Labor Issues (Flash Fiction)

(Obviously inspired by Austin Powers, but derivative work can be just as fun)

Bob grabbed the bill from the leather carrier and gasped. It was the most he had ever paid for fish and chips, marginal fish and chips at that, and he summoned his server over immediately. The waiter, a thin man with a large nose and sightly pimples blotting his face, strolled over with an obvious attitude.

“Sir,” said the waiter without making eye contact.

Bob narrowed his own peepers and handed the bill back to the man. “The price is quite high. I won’t pay it for such shoddy chips and heavily fried fish.”

The waiter looked down at the slip and set it back to the table. “I’m afraid things don’t quite work that way, sir,” the scrawny man said.

Bob stood, despite the shaking head of his companion sitting across from him, and threw the paper bill to the sky. “Well I’m afraid that I must,” he said, with dramatic pause, “Release the Kraken!” A victorious smile spread across Bob’s face and he placed his hands on his hips. But his smile soon faded. As the waiter walked away with a flagrant move of disgust, Bob’s companion began to frantically wave him closer.

“Master,” he whispered with a hand over his mouth. “Master, please!”

Bob slid his chair around the table, dragging the metal legs across the cement floor of the patio.

“Master,” said Orf, “You’ve already released the Kraken just yesterday. It still has not returned from its previous duty.”

“What!?” Bob exclaimed. Heads at the nearby tables turned and glared. He lowered his voice. “What do you mean? When did this happen?”

“Yesterday, Master!” said Orf with exasperation.

“I know yesterday,” snapped Bob. “When yesterday? What the devil for?”

“The car wash, master. That young chap that refused to wipe down all of the water spots.”

“Ah, yes,” said Bob. “That little shit. That Kraken hasn’t finished with him yet?”

“We were seventeen miles inland, master!”

Bob nodded and rubbed at his pointed chin. “Yes, yes. That’s right. Well hells bells, Orf. The Kraken is quite resourceful. Wasn’t there a delta or waterway nearby?”

“No, master,” said Orf. “The Kraken waits at the edge of the sea in perpetual summon.”

Bob shook his head. In front of him sat the remains of an unsatisfying meal and an ice-water with a lemon that he specifically did not ask for. “Damned mythological creatures,” Bob said. “Is it any wonder no one fears them?”

Orf shrugged his plump shoulders.

“Well I don’t care,” Bob said. “You summon the Kraken and you tell him to come here. We’re right on the coast, for God’s sake!” Bob waved an arm toward the open patio of the seafood restaurant that sat near the beach. “Surely the Kraken can take this sniveling waiter away.”

Orf squinted with stress and made a strange hissing sound.

“What?” asked Bob.

“You’ve already summoned the Kraken three times this week, master!” he said with a hush. “His contract clearly states he be off a minimum of four days a week.”

“Well, shit,” Bob said. Near the door, the waiter stood with smug satisfaction on his face. Bob tried to envision a great tentacled beast tearing the poor boy limb from limb, but the thought, knowing it would not come to fruition, was not enough to ease the pain of a poorly made meal of fish and chips. He paid his bill in better defeat and added another victim to his list of “Vows of Revenge!”

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