppose.) "And an order of calamari."
His mother places her order and easily uses phrases that her son seems unaccustomed to like "please" and "thank you."
"Okay," I say. "I'll go put this order in and it will be out shortly." I return my pen to my apron and start to walk away when the boy decides he has me more thing to say.
"And that calamari? Put a rush on it!"
I look at the kid and he transforms before my very eyes. No longer is he the slightly annoying teenager just discovering the joys of puberty. He now appears to me as a full-fledged future douchebag. He suddenly looks like that asshole that was in every movie that took place in high school during the '80's; like James Spader in Pretty in Pink.
I look at his mother who shrugs her shoulders as if she has resigned herself to having a douchebag for a son.
"You got it," I say. "A rush on the calamari." I mosey towards the computer making sure to check on every other table first and fill any waters that need attention. Before I get to the computer, I see that the bread plates need to be restocked and that the napkins are low. I take care of those tasks and then I help myself to a soda before I place the order for the calamari, conveniently forgetting to add the word "rush" to the ticket.
Ten minutes later, when I place the appetizer before Douchebag, Jr., he reaches out to grab a handful to stuff in his face. He doesn't give me time to warn him that it has just come out of the fryer and is very very hot. It doesn't matter. The piping hot calamari is no match for the fiery douchiness that his mouth is used to accommodating and he swallows it with ease.
After their app plates have been cleared, Mini Massengill wants to know how much longer it will be before his well-done steak is ready. I assure him it will on his table as own as soon as it is ready, because the sooner it's ready, the sooner I can serve it, the sooner he can eat it and the sooner his vinegar and water ass will be out of my station. My explanation is not good enough for him. Moments later, I see him stand up and walk over to our open kitchen and hover at the line, his hands on his hips, watching his steak on the grill. Never mind that he is in the way of those of us working, for he is going to watch that steak cook. A watched pot may never boil, but a steak being eyed by a 13 year-old douchebag grills quicker, everybody knows that.
"How much longer for the steak?" he asks Juan the grill cook.
"Que?" asks Juan.
I intervene. "I will bring your steak as soon as it's finished, I promise. Go sit down."
The rest of their meal happens without issue. The steak must have calmed his douchiness for now, but certainly not for the future. He has a lot to look forward to in life. When he gets to high school, he won't be joining Future Business Leader of America or Future Farmers of America or even Future Homemakers of America. He will start his own club called Future Douchebags of America. He will be the president as well as the vice-president and will rule with an iron fist that smells of ammonia and he will meet on every summer's eve. His shirt collar will always be in a popped position, his chin will always be thrust forward and his attitude will always suck. The first order of new business is to remember that douching is always easier when you're relaxed.
Good luck ladies, he's 13 and he's all yours.
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