A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Steel Bolt was carefree as could be when he walked into Sum Puk Sun, the quaint, family-run restaurant that made, in his estimation, the finest Chinese food in Crescendo Cove. He did as requested, waiting by the Please Wait To Be Seated sign, whistling and humming all the while.
“Ah, good even-ing, Meestah Bort. You want a-your usuar taber?” asked the kindly grandfather.
“Yes, Ming. Thank you.”
Steel followed the old man to his usual table.
Thank god I’m not eating at stately Bolt Manor again. Two nights in a row is too many. (It’s not the food that’s responsible for Steel’s distaste for dining at home, by the way; it’s that doing so reminds him of his chequered marital career, which is terrible for his digestion.)
He perused the menu carefully, even though he’s ordered from it hundreds of times before. Everything looks so delicious.
For a second, Steel forgot why he’d forced himself to eat at Bolt Manor for the past two nights. Then it came to him: Oh yeah, those stupid murders. The Crescendo Cove Crusher? What is that? I’m sure it’s merely a coincidence that I ate at those restaurants the night their waitresses were killed. There’s nothing to it.
At that moment the daughter of the family, an exquisite girl of about 18, came over and asked Steel what he’d like.
“Good evening, Ling. You know, you look more beautiful every time I see you.” Flirtatiousness is not a trait one would normally associate with Steel Bolt, but tonight his ebullience knew no bounds.
Ling acknowledged the compliment with a deep blush.
“I think I’ll have the Peking Duck.”
“Very good. To drink?”
“Perrier—you should know that, sweetheart.”
Ling blushed again.
When the food arrived, Steel Bolt was thrilled by the very sight of it. The only thing that surpassed the visual gratification was the taste. The duck and all of its accompaniments were sumptuous, certainly constituting a repast worthy of the richest man in town.
Steel was so pleased the way his evening worked out, he tipped twice his normal 20 percent and made the lovely Ling blush yet again by telling her that if she were a few years older, or he were a few years younger, he’d certainly ask her out on a date.