Kim watched from behind the counter, her manager busy counting heads to estimate their projected customers for the day. She was used to his overenthusiastic disposition, in some way rubbing off any pessimistic views to the so-so performance of the business.
“A regular,” the manager nudged Kim to attention, “get to him quick!”
Walking like a geisha, she was fortunate enough not to be convinced to wear the authentic outfit. If so, her small strides would get shorter with the tight costume, constricting her movements while performing her waiting duties.
She was about to ask the rugged-dressed mid-twenties anti-yuppie fellow when he raised his right hand, signalling her to wait a while. Kim observed the uneasiness in his voice as he spoke to someone on his cellular phone. Perhaps, he needed to close a deal or something before getting his meal.
Two serious-looking types entered the glass door; they were probably security personnel, their hidden waistlines bulging. Somewhere tucked in their belts were service firearms.
Kim glanced back to the counter. She needed not wait for her manager’s silent motion to approach the new arrivals. It’s her job to service anyone. Luckily, they sat at the table behind her current customer.
“How may I help you, sir?” her soft-spoken voice could influence anyone to stay long and spend a bundle. “The menu is in front of you.”
“Ah, we just want some coffee,” said the bearded half of the burly pair.
“Do you have any burgers here?” the other one inquired, totally ignorant of what meals were served inside. “Hotdogs?”
Kim was an English student so she still had some difficulty parrying irreverent queries. She could dispose them both politely speaking Korean but she decided not to try. They might not take the offense lightly.
“Coffee is all we can provide, sir.”
“Take you time,” the bearded guy grinned mischievously. He could see how she walked slowly.
They did not realized she was ushered to a foul mood. Her day was now ruined because of their crude attitude.
“What’s that all about?” the Filipino-Japanese manager asked. He did not want any trouble with customers, most especially with security men. They might decide to eat daily for free.
“Some cowboys who think this is McDonald’s,” Kim quipped. She dragged her feet toward the kitchen, discouraged to be hospitable to a couple of apes in formal clothes.
“What if I put some chili in these coffee mugs?” she whispered conspiratorially. “They would be angry of course. But I will also have my vengeance.”
She banished the idea, her stay in the country would be in jeopardy if she created trouble. All her plans to become an English teacher back home would blow up in her face.
Take it easy, Kim. Two more years.
When she exited the kitchen door, she was surprised to see her customers gone. Both the rugged fellow and the burger seekers were not at their tables. There was no indication that they would be coming back.
“They left a minute apart,” her manager informed her, shaking his head for the lost patrons.
(to be continued…)