Though I have no shortage of least-favorite customers, I've endured a lengthy history of animosity with one in particular. He's been a regular at two of my L.A. places of employment. And like a yucky fever blister or Katherine Heigl movie, he shows up frequently just to wipe his ass with my erratic contentment.
Here's a typical conversation, with both standard discourse and the not-so-subtle unspoken communications we've established with each other.
WHAT I SAY: Hi, how are you today?
WHAT I MEAN: Unless your answer is "I only have five minutes left to live," save it.
WHAT HE SAYS: I'm in a hurry.
WHAT HE MEANS: I'm more important than you are.
WHAT I SAY: Great. What do you want to drink?
WHAT I MEAN: Just give me a reason to relieve my bladder of all the vodka I had before work...
WHAT HE SAYS: Do you have passion fruit iced iea?
WHAT HE MEANS: I already know you don't have passion fruit iced tea. I ask every time I'm here just so I can play the part of put-upon customer when you say "No."
WHAT I SAY: No.
WHAT I MEAN: Here, take a swig from my flask. You'll enjoy this much more than any old soft drink, and you clearly need it more than I do.
WHAT HE SAYS: Fine. I'll just take a regular iced tea.
WHAT HE MEANS: Hear the sigh in my voice? Behold, the glorious refrain of my entitlement.
WHAT I SAY: We don't have any iced tea at all, actually. We ran out.
WHAT I MEAN: I just brewed some five minutes ago.
WHAT HE SAYS: I'll just have a water.
WHAT HE MEANS: And by the time I'm done asking for refills, you will feel like Laura Ingalls, running back and forth fetching pails from a well.
WHAT I SAY: I'll be right back with your water.
WHAT I MEAN: Your breath smells like you've been eating from the devil's asshole.
WHAT HE SAYS: I'm ready to order.
WHAT HE MEANS: Stand here while I look at the menu for a few minutes.
WHAT HE SAYS: Are the braised beef tacos any good?
WHAT HE MEANS: Because they weren't very good the last four times I ordered them and sent them back.
WHAT I SAY: We don't have any braised beef, actually. We ran out.
WHAT I MEAN: I could feed all of Somalia with the braised beef we have in the kitchen right now.
WHAT HE SAYS: I'll just take the steak fajitas, extra well done. And I'm still in a hurry, so let's speed it up.
WHAT HE MEANS: The only thing of importance I have to do today is to keep tabs on that Boba Fett action figure bidding war on eBay.
WHAT HE SAYS: I'm really in a hurry. Any idea where my food is?
WHAT HE MEANS: It's been two minutes since you turned in my order. Is your Food-A-Rac-A-Cycle broken?
WHAT I SAY: Here's your food. Let me know if I can bring you anything else.
WHAT I MEAN: If you so much as trouble me for water upon spontaneously combusting, I will fan the fire.
WHAT I SAY: How was everything?
WHAT I MEAN: Why the fuck did I just ask that??
WHAT HE SAYS: It was ok. The steak was way too well done. And of course it took forever.
WHAT HE MEANS: It could have been prepared by an expert assembly of chefs from all the world over, and I'd still make it a point to complain.
WHAT HE SAYS: Keep the change.
WHAT HE MEANS: Watch out, iTunes. I've given this boy the power to buy any one song of his choice with the tip I just left.
WHAT I SAY: Thank you! Have a great day!
WHAT I MEAN: Go fuck yourself. I hope someone gouges out your eyes and makes you sniff your way home.