The Waiter

Author : John Pedersen

I do beg your pardon, sir. Please forgive the inconvenience.

Oh, no sir, I assure you we are not out of anything.

Well, sir, the National Weather Service has issued an atomic advisory, and we must insist all our customers move away from the windows at this time.

I know it’s dreadfully inconvenient, sir, but I am afraid we must insist. It’s national safety code.

Oh no, sir, I do assure you that our windows meet all the regulations and are of the highest quality.

I’m not sure what mesh our windows are constructed with sir, but they do meet the regulations, and when combined with the other building requirements, your safety is most assuredly guaranteed.

Because sir, it’s national safety code that you move away from the windows.

No, sir, I don’t think they will blow out, I’m just following the proper protocol.

There’s the first of them, sir, I’m going to move over that direction. I must ask you again to come with me.

I have noticed that, yes sir. The colors do look a bit like a sunset. A cloudy one, perhaps?

I’ve never been to a beach, no sir. But I do imagine the sunset over the ocean is a stunning sight.

Bright orange clouds you say? I can see how you’d make that comparison.

I’ve never really seen the ‘mushroom’ in a mushroom cloud either, sir, tell you the truth.

You’ll know when the blast wave hits, sir. The whole building rumbles.

No, we do have shock absorbers built into the foundation. It’s still a pretty big rumble.

No, I’ve never been in an earthquake either sir, but that does sound like what we’ll feel here in a few moments.

No, I’ve never been to the coast at all, sir.

I’ll bet the buildings there are of the highest-quality construction, sir. Do you mind me asking how frequent the bombings are out there, sir?

I do believe a gentleman of your caliber, sir, is quite experienced with all this nonsense.

I see what you’re saying about the sunset now, especially seeing several of them together. It really is a very pretty shade of orange. There’s some deep reds in there too.

There’s the rumble. You can hear the glassware vibrating behind the bar. You should hear it in our kitchen! All the pots and pans start shaking, the cooks reach up and grab them and scowl until it’s over.

If I can speak freely sir, and maybe a little crassly, I think they are targeting us. They never give up, and we’re well-shielded, we spared no expense, so I think it’s a little stupid that they’re so persistent.

It does sound like an exercise in futility, sir. Well-stated.

Honestly? Someone told me once that they used atomic explosions to propel their ships through space, and that’s how they got to our planet, but I don’t know much about that.

No, the rumbling never lasts very long, We’ll just have to see if there’s a third volley of explosions.

I do believe that was the worst of it, sir.

Yes sir, you were right, we didn’t need to move away from the windows,

No sir, I’m not sure why the government feels the need to make so many regulations either. I’m sure there’s a bean-counter out there somewhere who thinks he knows better than anyone else.

Yes, sir, everything does seem to work out for the best.

Your martini looks a little low, sir. May I fetch you another?

Very good, sir.


  1. SimonJM

    That was fun (nuking the planet until glows aside … ;)) I’d not be at all surprised to find out the waiter was an AI of some form.

  2. cmh8133

    The waiter was articulate and elegant, a tip of 33% would have been in order.
    Great story I like the one sided conversation, a challenge to make that story element work…done brilliantly here. Thank You.

  3. russellwaters

    I read this about four times. Incredibly enjoyable.

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