Tea and Biscuit Special

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Two hollywood socialite friends meet for a tea and biscuit special.

The seat of a cast aluminum chair bowed slightly as Joyce Darlene settled into her favorite spot on the patio.  A waitress and a busboy watched on the other side of the door in anticipation. The waitstaff rotated chairs specifically for the retired moviestar as she did nothing delicately. The mere act of sitting was a dramatic plop. The rapid plunge and overstuffed totes were too much for a delicate chair. Each week, the staff had a fair amount of warning before she warped and bent metal. Joyce wore brightly colored frocks that rippled as she strut side to side and waved like a flag as her hands told unbelievable anecdotes. The 5’ 9” curvy woman was unmistakable in public. She arrived each week at 10:06. The sail of clashing neons could be detected blocks before her arrival. 

“Don, get me a glass of water, dear. Can’t you see, I’m parched!” Joyce spoke as if the world existed for her. Don never worked at this cafe, so there was a pause before a waiter left his station for the request.

A crystal glass of water materialized on the tabletop. Joyce pinched the cup with two fingers while the others unravelled like a folding fan taking a sip. Loud slurping sounds emitted from pouty lips. A waitress tiptoed around the actress.

“Beautiful morning, isn’t it?” The waitress greeted. 

“Oh, just spectacular!” Joyce breathed. The waitress observed the attempt to hide grey roots with powdered  red shadow. It  contrasted with the carrot curls of a voluminous bob. 

“Can I start you off with some coffee? Or  we have a morning tea and biscuit special if that interests you.” 

“Wonderful!” Joyce sang. “Make it for two.” 

Joyce waited impatiently, as Hollywood's elite conditioned her to do.  She thumbed the table, whistled an off-pitched tune, and watched customers enter for brunch. A minute later, an ornate china set was placed in front of her. Steam rolled from the spout. Joyce smiled and inspected the quartz cup. A unique green pattern swirled around the edge. She couldn’t be sure how long the china sat on the shelf collecting dust. 

“Oops! Excuse me, sir. There appears to be a chip in my cup.” Joyce tapped a waiter on the side of his hip. He turned, irritated, as he was in the middle of writing an order. But as soon as he recognised her, the waiter adjusted his priorities. 

“I’m sorry, ma’am. Let me grab a new one for you.” He reached for the cup. Joyce moved it just out of reach. 

“One does not grab. One exchanges. It’s a wonder this place isn’t a pile of porcelain and quartz. Exchange the entire set, please. I won’t drink from a cup that doesn’t match.” Joyce clasped her heart and rolled her eyes. The waiter did the same as he walked away.

A sparkling VW Bug puttered to the front of the cafe. It parked in the handicap space right by Joyce’s table. The retired actress squealed and wiggled her fingers, stretching her arms in front of her. A bright yellow kitten heel stepped onto the pavement followed by a platinum blond wig. The straight strands of horse hair rested on age-spotted shoulders. Joyce’s best friend, Rose Le’Champe, emerged in oversized square sunglasses. She wiggled her fingers and squealed while baby-stomping around the gate.

“Omy Joycie! It’s been too long!” Rose still wore the tie dye yoga pants from their meditation class despite her insistence to stop by the apartment to freshen up. She changed into a loose knit sweater at the very least. It was a neon blue to match the pants. The two friends elbowed customers heads and nudged tables to embrace in a dramatic hug. A few tables that hadn’t been served moved indoors.

“Well! This is just lovely!” Rose breathed out as if Joyce had found a new place to eat. 

“Darling, I ordered the tea for two. I had to send it back though, there was a chip in one of the cups! Can you believe that? Just thoughtless.” Joyce carried on loudly for the staff to hear.

As they sat, the waiter brought over the same tea set but with a new cup. The manager stood behind in case any further assistance was needed. They hurried away to attend to other customers.

“Oh just set it between us. That will be all, thank you.” Joyce replied to no one. 

Rose and Joyce began an intense conversation about the drab color of the curtains at the studio. Rose pulled fabric out of her tote. A pattern of pink and green stripes that hurt the eyes. The two friends brushed the piece with boney hands.

“Well, if Ralph doesn’t agree to changing the curtains to this pattern, he truly is insane. It’s brilliant. You have to close your eyes, only making it easier to meditate.” Rose reasoned. 

As Rose and Joyce fussed over the fabric, a man with a thick mustache drank coffee two tables down. He removed thin framed glasses as a waitress named Niomi passed by and gestured her over.  It was her first day without assistance and she was eager to please. As Niomi bent over to listen to the man’s request, a badge was thrown in front of her nose. 

“FBI. I need to speak to your manager.” The man stood with authority. Niomi stepped back. She hunched over and covered her eyes. Tears fell down her cheeks as she curled to the floor. 

Sirens and police surrounded the cafe. With guns drawn, a squad crept in. Customers hid under tables or dashed around the building in a frantic panic. The undercover agent tackled a woman who pretended to carry a baby. They struggled on the ground, kicking tables until she was fully hand-cuffed. 

Joyce poured the first round of tea. She and Rose, oblivious to the commotion. The table rattled a few times as people rushed by.

“Excuse me!” Rose covered the set protectively. “There are people trying to enjoy a quiet brunch!”

“Really, people are just barbaric these days. Can’t trust anyone. Did I tell you the waitstaff sent out a set with a chip?” Joyce began to recall the recent incident.

Screams and noises of shelves crashing, and dishware breaking came from the back of the kitchen. People swore as they were handcuffed and guided to the backs of police cars. Half of the kitchen crew and waitstaff were arrested.

“You know, if Ralph won’t agree. We should talk to Pete. He has a soft spot for Pete.” Rose pointed out. 

“Brilliant! He does have a soft spot for Pete!” Joyce pointed a well manicured finger in the air. 

The manager came out with two cops on either side. As his head was pushed into the backseat, a rough looking chief slammed a heavy box on the table next to Joyce and Rose. He bumped Joyce in the process, knocking her forward.

“Guys! We found the stash. Back to the station!” The man bellowed.

Rose watched as her friend dropped the cup onto the table. The quartz struck the tea pot before shattering on the table. The teapot cracked and warm liquid seeped from the  crevices.

“Good Heavens! Can’t a woman drink tea with her friend!” Joyce shrieked as she watched the pot collapse into fragments. The tea gushed onto the table and dripped onto the cement. 

“You should complain. This behavior is unacceptable.” Rose crossed her arms in contempt. 

The chair squeaked as Joyce stood. She marched into the cafe with the handle of her tea cup still on her pointer finger.

“I have never been more assaulted! I deserve reparation for the mistreatment! You have damaged two tea sets! Are you even able to care for such fragile china?” Joyce bombarded a frazzled Niomi who had crawled to the counter for safety. She stood with her hands spread on the counter. Condensation from sweaty hands fogged the glass. 

“I’m sorry. What are you saying?” She peeped, still staring at wreckage left behind by the raid. 

Joyce glanced around as well. “Well, since you obviously cannot take care of this place. I insist on buying the last china set you own.”

Niomi didn’t say anything. She waved the old biddy away.

“Huh.” Joyce breathed audibly. “Rude.”

One set of china managed  to remain untouched. She grabbed it off the shelf, placing each piece in her oversized bag. The items clinked together as she exited.

Joyce called out to Rose at the gate. “Rose, let’s go. I took the last set of china. This place breaks everything. I’ll pay next week.”

The two women piled into the Bug and scooted away.


Submitted: June 26, 2021

© Copyright 2021 S.K Nguyen. All rights reserved.

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