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Stiffed


by Lorelei Knox




Eat less, pig!

I held the paper in my hand, re-reading the words for what must have been the tenth time. They were written in huge block letters in the tip line of the receipt my customer had left on his table. This was a double whammy - not only had he stiffed me on my tip, he’d felt the need to make a nasty, hurtful comment as well. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. The guy at table 23 had been a pain in the ass the entire time, requesting one thing at a time and then asking for something else as soon as one request was fulfilled. I ran around more for him than I did for the family of five sitting next to him. I could handle it, though - I was a pretty good waitress. I did what he asked with a smile on my face and the only tip he could provide me was an insult?

Even as I blinked back tears I was scanning my other tables to see if they needed anything. I wasn’t going to let my other customers suffer just because one guy was a monumental asshole to me. I knew I should have thicker skin - I mean, what size 18 woman hasn’t heard insults like that? But knowing it and feeling it were two different things and this cut to the quick. I tried my hardest to put the whole thing behind me as I noticed Mark at table 32 needed a drink refill.

Ah, Mark. If anything could make me forget about that hateful remark it was him. Nothing in the world could have made me admit it but I had a huge crush on him. He came in for lunch a couple times a week and always sat in my section. We joked that seeing one another was the highlight of our day. Well, he joked. I was serious. He was around my age, with wavy dark hair and these gorgeous bright blue eyes. He was quick with a joke and a smile and seeing him really did make my day better. I tried my hardest to put on a cheerful face as I went to get his glass.

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