Ladies’ Lunch

“A barbecue?” Shirley asked. She glared at Damian with weary, worried eyes. “D, are you on something? You couldn’t sober up for a couple of hours to have lunch with me?” Damian shook his head and smiled.

“I’m clean, Sis,” Damian was quick to protest, then gave a half shrug. “I sobered up for lunch at least. Damned if I know how, but it works. Exactly like I told you. I’m telling you, I’ll get the check this time.”

“I don’t believe you,” Shirley said and Damian nodded.

“Of course not, it’s ridiculous. That’s why we’re here,” he gestured at the diner around them. The lunch crowd filled the tables around them with suits and conversations.

“You mean in a restaurant? Like we meet every other week?” Shirley asked; her tone loaded with snark. She flashed him a grin.

“But this is our first time at this one. Trust me, you’ll get to see it for yourself. Okay, shh. Here she comes.” Damian pretended to stare at the menu for a few seconds; then he looked up when the waitress arrived to take their order.

“Hi, I’m-“

“Carla,” Damian interrupted after glancing at her nametag. “May I speak with the manager please?” The young, brunette waitress faltered for a moment, then recovered her smile.

“I’m sorry, is there something I can-” Damian interrupted her again.

“What am I supposed to do?” Have a barbecue?” he asked. Carla’s mood transitioned instantly. She went from shy and worried to eager to please with a smile.

“I’ll get the manager right away!” she chirped, then bounced away.

“Well?” Damian grinned at his sister; she shook her head.

“You obviously confused that poor girl. Probably confused and scared,” Shirley said. Then a manager in a black blazer arrived at their table. A golden nametag pinned to his coat identified him as Mundo.

“How’s everything this evening?” Mundo asked.

“Well, I’ll tell you,” Damian said. “What am I supposed to do? Have a barbecue?”  Mundo chuckled briefly, then rolled his eyes and sighed.

“Oh, alright. I’ll give you this one on the house. But you should know your trick won’t work on me; and, I’d appreciate it if you did not use it on my staff anymore.” The siblings’ jaws dropped open. Mundo reached into his blazer and pulled out a forest-green business card. “There’s a lot more you should know about yourself,” he handed the card to Damian. “Make an appointment and I’ll explain the whole thing.”

“What whole thing?” Damian asked. Mundo smiled.

“Your favorite number is three, right? You probably have it tattooed somewhere?” Damian nodded but stayed quiet. “I wouldn’t use your phrase again until I explain more about it. It’s easy to get around, and you don’t want to accidentally use it on the wrong person.”

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