The Werewolf at the Sushi Bar
Listen to me, child, for this tale I will tell you may chill you to the bone. It was a cold and dark night, which makes sense since nights are usually cold and dark. But this night was unusually cold for Dallas weather. It's a good thing there were no snowflakes falling, because Dallas people don't know how to deal with snow. They don't usually see snow so when it does come falling down they think it must be cocaine or anthrax or something. They usually either freak out and crash their automobiles into each other on the freeway, or cower in their homes under blankets for fear that the evil white sky flakes would get them. But this story isn't about snow, but it was really really cold.
I was working my usual shift, waiting tables at the sushi bar in Addison circle. I had my hair up all lightly curled, and I was wearing my black sweater with my black dress. While the restaurant isn't a very big place, we have a lot of tables, and our Friday nights are usually very busy. This night was pretty much dead. Maybe it was too cold for raw fish, or something. I don't know. I had a big group come in for someone's birthday... maybe about five or so. They were a bunch of college boys, dressed up in jeans and wrapped in ugly polyester jackets, looking like they just got back from the gym. They all slipped off their jackets and put them on the backs of the chairs, except the birthday boy at the end of the table. He looked kinda uncomfortable to be there, and I guess he didn't want anyone to see what he had on underneath. The other boys were wearing T-shirts with stupid writing on them. I guess they weren't even going to try to look classy. They were pretty nice, despite being a bunch of stupid frat boys.
"How old is the birthday boy?" I asked, trying to be as cordial as I can.
"I'm 21," he said kinda quietly. His brown hair was covering part of his face. He looked like one of those shy emo guys, except he wasn't wearing all black.
"21!" the rest of the table roared.
"It's his big night!" a darker-skinned frat boy said. "Life's never gonna be the same for him! Course don't get him too wasted, cause we're going out after this."
I got their drink orders. It was a round of American beers with some sake for the birthday boy. The birthday boy didn't seem to want his sake, but the others were egging him on.
"Come on, dude, it's your B-day!" one of the boys shouted towards the end of the table, "It's your night to get smashed!"
The birthday boy looked up at me with a slightly worried face. He had very pretty blue eyes.
"We have good sake," I smiled. He smiled back. And despite having much better Japanese beers, a lot of our customers seem to like American beers. Maybe they don't know about the Japanese beers, or they're just playing it safe by going with what they're comfortable with. I brought them the alcohol, along with five water glasses just in case they need to wash it all down, and came back to get their food orders.
"Two teriyaki steak dishes, and five orders of California rolls," I repeat back.
Yeah, they're playing it safe.
"If you don't mind me asking," I said in the most respectful way possible. "Why are you only getting California rolls?"
One of the more muscular dudes, with a backwards cap, turned to me to explain, "You see. My bro's know what we like, and we like California rolls."
"Come on. It's a party. Why not try something different? We have something we only serve on full moons called the 'full moon roll'."
"N-No." the birthday boy interrupted.
"But it's just a Philadelphia roll with cream cheese spread all over the top, to look like a full moon."
"NO!" he said, this time a bit louder.
Muscular backwards-cap boy raised his hand. "Well, okay I guess we can get something else... but nothing gross, and none of that gay sushi, mmkay?"
I didn't know there was gay sushi. I guess he didn't want to try the rainbow roll. "Okay," I said,
"I'll get you some good sushi, and nothing too gross. You try it, and if you don't like it you never have to eat it again."
So I got their order loaded up with some tuna rolls, Philadelphia rolls, salmon rolls, jalapeño rolls, yellow tail, shrimp tempura, and some extra large firecracker rolls. Y'know I figure the rolls are a pretty safe bet. Not going too far from what they expect sushi to look like. I got to the back of the kitchen to get some more chopsticks for the front, when one of 'em blurts out "Hey, China-lady! Need some more brewskies here!" Stupid white boys think every Asian is Chinese.
I loaded up some beer bottles on my tray and carried it out there with a smile on my face, brimming ear-to-ear.
I spoke in the most polite way I could think, "I hope you are enjoying your brewskies, gentlemen. Your sushi will be out in a minute. And for future reference, I'm Korean."
They just stared all confused at me.
"What?" I said. "A sushi bar owner can be Chinese, but she can't be Korean?"
I brought out their sushi. I gave them a heads-up on what everything was, which ones were spicy, and how it was not going to poison them or turn them gay. Of course for some of them I felt it was a bit too late.
A rather cute bleached blonde boy raised his hand. "Hey, uh what's this?" he said pointing at the shrimp tempura.
"Shrimp tempura. It's like a popcorn shrimp."
"Oh... cool." he said nodding his head. His sexiness just dropped a lot.
Muscular backwards-cap boy waved his hand at me. "Can I get a fork?"
I think I died a little inside then, but I'm sure it was to be expected from this group.
By this time the other guests had left, and I would have liked to do that too, but who's gonna run the place? Just so they leave me alone for a minute I loaded them up with another round of beers. So with the group of five fingering, trying to use chopsticks, or just stabbing their sushi with a fork they finally shut up for a bit. I only heard a couple of beers hitting the table, some muffled talking, and a few giggles coming from that table. Oh thank goodness! But after a few minutes I start to hear more noise.
"Dude, you almost got it!"
That didn't sound like something I wanted to hear.
I looked over and there is muscular backwards-cap boy using his fork like slingshot to shoot the rolls into the birthday boy's mouth. He's missing. He's missing a lot. I hoped they were good tippers. That's a lot of good sushi going to waste, and the only thing I hate more than messy floors is people who waste food. I know people back home who're starving to death, and these guys are wasting sushi. It made me so angry!
Finally they land a roll in the birthday boy's mouth, and the whole crowd cheers.
Then the darker-skinned frat boy holds up his beer, "I just want to take this opportunity to say... You haven't touched your sake!" he said pointing at the birthday boy.
"Look, I told you I didn't want to be here. I just don't feel well." the birthday boy said.
"Come on, man. You can do it! WHOO!"
"No, I just think..." but the boy was cut off.
"CHUG CHUG CHUG!" the table started to loudly chant. Alarm bells suddenly went off in my head, but before I could get there the birthday boy grabbed the sake bottle and downed it all.
"WAIT! DON'T DRINK IT ALL AT ONCE!" I shouted, but it was too late. The birthday boy started gasping for air, and grabbed his head. He looked like he was wincing in pain. He slammed his fists on the table, and started to scream or howl. I couldn't tell.
"Oh man! Here it comes! WHOO!" the darker-skinned guy shouted, "Time to party!"
"IT'S HAPPENING!!" the birthday boy shouted, "I GOTTA GET OUT OF HERE!" but the others planted him back down in his seat. The birthday boy struggled for a minute, then suddenly went limp. His head fell forward and crashed into his soy sauce bowl, splattering it all over the table and floor.
"Check, please!" one of them said calmly. I was more than happy to oblige.
"What happened?!" I burst out, "You try to play tossing game with sushi, you mess up the table, and you kill your friend with sake! Is he okay?!"
"Take me home, NOW!" the birthday boy blubbered and gurgled out, looking very sick. I got them their check, they paid and I promptly kicked them out of my restaurant. I hope I never have to do that again.
With an empty restaurant I took what little time I had to throw my coat on and go outside for a smoke break. It's always cold in Korea, so this weather didn't bother me. I saw the frat boys stumbling down the street, trying not to crash into any benches or urban trees, as they dragged the struggling birthday boy away. Apart from them, the streets were dark and empty. Sure the restaurants were packed, but no one had any sense to be outside in this weather. The frat boys' hollering and laughing went quiet as they disappeared into the night... or at least went into some other bar to finish drinking. The streets were quiet once again. But then I saw it. Underneath the canopy across the circle, in the shadows, I saw a pair of eyes looking at me. It was about six feet off the ground, like a man, but these weren't the eyes of a man. These eyes were wild. I got a chill down my back just looking at those eyes. I decided to cut my smoke break short, and went back inside.
After I got inside I hung up my coat I felt this blast of cold air hit my back. I turned around to see the front door slowly closing. The wind must have blown it open, which is strange, because it didn't feel windy when I was outside. I turned back around and saw.. THOSE EYES! Those wild eyes! There was a fire of untamed nature in the wild yellow eyes. I wanted to scream, but I couldn't. I was frozen with fear, but also with amazement at those beautiful yellow eyes. I shut my eyes, hoping it was just a stress-induced hallucination, but when I opened them back up again the wild eyes were still there. The eyes were on a wolf with dark brown fur, but it wasn't like any other wolf I've seen. It was like a man with a wolf's head. He was tall and thin and he wore a long black leather jacket, with black pants and a gray T-shirt. He was holding a black leather shoulder bag like a purse. He smiled at me, which is even more scary, since that looks like an "I want to eat you" smile. How did he move so fast, and without me hearing him? I didn't know what to do, but he made his intentions clear when he took a menu from the counter. I smiled and nodded, and showed him a table in the corner away from the utter chaos those frat boys made.
I asked him what he would like to drink, and he pointed on the menu at the plum wine. I kept smiling and gave him a sushi card, hoping he would prefer that instead of mauling me. I cleaned up a bit of the ugly frat boy table, all the while trying to keep a watchful eye on that wolf out of the corner of my eye. He looked quite absorbed in the sushi selection process as he gazed at the card. After taking about ten bottles back to the kitchen I washed my hands and brought out his plum wine. I brought the rest of the bottle out as a peace offering; just a way of silently saying "Thank you for not eating me." Of course I wasn't really sure about that yet. He seemed to like the wine though. He smiled again with a wolfish smirk, and handed me the sushi card.
"Spicy tuna, yellow tail, salmon, rainbow, Philadelphia, and eel roll. Very good, sir. I will have these out as quick as I can." I grimaced, thinking this may actually be a real sushi order.
While I was behind the couter preparing the sushi, the wolf took a laptop out of his bag and proceeded to surf the net or write or something. Maybe he was looking up the best way trick middle-aged Korean women into jumping in his stomach. Of course then I thought if he wanted to eat me I would probably be dead by now. I decided to shut up my worrying mind and focus on the sushi. I may be old, but these hands can make a roll very quickly.
With some quick flicks of the wrist I assembled what looked like sushi perfection on the serving plate. With a dab of wasabi and ginger I was done. Marvelous! I hurried the plate out to my awaiting guest as quickly as I could without running. He saw the dish coming and wet his lips. I had hoped it was the sushi he was drooling over. I set down the plate before him and smiled brightly.
He wasted no time in preparing his soy sauce, mixing a little wasabi into it. He then picked up the chopsticks in his furry fingers, and began to snatch up the little sushi rolls with perfect precision. He dipped the rolls into the soy and wasabi, then swallowed them whole. I decided to remove myself from his table, and swiftly went over to the messy frat table to clean it off. As I swiftly removed all the dishes, and wiped the table down, he was busy making the delicious rolls disappear. While he was quite monstrous looking, I was amazed at what astounding Japanese eating manners he had. Not a drop of sauce was getting on the table. He didn't gesture with his chopsticks, nor did he stab any of the rolls to pick them up. His moves were so graceful I didn't hear the chopsticks hit the porcelain plate at all. This was quite possibly the most perfect sushi eater I have ever seen.
Once he finished his sushi rolls he gently placed his chopsticks down on his dipping cup. I gave him a few minutes to let him get cleaned up, and then asked him if there was anything else he would like. He shook his head, so I gave him the check. $78, with the rest of the plum wine thrown in for free. He put five $20 bills on the counter and left. It was a $22 tip. I guess he felt sorry for me, because I had to deal with those terrible frat boys. Oh well. It wasn't too bad of a night, and it was time to close up shop. I'll never forget that night.
So remember, if you happen to get any werewolves as customers don't be frightened. Just smile, make their order quickly, and keep them happy and as long as they don't eat you or maul you to death they'll be the best customers you get all day.