Once Upon A Time In Tewkesbury
"Miranda" (not her real name) had taken over the running of the cafe very recently. How hard could it be, after all? She had Gertie and Gwen (not their real names either) to help her and the tourist season was just starting. She'd painted the walls and got all the equipment cleaned. There were 12 tables, 48 chairs and a sign in the window inviting applications for part-time help. Miranda opened the doors.
"Hello. We'd like two chocolate milk-shakes, a pot of Lady Grey tea and a coffee. Two toasted cheese sandwiches, a cheese salad roll and a bowl of carrot soup. Thanks".
"Excuse me, my wife ordered a ham sandwich and you brought her a plate of chips".
"We wanted 3 teas and we got scones and jam".
"It was a chocolate milk-shake, not a strawberry".
"We gave in our order some time ago....any news yet?"
"No, two chocolate milk-shakes, a pot of Lady Grey tea and a coffee. No, she wouldn't prefer a raspberry milk-shake".
Miranda was having a bad day. Gwen and Gertie were being particularly annoying. Gwen seemed to think that SHE was in charge and bossed Gertie around all the time. The cafe was quite busy but Gwen and Gertie were always getting the orders wrong. And people were coming in....waiting....and leaving again before Gwen or Gertie got to them. Things were not going smoothly.
"This toasted sandwich has ham inside. We wanted cheese. I'm sure the ham IS very nice....but we wanted cheese. No, I have no idea what you will do with this ham one".
"Could you just wipe down this table for us....there is jam all over the place".
"Owww! That was HOT".
Gwen had just spilt the (hot) milk. There was no sense crying over it, but Miranda found it helped to smash the clean plates on top of each other as they came out of the washer. Every time one stack of plates crashed down on another, the whole cafe went quiet. Then the conversations would slowly resume; but at a lower volume than before. The customers weren't beginning to notice. They had been noticing for some time.
"Two teas, two coffees and four slices of lemon cake please".
"Can we have scones and jam for four?"
"This is coffee, not tea. I wanted tea".
Miranda also found it helpful to refuse. If Gwen or Gertie got an order wrong, like the flavour of a milk-shake, Miranda would refuse to make another. This left Gwen or Gertie to suggest that the customer might like to change their order to what was available. When customers refused too, Gwen or Gertie had to go back to Miranda and say that the customer had changed their mind. This annoyed Miranda even more and she smashed more plates.
The customers got annoyed too. They could hear what Gwen or Gertie said to Miranda and they could hear the smashing plates too. Some objected loudly.
"She hasn't changed her mind. She always wanted a chocolate milk-shake and not the strawberry".
"No, we want coffee....not tea".
"This IS suitable for vegetarians, isn't it? It tastes a bit meaty, that's all".
"We've been waiting 30 minutes now".
"I asked for a bread roll with the soup".
The pressure built up quickly. Imagine a bottle of fizzy lemonade. But for those of you who can't....here is one:
The more you shake it, the fizzier it gets. Before long, the fizz is so great, the bottle cap (being the weakest part of the bottle) can hardly take the pressure.
At 12.20pm precisely, Miranda blew her own top. It was due to the pressure.
"Right. That's it. I'm off. You can all
sort yourselves out!"
Gwen made an announcement:
Gertie started to collect up all the plates and cups from the 12 tables and 48 chairs.
Gwen went to the window. She removed the sign for part time help and flicked the "Open" to "Closed". One by one or group by group, the customers left the premises.
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