Rohan took a deep breath and pushed the door open, to the restaurant. It was late afternoon, the place was deserted. The cashier sat engrossed in the day’s paper, didn’t even look like he noticed someone come in. He walked to a table near the kitchen door and sat down.

After a good ten very silent minutes, the waiter entered from the kitchen. He looked straight at Rohan, picked up a menu and came up to his table. He casually threw the menu on the table and said “Welcome to Indian Fort, we’re all out of the lunch buffet, you’ll have to order à la carte”

“That’s okay”, said Rohan.

The waiter started back to the kitchen saying “Take your time”

“I’ll take the chicken tikka masala” Rohan said fast.

The waiter turned around, “That was quick, but I guess some people just are”

Rohan chose to ignore the sarcasm and said, “I’m sorry”

“For chicken masala? Hah don’t be” said the waiter and strode off back into the kitchen

Rohan sighed and kept staring at his hands. Not really hungry, he was wondering if this was even a good idea.

The waiter opened the kitchen door and said, “Sorry mate, no chicken tikka masala, all we can offer is butter chicken”

“I’ll have that” Rohan said. He closed his eyes, he was losing nerve by the second.

The waiter rolled his eyes and went back inside. He came back a second later and asked “would you like anything to drink? You must be thirsty, you look like you’ve been getting a lot of exercise lately”

Rohan hadn’t taken his eyes off his hands. “No I’m fine. I just… I’m sorry Kailash”

“That’s alright, one needs exercise”

“I’ve cleared out my room already, I’m moving out” Rohan said.

“Why would that bother me mate” The waiter snapped back and left.

In the kitchen, Kailash walked up to the chef and said clearly “One Special butter chicken”. The chef looked at him for final confirmation, nodded and then got to work.

Kailash came back with his order, some Indian bread and water. “Enjoy” he said and left.

Rohan looked at his meal, and he knew. He had heard countless retelling of the same stories during their weekly beer session. Rude customers and anyone in general the staff didn’t like getting “specials” with their orders, and how the last place Kailash worked at shut down after 3 people came down with food poisoning, in three separate incidents.

He took his time with the meal. Blame it on Catholic school. He took penance & forgiveness seriously. There was no choice, this was penance for his sins.

He looked at Kailash straight in the eye and took the last bite and saw him smile. Kailash handed him the bill and walked away.

Rohan left whatever money he could find on the table and left quickly, half running, cursing himself.

The cashier looked up at him leaving, turned to Kailash and said, “That’s the second roommate this year isn’t it, you either need to dump that chick or let me move in with you guys”

“Fuck you”, he said “and tell the boss I quit”.


This post is part of the 200 word challenge.

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