Hi,” Claire said. The mid-20s waitress recognized the obnoxious guest that considered her worthy of a tip but failed to leave her one. She had no choice but to serve the table; her only hope was that this time the suited man wasn’t alone. She hoped the friend would tip. Claire did not feel the need to give them the full introduction that listed the specials for the day. “Ready to order?” she asked and smiled at the new face. The one that didn’t stiff her last week.
The two men in dark suits glanced awkwardly at each other for a moment, then, the new one coughed.
“Chicken fried steak,” he offered, then the poor tipper spoke up.
“Two, please,” he said.
“Great! It’ll be right out,” Claire smiled at the new one, then walked away.
“You gave her the dagger, right?” The suited man whispered the question to his colleague. The other one nodded vigorously.
“Yes!” he whispered.
“So then,” he glanced around at the packed restaurant. “Why is she still working here and not out there fighting the underworld?”
“I don’t know!”
“Well, ask her!” As he said this, Claire returned to the table.
“Hey, sorry,” she kept her attention on the new face. “I didn’t get your drink orders.”
“Hi, I don’t know if you remember me, I was here last week?” Claire turned and finally acknowledged him with a curt nod.
“Grant, right?” she asked without a smile. He nodded.
“Yes! That’s me. Uh, I left you a pen last time, I just wanted to make sure you got it?” Claire stared at him blankly for a moment. In her mind, she re-evaluated her impression. He went down a few rungs; leaving a cheap, used ballpoint pen was somehow worse than no tip.
“That pen was my tip, huh?” she asked aloud hoping to embarrass him in front of his co-worker. “It didn’t work, so I threw it away.” She turned to the other man and smiled. “What can I get you to drink?”
“Two sweet teas,” he said while Grant sputtered. Claire nodded and disappeared.
“You found the new guardian; a worthy successor to defend the Earth. And your grand plan was to leave them a magical pen? Without explaining anything?”
“The dagger was supposed to explain it!” Grant defended his decision.
“You didn’t even give her the dagger!” his voice rose a bit before he caught himself and lowered his tone to a whisper again. Grant hung his head and stared at the wooden table.
“Sorry,” he apologized.
“Congratulations. Your first mission is a failure; I hope you’ve learned something,” he shrugged. “But, there’s nothing else we can do. Let’s just enjoy lunch and get off this Earth before the Fae realize there’s no one to stop them. They won’t waste any time taking over.”