By this time in the evening, his painted obsequiousness had begun to crack, peel, uncover. Shown beneath, however imperceptible to his present hazy, giddy clientele, were the well guarded hints of disdain, complemented by a battered fear. The last rounds were always most arduous, always the time when some drunken middle aged bag slipped a string of words-- no, more an old, coarse rope spun of poor euphemism-- slowly round his painted head, caressing his painted ears, placing it upon his painted shoulders. Its coarse fibers itching, as if with fire, every little scattered chasm, crack, opening of the happy gentle coating of obsequiousness.
“Guillaume,” the middle aged hag always rounded up her witticism, at the end of a breath and slightly laconic, of course. “My daughter-in-law-- My niece-- My daughter would kill for a man like you-- so charming-- so intelligent.” As it were, there was a set formula favored by this type of woman, consisting of an impertinent young, if at all existent, female relative who would fancy of every bit of Guillaume's grandeur-- almost over their own lives. The hollowness behind these words was almost as irreverently vexing to Guillaume as their mere utterance. Yet, he must accept these complements, claims, as if they brought him great joy! as if their talking were the most ornately crafted grouping of tones ever to strike his ear! What causes these boozed up women to bespatter their clever garlic salts of words is the direct defilement of Guillaume’s dignity.
The men know not to talk to Guillaume-- they seem to sense his disinterest in superfluity, and out of pity, it may be, leave the conversation to its simple minimum: “Yes, I’ll have the filet mignon,” and, “We’d like another bottle of Chardonnay, the ‘96.” They keep conversation to something which permits Guillaume’s perfunctory subserviency to guide him through the interaction, nothing more-- there is no need for more.
There is no need for more as Guillaume is not the type who takes it as his malady to suit everyone’s desire for his own comfort-- No, Guillaume is quite the opposite. The day that he leaves La Buvette in a spirit above glum pity for his own existence should be closer to the far end of human civilisation than its beginning. But he has no choice-- it is not pleasure he is after, after all; but what the most of the world tugs for day and night-- what has cost as many people their lives as have existed since its inception-- cold, lifeless-- meaningless, necessary: money.
Guillaume has lived in a two room apartment for the last three years. The cleanliness has never returned to its state at the time of his purchasing the apartment, and it is not without his normality to live for many months having his shower or his toilet hardly in working order.
Tonight however, there is something which Guillaume's cracking obsequiousness would not detriment. A newly seated table with a suave faced blond; features that were mysterious in their slight variance from perfect simplicity give to her face a tender balance. Moreover, she has been seated alone.
"Good evening, miss: I am Guillaume. Tonight I will be delivering you your meal to the satisfaction of your desires," smirking with the word ‘desire’ and raising his brow, he hooked her attention. Her eyes caught his eyes, taking his oblique intimation, wringing from it laughter, and relieving his contortion. However sophisticated Guillaume's message was, it was certainly, internally at least, a vulgar play on his loathed but nevertheless enlisted subservience. He continued out of the laughter, "And a woman like yourse-"
"-Jenny" she helped.
"Jenny," he picked up. "you are alone?"
"Well, that is certainly not my intention of coming here, but, as yet, I am. Aren't I?"
“I wish to tell you that life is full of unexpected circumstance, and it is but the mystery of life to manage it all,” played he the obsequiousness. “And I do love apophthegm.”
“Ah, as do I; I would love for you to stay and explain me more; however, I am certain you must have other tables to attend.” she said without equivocation, but not without sincere interest in his seemingly capricious aphorism.
“Indeed. Yet, as it seems your ears have an uncommon kindness,” Guillaume said, keeping his words excessively oleaginous, seeking laughter, and with avail. “Wouldn’t it bother you less to let me upon you some wisdom than I attend these affectatious, secret misanthropes?” His playfully sarcastic tone again wrought laughter into the air.
“I have, saved, a great-- or that is for you to decide-- metaphoric epigram for perception and human interaction,” released Guillaume; it has, indeed, been saved for many months now. “A human is no more than a gun; the mind, the sights: we may shoot all we want, wherever we please, whenever we please; all that is needed is ammunition. However, if the sights are not properly aligned, who knows what on earth our bullets are to hit; what problems exacerbated; what cataclysms kicked into existence.”
“You are certainly too clever to be working here,” admired Jenny.
“Why not. Life has borne many fruits to he who found the tree,” said Guillaume solemnly, with a mockingly grim countenance. “And that came straight off the top of my tongue,” his breaking from a repressed smirk to laughter, this time did not prompt Jenny to follow.
It was not that his charm, be it what it may, did not suffice; it was that a man taller and of a more striking complexion had entered the dining room, snatched her attention, and was headed at this table.
Guillaume walked away, to, indeed, attend the ostentatious. Jenny, or rather his position which brought him effectively subsistence, snatched another lick of dignity. He worked his dejecting job for money, however much it may weigh down his own dignity. He had just a taste. A taste of what was not his, and, accordingly, could not be his, for he had not the willpower to land himself higher; but it is his inhibitions that keep him so: simply the sad leveling out of dignity for one’s existence in this O, brave new world that hath such new people in’t.
“Guillaume: a bottle of your finest burgundy for this finest woman!”
So I kept a lot of things ambiguous in this story-- because I didn't know what to do. Make what you want of it.
What I think is important is:
-jobs inherently trade your dignity for money-- that is: shitty boss, shitty people you has to deal with, subversion of pleasure for work... more bs-- and being a waiter at a restaurant, especially a fancy one, is probably the worst thing I could think of (for me at least).
-Not everyone can be a winner-- Guillaume certainly isn't
-Having to be subservient to people whom you hate must be draining and miserable, especially when you tack on that Guillaume is a fairly weakly willed man.
-Who knows what the 'proper alignment' to anyone's gun is, but it is certainly funny to think of all the wasted effort people unknowingly misdirect. Also by 'ammunition' I was thinking of money.
I am 18 and this is my first attempt ever at a short story, so please, tell me what I am doing wrong!
Thanks for reading
P.S. Anything that seems corny is probably slightly sarcastic, and I kept the time unclear because, again, I don't know what I am doing. Personally I think this story fits anywhere after 1896 to 1930, probably in jolly old England. Also the name of the restaurant that Guillaume works in is called La Buvette