My friend Delila is one of the best waitstaff ever because she’s been doing it since she was twelve. After meeting a guy online, she moved to Texas and decided to ditch the man and keep the state; she’s lived there for about ten years. Working at a roadside diner means the pay isn’t great, but she meets interesting people and has great stories to tell.
This guy walks in one day, dressed in a suit, spiffy as hell, and behind him is an emu. Of course, Delila tells him he can’t bring an emu into a restaurant, but the man has an official card, and the emu is his emotional support animal. He laughs and tells Deliah with enough money, anyone can get anything done, and she’s intrigued by this.
This guy seems a little arrogant, but he’s friendly and a great tipper. The emu sits beside his stool at the bar while he eats. Delila is confounded by the emu, to be sure, but what blows her mind is the man orders different things from the menu. One day it will be steak, and the next, he’ll have the special. And the day after that, he’ll have a burger and fries. It’s always a salad for the emu. But no matter what he orders, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact amount when she tells him how much it is.
One day, at the last moment, she asks if he wants a piece of apple pie for a dollar more, and he’s reaching into his pocket for the money when she asks. Sure enough, he agrees and pulls out the exact amount of money. Delila tries different tricks, but the man always has the correct amount, no matter what she does.
He’s a great customer, tips beautifully, and the manager doesn’t care about the emu. But one day, her curiosity gets the better of her, and she asks how the hell he does it.
“I found a bottle with a genie in it,” the man tells her straight-faced.
“And what did you wish for?”
“The genie told me I had three wishes, but each wish would be progressively cursed,” the man replies.
“So what was the first wish?” Delila asks.
“That I would have all the money I ever needed when I needed it,” the man says with a smile.
“Ah, so that’s how you always have the exact amount! But what was the second?” she asks.
“The second was to be happy every day, and so every day, I attend the funeral of my ex-wife,” the man tells Delila.
“And that explains the suit,” she nods. “And the emu?”
“I wished for a long-legged chick that would follow me everywhere.”
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit.
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