I was browsing today and I found Fiction Favorites’s post Stream of Conscious Saturday. Curious, I clicked through and found a new sort of flash (?) fiction writing challenge. There is no word count, but you have to just go with what hits you, based on the prompt. So, here goes.
This week’s prompt is “excuse”
“Excuse me,” he said to the waiter carrying a tray of water glasses.
Not watching, the waiter walked straight into him and spilled the water glasses. Water splashed everywhere–on the floor, on tables, on patrons. The sound of glass shattering and a woman screaming, then a man scolding.
The manager comes rushing over, apologizing profusely and, once again, having the restaurant take care of the bill for the waiter’s table. A busboy comes with towels and a mop.
Later, in the kitchen, the manager berates the waiter. “What’s your excuse this time?” he asks.
The waiter looks at his size 13 1/2 shoes, as he has done so many times before. At 5’8″, he is still growing into his feet. “I’m sorry, Dad.”
The manager’s eyes soften. “I just can’t keep you on staff any more. You’ve failed as a cook, a busboy, a waiter and a host. I don’t know how to give you a job you can handle.”
“Let me handle the books, Dad.” Paul’s grades in school were excellent, but he didn’t know how to do bookkeeping. Not the first thing. So his dad talked to a friend, a frequent customer who ran a larger business. Paul was given an apprenticeship, unpaid of course (the money he earned went toward recouping losses at the restaurant), but a chance to learn.
Forty years later, Paul recalled that moment in a service to celebrate his dad. “If I hadn’t been such a poor restaurant worker, I never would have been able to manage my own restaurant. Failing at the one thing had my father lead me to greater opportunities. I will always be thankful for that.