My girlfriend and I went for a meal at Frankie and Benny’s in Stirling. Our waiter was tall and rubber-faced, and behaved like a robot programmed to be the world’s best butler. His manner ill befitted a thematic gastro-chain: he was far too polite and professional. In eateries such as Frankie and Benny’s I’m happy if my waiter looks like the sort of guy who won’t rip off a bead of shit caught in his arse hair and then touch our cutlery. Instead we got the Termiwaiter, a silver service cyborg sent through time from the 17th century to pander to the culinary whims of a bunch of undeserving round-faced cretins. All around him fat families decked out in obscenely colourful T-shirts demeaned humanity by gorging themselves like dead-eyed, drooling beasts, while their children shrieked and frolicked between tables like E-spiked lambs, but still the Termiwaiter’s waxy face stayed frozen in that same servile sneer, programmed to exhibit just the right balance of obsequiousness and charming mischief. He was awesome.
I called a manager over, and as he leaned forward I said, ‘I’d like to make a complaint about our waiter.’
The manager looked both shocked and frightened, and sat down next to me in a manner which suggested that a) I was about to diagnose him with cancer, and b) he needed a stiff drink to calm his nerves.
I continued, with these exact words: ‘He’s far too polite, professional and likable. Now we’ll have to give the prick a tip Tell him to be a little more obnoxious, I’m too tight for this.’
The shock evaporated from the manager’s eyes, to be replaced by a twinkle. The cause of his shock? Apparently our waiter had been the subject of a genuine complaint earlier that week, when Termiwaiter misjudged how far he could banter with a table of diners. When asked if the calzone was any good, he’d replied that it was ‘the mutt’s nuts.’ They – clearly being unworthy of the gift of continued existence – had grassed him in to the management.
My girlfriend still chuckles when she remember’s the manager’s initial reaction as I introduced my ‘complaint’. We thought it was only possible to get shell-shock from mustard gas attacks in WWI, not by proxy of a cheeky waiter.
I don’t know if the manager informed the Termiwaiter of my compliment, or if Termiwaiter saw me conferring with his manager and assumed the worst, because when he returned to our table he ramped up the charisma and banter. All that was missing was a series of backflips, and a set of stilts and juggling clubs. It’s clear that the fleeting, table-based fame had gone to his head, but the Termiwaiter was on fire, and clearly out to maximise his tippage. I remember saying to my girlfriend, ‘This cunt realises he’s only getting three quid, right?’
Can you see where this story’s going? I couldn’t resist it. Termiwaiter returned to our table to clear away the plates from the main course, and asked us if we’d enjoyed it.
…the mutt’s nuts.’
His smile seemed simultaneously to be saying ‘Bravo’ and ‘you dick’. Don’t feel too bad for him, though. We gave the cunt a fiver.
EPILOGUE: 1) OK, it was £4.50, but a fiver sounds better, and 2) he really was an excellent waiter. Dude’s name is Andy. But call him the Termiwaiter. He’ll like it.