Lunch rush was over at the brewhouse. The hungry herds had come, gnawed quickly on the available carcass and moved on before they became dangerously sedentary. The only remnants of the watering hole were a few strays and the old and the weak, or so I thought.
From first glance she was brittle and small and weak. Grandmother tigress came in for the cheap lunch special and her precocious grand daughter was there to display her melodramatics in a public forum. I let the cub cry and mew and spit as they do. I was not in the position to train, just serve.
Seated directly adjacent from the cat and the cub were a party of two. As I stepped forward to greet table 307, I felt the spray of buckshot from a few well aimed expletives. I immediately side stepped into the shadows of table 306 hoping my presence was undetected. I successfully avoided the direct hit of the bombs being thrown, but the resonating echos were heard well outside of 307’s territory. Table 306 looked up at me with wide eyes. They had gotten their nutrient fill and were anxious to escape the area before the wrath escalated. I gave them their check. “Is there anything you can do?” they whispered at me.
But there was nothing. In a restaurant I am forced to be Switzerland or whatever the jungle equivalent of Switzerland is.
I went to the elder and cub in an attempt to pull them out of the line of fire and into safety, “Can I move you to another table where you might be more comfortable with your surrounding?” I wanted the pair safe from potential errant crossfire.
The cub was now silent and still instinctively aware of the dangers that lie just on the outskirts of her protected lair. Grandmother tigress remained calm and continued to insist cub finish her meal. She then turned to me, “No, Honey everything is fine, because if he uses the F- word again, I have no problem telling him to stop.” I assumed from her confidence that tigress’ teeth and claws might be old, but packed enough power to take down any threat 307 might have thrown at her as well as anyone in the restaurant.
With tigress standing her ground, I continued my assigned duties back of the house.
Tigress and her cub finished their grazing and left smiling and gracious.
Table 307 kept their voice down for the rest of their stay.
Oh, to be a fly on that wall….