Kirsty Logan (Glasgow University, Scotland)
All Jim wanted was for Andrea to bring him a cup of coffee, and all Andrea wanted was for Jim to fuck off and die. He was old, surely it was almost his time anyway; but the old perv seemed to think he was young enough when he was staring at her tits. She was young and fit, surely it couldn’t take her this long to fetch a cup of damn coffee; Jim had even ordered it black, thinking that would make it come sooner as she wouldn’t need to faff about with all that milk-frothing business. They both waited until Andrea had disappeared into the kitchen and Jim had sat down with his friends before letting their feelings be known.
– Table eight being a dickhead again?
– Is that waitress girl getting your coffee wrong again?
– I swear to fuck we should spit in their food next time. They’ll never know.
– Don’t leave her a tip this time. You’re far too kind to those girls, they’ll never learn.
The waitresses moved about their work like fronds of river weed, twisting between tables and chairs and one another’s arms. Crockery was put down and picked up, orders scrawled and bills tallied. They could only be told apart by the details: one had hair the colour of lemonade, another cheeks pocked like the surface of a golf-ball. They were all twenty-something, minimum-waged, uninterested. They would be nice to you as long as you pretended you were going to leave a tip.
The customers perched on their chairs like birds on a power line, gripping their coffee cups with both hands. The liquid in the cups was a dozen shades of skin, and its surface shook with every precarious sip. The women were rouged and blow-dried; the men creaked when they stood up. They didn’t care what you did when you weren’t at work, as long as you followed orders when you were there.
It took ten minutes for Jim to get his coffee, and it was about time that lazy child did some work, and the old fucker better not complain about it.
Kirsty Logan is a waitress, has no tonsils, and does not know where she gets her ideas from.