The Spirit in the Mouth of the Bald Man with Four Eyes
by Nicholas B Hoins
"Why are you always so hard on your son? And you speak of your daughter like she's an ex-girlfriend that keeps disappointing you. 'Don't try to pull one over on me' and such things. Pathetic." The clay-face ornament on the wall had not gone off like that in over a week.
"The spirit of the tchotchke strikes again," said the shaven-faced waiter with the gel in his hair.
"You're a simp, you are," laughed his manager from the kitchen. The two men who had just entered the restaurant were frowning in a daze as they took their seats in a corner.
"It's easy to judge," said the waiter, who also had three moles on his chin, "it's a lot harder to be judged." He went off to greet the customers, who gruffly ordered two waters to start.
"Whatever," said the manager, as the waiter retrieved two glasses. "You've listened to these people's conversations. They come in here, thinking it'll be great fun, and they get a double dose of truth. The only way most of them deal with it is to brag loudly about their personal finances and look around to see who's listening. Or just go silent."
"Still, when you talk about something that's important to you, someone else may be listening," said the waiter, walking over with the waters.
The bell tinkled and the imperfect door opened wide to admit a family of three. The men in the corner ordered mussels.