Grumpy Lady and Wasabi Guy

Sean Murphy

I am in the business of making people happy, of creating memorable evenings for people celebrating special days in their lives. It is the only thing that is going to get me into heaven.

Some evenings are memorable for different reasons.

Grumpy Lady walked in on a very busy night. She had been grumpy all her life.

I led her to the only table that was available. She spat that it was totally unacceptable.

“Try not to think of it as a bad table,“ I said, “Try to think of it as the ONLY table, a table with two perfectly good chairs.”

She grumped. I attended to other guests.

The Bistro has a ghost, Jimmy, a very friendly ghost, the ghost of one of the best sautee guys ever. We love Jimmy for many reasons. One of them is his sense of humor.

Grumpy Lady was seated at Jimmy’s table, the table where he used to sit and drink my sherry. Above that table was Jimmy’s sherry glass.

That glass had not moved in years.

The waiter came to me.“Jimmy just dumped his sherry glass on Grumpy Lady’s head.”

“Of course he did.”

I returned to the now grumpier lady. “This is the perfect table. The odds against anything else falling on you at this table are astronomical. This is the safest table in the house.”

I brought her a glass of good Scotch.

Another table had opened. I took her arm and guided her towards the new table. I stopped by the door.

“Ma’m, you will have a great evening here tonight but to do that you must get along with me. Failing that, I suggest you leave now.”

She squeezed my arm, “I am certain we will have a lovely time.”

She and her husband were seated. I brought her another scotch.

A half hour later the waiter came to me again.

“Grumpy Lady’s husband just passed out on his fish.”

Sure enough, he was face down and out, on some of the world’s best tuna.

He had mistaken the large molded flower of wasabi on his tuna for broccoli.

He had swallowed the whole damn thing.

To be fair, it would have knocked out anyone.

He was revived and tidied and went back to his tuna.

Ten minutes later the waiter returned. “Wasabi Guy passed out on his fish again.”

It was time for plan B.

Plan B is a rehearsed protocol for removing unconscious patrons from the restaurant. We move them to an area just outside the entrance where paramedics have room to perform their magic. Plan B is also premised on the theory that patrons dying in your restaurant is bad for business.

Four strong waiters picked up Wasabi Guy in his chair and moved him over the heads of the other patrons and out the door.

The man was revived by the paramedics and taken away in an ambulance.

The last time I saw Grumpy Lady she was sitting in the parking lot in her hubby’s chair drinking my scotch. Plan B is always stressful. I took a moment to call my wife. While talking to her, I was standing in the dining room next to Mike.

Mike had witnessed my ultimatum to Grumpy Lady and had just watched Wasabi Guy floated over his head. Mike was enjoying the show.

As I was talking to my wife, an inebriated lady seated near Mike dropped her cell phone, reached to pick it up and fell face first to the floor.

I said to my wife, “Good Lord, they just keep dropping.”

Mike looked wide-eyed at me, then at the lady on the floor and then at me again.

I leaned down to him, stone faced, “Please tell me you did not eat the shrimp.”

He laughed so hard I thought he was going to drop too.