Amanda grabs Sarah’s wrist just in time to stop her from spending the next 6000 Thursdays in therapy for post traumatic stress and the waxed waiter goes flying across Sarah’s lap spraying the women with a tray full of salmon tartar.
The restaurant manager appears out of nowhere and calls for reinforcements. A dozen or so secret service lookalikes come pouring out the back office and create a security zone around Sarah and her party. No one is allowed in or out of the human fortress while…
“…the situation is addressed. Please, my lovely ladies, enjoy a round of Skinny Mermaid Salmon tapas and tequila chasers on the house. We apologize for the disruption.” The entire supper club cheers.
He sends a series of hand gestures to the bouncer at the front door and female undercover patrons quietly seize any cameras or cell phones attempting to record the event. Meanwhile, the bus staff break through the ring of G-men wannabes and start cleaning up the evidence.
The manager inspects the newly disinfected area and briefly interrogates the other seven women at the table who witnessed the event. Satisfied, he summons three more employees carrying lush long robes, a large fruit plate, and two pitchers of margaritas. They escort Sarah and Amanda’s colleagues to a special lounge behind the bar.
The manager turns to Sarah. “We discovered a processing error with one of our SMSs and didn’t want to risk anyone having a less than sublime experience with our product, especially a loyal patron like yourself.”
Amanda raises one eyebrow at Sarah who quickly eyes her to keep quiet.
“Did you ingest any of it?” He continues.
Sarah shakes her head.
The waiter who had failed to intercept the catastrophe and had remained withdrawn until then leans over to his boss and whispered in his ear: “She saw it.”
The manager turns to Amanda and smiles uncomfortably. “And what about you, my dear. Everything alright?”
“Uhmmm, yeah. Of course. Mistakes happen. It’s just that—”
“Thank you for understanding. We take quality control quite seriously here as you can see. Our apprentice cook went a little overboard with the marinade and the tartar likely was attempting to slide off the flatbread,” he interrupted.
“Oh now I understand why you needed to call in the marines,” she replies with a touch of sarcasm. Sarah kicks her under the table.
“I am sure it would still have been delicious, Mr. Grant,” Sarah counter-offers.
“Nonetheless, Sarah, ugly rumors based on optical illusions can shut an eco-conscious operation like ours down in a few hours. Social media works both ways, you know.” Mr. Grant knows very well how well-connected Sarah is and how indispensable she is to his reputation.
Sarah nods. The HR department at All-Talk-But-No-Pay-Equity Incorporated relies on that attribute of social media as well and Sarah really is their precious grapevine.
Amanda pretends to pay attention while she watches two of the wait staff approach in her periphery. She slowly moves her hand over to her purse, but Mr. Grant cuts in with an invitation as a bare-chested surfer boy lock elbows with her.
“Why don’t you join me in my office ladies. We’ll clean up those clothes for you and have a little chat. Todd and Jason here will make sure you are comfortable while I attend to a few matters in the kitchen. You remember Jason don’t you, Sarah?”
Sarah averts her new colleague’s distrustful eyes and lets Jason lead her down the back corridor. Todd ushers the reluctant Amanda down the dimly lit hallway close behind. They enter the office, and Todd reaches for a pair of bathrobes as Jason locks the door behind them.
“Best not wait for the stain to set in.” Jason throws Sarah a robe and she starts to undress when…
…to be continued in Skinny Mermaid Salmon Conclusion