If you don’t know Bud, search this site for Bud Blossom or buy ($1.49 and cheap at the price) THE KING OF CHEROKEE CREEK. You’ll be
sorry glad you did.
The Cure for Meh
by Marian Allen
Tara Mitchell forced herself up the gangplank onto the deck of The Golden Lotus, the houseboat/restaurant where she worked. She would have stomped, if she’d enough enthusiasm for anger.
Bud Blossom, her Chinese-American boss, was at the hostess station, of course, checking his watch.
“Two minutes early, Miss Don’t Give The Boss An Extra Second,” he said in the Midwestern twang that sounded so odd coming from his exotic face. “You must be slipping.”
“Not today, Bud. I am not in the mood.” She wanted to scowl, but her facial muscles weren’t any livelier than the rest of her.
“Hey, I didn’t make you get up at ass a.m. to take your kid to the airport. You got a shift to cover. Cover it. And brighten up before the customers get here.”
The other waitress on the shift, Hester, shuffled aboard with a speed only matchable by in-line skates. She gave Bud a thumb up when he looked from his watch to her, and hugged Tara with her stick-thin, steel-strong arms.
“Oh, honey, don’t be sad!”
“I’m not sad. I’m just … meh.”
Bud tapped the stand at the hostess station. “You two are on my dime now. Save the soap opera for later.”
Hester handled the early crowd while Tara wrapped plastic ware in paper napkins.
All Tara could think about was her only child, high in the air in a huge mass of metal, flying farther away by the second.
Bud sat down beside her. Ordinarily, she would have flinched, but not today.
He flapped a hand, dismissing all her unspoken words. “Tattoo Boy can take care of himself.”
“His name is Alexander.”
“Whatever. He’s too big for Mommy to run after him with a hanky to wipe his little nose.”
It had worried her, when Alexander – Cosmo, to his friends – had chosen to attend a local college so he could continue to live at home. Had he done it because he knew his widowed mother would be desolate without him? Had she shackled him with the neediness she tried to hide?
Apparently not, because he had announced his intention to study abroad in China this summer, and had bubbled and burbled about it as if he expected her to be as excited as he was. And she had pretended, but she didn’t have to pretend anymore.
Bud rapped on the table and stood. “The customers don’t care. I don’t care.”
The shift finally ended. Bud hadn’t spoken to her again, so she must have put on a good enough show for the public.
At last, she was able to go home and shove some leftovers down her throat. She curled up on the couch with her email window open, waiting for the email Cosmo had promised to send when he was settled in his dorm.
The phone’s ring made her jump.
It was Cosmo.
“Hey, Mom! I just landed.”
“But … How are you calling? Your phone’s right here.”
He laughed. “I got off the plane and there was a guy here holding up a sign that said, ‘Tattoo Boy’. Some relative of Bud’s. He made arrangements with the school to show me around and help me with translation and all.”
“Bud. Gotta go, Mom. Love you!”
“Love you, too.”
There was nothing else to say, really.
~ * ~
I’m posting at Fatal Foodies today on the subject of iced tea, and at The Write Type (if it ever finishes thundering) about social networking — REAL social networking.
MY PROMPT TODAY: Meh