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By S. A. Barton
Copyright 2012 S. A. Barton
Find other stories by S.A. Barton on his Smashwords profile.
Clayton Taliaferro II sat in the shade of a canvas umbrella, picking invisible lint off his khakis as he waited for lunch. The day was oppressively hot, and only the hurricane fans moving air-conditioned breezes through the outdoor seating made it tolerable. That, he thought, and frozen mint juleps, raising his glass slick with condensation to peer into the slushy green.
Cuisine Mardi might have two Michelin stars, but it seemed to him that the service had slipped precipitously in the last three months. Once again, it seemed that second-year slump was claiming a once-prime eatery. Finally the waitress appeared, whole crayfish arranged on a bed of dirty rice in one hand, an unrequested second frozen julep in the other. She set them down with the speedy gingerliness common to skilled waitstaff everywhere.
“The julep is gratis, with apologies for your wait,” she said smoothly, “and may we offer you a dessert gratis as well?”
He snorted scornfully through wide nostrils. “I’m sure it would take as unreasonably long as the crayfish,” he sneered. “Unless—do you think you could manage a simple beignet?”