The Waiter's Tale: a story (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1)

So, twenty minutes later, they were in her car on their way to Miller’s Hall. As she drove there was a gleam in her eye as of someone who was determined to right an ancient wrong. If he was Patient Griselda, then she was Chaucer’s Crusader Knight, riding into battle.  

At the gates that fronted the driveway of Miller’s Hall, he spoke into the intercom device. “Hello”, he said, “it’s me, I need to talk to you – now”. 

“Well hello there, little bro!” came the reply, with laughing female voices in the background. “Long time, no hear! What on earth can be so urgent that you need to talk to me at this time of night?” However, before the question could be answered the gates swung open. Big Brother was clearly in a good mood, presumably brought on by champagne and female company.

“Right”, she said, as the car moved up the long gravel drive, “this is where we get you a life!”

The elder brother was waiting for them outside the open front door as they arrived. He had a glass in one hand, a bottle in the other, and an elegant woman pressed against each shoulder. Loud music came from within the house. The party was clearly over and the guests had gone, except for the host’s partners for the night.  

“Well look who’s here!” he said as his younger brother stepped forward. “The waiter himself! You’re a bit late to serve the drinks, but you can clear up if you like”.

The two women laughed at the weak joke, but this only served to annoy still further the former diner from the restaurant, who now emerged from the shadows at the waiter’s side.

“So you think it’s all a big laugh, do you?” she said. “You have all this wealth and luxury and your brother has nothing but a dead-end job as a waiter. You owe him, and he’s come to collect.” 

“Oh, so that’s what this is all about, is it?” he said, turning to his brother and ignoring her. “You want some of daddy’s cash, do you? Well, that’s just tough luck, little bro, because I’ve got it all, and I rather like things as they are. I don’t have to give you a penny, unless you’ve got something in writing?”

“You know he hasn’t!” she spat back at him. “But you promised to see him right, and now it’s time to keep that promise. He deserves a real life, and the only thing standing in his way is you and your selfishness!”

“Oh, I’m not standing in his way”, the brother said. “He can go wherever he wants, any time. Down my drive and out of my life will do for starters”.

“But you know what your father said”, she shouted, “you were both intended to share the money. And the new will would have said so”.

“New will?” he said. “I know nothing about a new will. But I do know about the one that the solicitor read out. Everything was left to me, and I’m keeping it. Goodbye”. 

With that, he was about to turn and go back into the house when his younger brother suddenly sprang into action. Having said almost nothing during this conversation, he found himself experiencing something that was new and disturbing – anger. For years he had waited. He had waited for something to turn up and for his brother to keep his promise. And now he could see that this was not going to happen. His elder brother, whom he had admired and trusted, was going back on his word and leaving him in the dirt. A real, fulfilled life had been denied him. He had spent his life reading about other people’s lives and imagining himself in their place – experiencing love, adventure, mystery and wild emotions – but second-hand life was all that he was ever going to have.

Never having been angry in his life, he did not know how to handle anger when it arrived. It now controlled him completely and he found himself screaming and shouting as he charged at his brother, his hands aiming for his neck. When they arrived they squeezed harder than he knew how, and the pressure on his brother’s windpipe did not relent until long after all life had been extinguished from the man who had cheated him of his own life.

He had come here tonight looking for Life, and Life is what he got. The judge recommended seventeen years before parole could be considered.



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