A Short Horror Tale
By Amanda Lawrence Auverigne
Copyright © 2011 Amanda Lawrence Auverigne
All rights reserved. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
“This place blows,” Adam said.
“Why don’t you say it loud enough for our waiter to hear? So that he can bring you back a plate full of spit,” Carrie said.
Adam lowered his fork into his lettuce-filled plate. He stared across the table at his wife.
“You mean to tell me that you like that salad bar?”Adam asked.
“What are you saying? That salad bar was horrible.”
‘Adam, what are you talking about?”
“Carrie, the lettuce was all wilted, there were flies in the ranch dressing, the green peppers and mushrooms were in the same darned bowl and they both had some kind of slippery slime on them. There wasn’t even any of that green jelly stuff that I like and to top it off, the croutons are soggy. What a dump.”
“My salad is fine. My lettuce is crisp, the French dressing is good and my croutons are crispy. Did we visit the same salad bar or did you step out and run over to the greasy spoon across the street?”
“No, we hit the same spot alright. I mean you got there a few minutes before me because I had to go back to the car to get my wallet but I wasn’t gone for that long. A few minutes maybe.”
“I didn’t even realize you were gone.”
“Is that a joke?”
Adam looked up at his wife with a hearty chuckle.
“I get your joke.”
“I don’t understand this place. We hit the same salad bar and I got the yucky stuff and you got the good stuff.”
“It is weird.”
Adam looked at Carrie’s plate.
“Man, your tomatoes look really good. Mine are kinda green,” Adam said.
Carrie looked at Adam’s plate.
The large white plate was filled with a towering assortment of lettuce leaves, croutons and vegetable slices.
Three large slices of shiny green tomatoes rested in the center of the food-filled platter.
“Ugh your tomatoes are green,” Carrie said.
“I told you,” Adam said.
Adam looked at his plate and he picked up his fork. He pushed the prongs of the utensil at the pile of lettuce and vegetables on his plate slowly.
“This is just ridiculous and not fit for human consumption. I need to seriously text the City Health Department so they can shut this place down,” Adam commented.
“I doubt if the City Health Department will accept a text message complaint,” Carrie laughed.
“They should. I’ll take a pic of this too to be sure they know I’m not lying,” Adam added.
“Adam your salad is atrocious. I mean, your lettuce is all wilted and shiny. That can’t be good. And my salad is fine. Fresh and crisp. This is so strange,” Carrie said.
“Yeah I know,” Adam stated.
Adam slammed his fork onto the table. He looked up at Carrie.
“I don’t get this. When I grabbed a pile of the lettuce with that fork thing the leaves on top were green and the ones in the middle were all brown. What is with this joint?” Adam asked.
“Look, we just can leave. We can just go get a pizza from Danny Ames’ Pizzeria on the way home,” Carrie said.
“Yeah, let’s do that. We just have to wait for the waiter dude. Now where did he go?” Adam asked.
Adam turned away from Carrie and he looked around the restaurant. He saw a tall slender waiter walk towards him.
“Oh. Here’s the waiter,” Carrie said.
The waiter stopped in front of the table. He smiled at Adam before he spoke.
“Yes sir. Your meal is on its way,” The waiter announced.
“Uh thanks,” Adam said. “But we’d really just like to pay for our salads and leave. My wife here really is not feeling too well.”
“Oh of course,” the waiter said. “Well, you’re in luck, because tonight the salad bar is free.”
“Free?” Carrie asked.
“Yes,” the waiter replied with a nod. “The salad bar buffet is free before five o’clock. And after it is four ninety nine plus tax. Not bad for all you can eat.”
Adam turned to Carrie. “Uh, honey. What time did we get here?”
“I don’t know. Around four thirty or a little later. I really don’t remember,” Carrie replied.
Adam grinned and he looked at the waiter.
“Well then. We got here before five o’clock so our meal is free,” Adam said.
“No. Not quite,” the waiter stated.
“What?” Adam asked with a slight edge to his voice.
“Sir your bill is a total of five dollars and seventy-five cents,” The waiter said.
“What the! How can that be? All we had was some stale water with a couple of cubes of ice. Don’t tell me that you’re charging for water now?” Adam demanded.
“No, I am charging you for your trip to the salad bar,” the waiter stated.
“What are you talking about? We got here before five o’clock. How can you do that?” Adam asked.
“Sir, you visited the salad bar after five o’clock.”
“What? Is this some sort of scam?”
“I assure you sir, it is not. These are the rules that are clearly posted in writing on the menus.”
“I didn’t see any damned writing about a five o’clock curfew on a salad bar on the menus!”
Carrie grabbed her purse from the table. She leaned towards Adam with a weary sigh.
“Adam just pay the bill,” Carrie insisted.
Adam turned to Carrie with a low huff.
“No, I’m not paying one cent cause it’s not fair! First he tells us that the salad bar is free. Then he says that its only free after five. And now he claims that we have to pay because according to his imagination we were here after five. And I’m certain that we got here, sat down and ate before five. So our meal should be free,” Adam insisted.
“Adam its only five bucks,” Carrie snapped.
“No, its five seventy-five of my hard earned cash and I’m not coughing it up!” Adam cried.
“Sir,” the waiter interrupted.
Adam turned to the waiter with clenched fists.
“WHAT!” Adam shouted.
“You may have arrived here at our establishment before five o’clock pm, but I assure you that you did not partake of the salad bar until after five,” The waiter stated.
“And how do you figure that?” Adam asked placing his fists onto the table.
The waiter moved closer to the table. He grabbed Adam’s fork off of the shaky metal slab.
The waiter lowered the fork to Adam’s plate and he thrust the prongs of the silver utensil into the recesses of vegetable filled plate.
“Hey, what are you doing!” Adam shouted.
The waiter moved the shiny fork inside the lettuce-filled plate with slow circular movements.
“Ah here we are,” the waiter said.
The waiter stopped the motion of the fork. He raised the utensil a few inches above the plate before thrusting the fork in the direction of the plate with a quick jerking motion.
The waiter stabbed the fork ruthlessly into the center of the shiny pile of brown lettuce leaves.
The sound of a loud crack poured from the plate.
Adam and Carrie jumped at the sudden noise.
The waiter lifted the fork from the recesses of the plate. He moved the utensil in Adam’s direction before shaking the vegetable-covered object.
Three wilted lettuce leaves, a cluster of rotten bean sprouts, a green tomato wedge and a soggy crouton fell from the fork.
The items landed in the plate with a sickening plop.
Adam and Carrie stared at the fork in shocked silence.
A long severed finger lay impaled atop the fork’s prongs.
A ragged stark white bone protruded from the lower portion of the limb. A shimmering silver ring lay atop the finger a few inches above the knuckle.
“You see Sir and Madam,” the waiter said. “After five pm on Thursdays, which is today by the way, we offer our specialty salad to our unique group of clientele. It’s a bestseller.”
Adam turned away from the dripping finger poised near his face. He swallowed with a loud gulp and looked around the sparsely populated restaurant.
The booths in the dim space were filled with an assortment of green skinned people.
The chattering individuals leaned over large plates of rotted lettuce and gleaming body parts.
The green hued people shoved large forkfuls of decomposing vegetables and near gelatinous limbs into their slime-covered mouths.
Carrie threw her purse onto the table and she grabbed at her throat with a loud gag.
The waiter turned to Carrie.
“Don’t worry Madam,” the waiter said. “The salad bar’s contents are changed at exactly five o’clock pm on Thursdays. And by looking inside your plate, I can clearly see that you had the opportunity to visit our salad bar before five.”
The waiter lowered his slender hand to the table. He shoved a glass of ice-filled water in Carrie’s direction with a polite smile.
“Fresh Salad” by Rafal Glebowski