Dinner at the Harmony Restaurant by Matt Potter

I ripped the glasses from his face and throwing them on the floor, stomped them into the polished floorboards.

Eight blank faces looked on. So I picked up the platter of anemone shells and tortoise shells and quail egg shells left over from the Mauritian bouillabaisse and tipped them over his balding head.

Still no reaction. Least of all from the tippee.

Balling my fists, I banged them on the retro-formica tabletop. The taste of pufferfish balls in an oleander-infused reduction with a seaweed and pomegranate side-salad tossed in a geranium-rottweiler vinaigrette rose in my throat.

“I resent subsidising the meals of those who had three courses AND A BOTTLE OF WINE when I only had one course and paid for my drinks along the way,” I said, looking at him as the broken shells slid down his face. “Especially when they earn more than double what I do.”

Recognition flickered in the eyes of those who, like me, have to watch their spending.

I slapped thirty-two dollars and seventy-five cents down hard on top of the hand-written account.

“I am NOT splitting the bill.”

And walking out the door, I made a mental note to contact my Anger Management Coach as soon as possible.


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Filed under Matt Potter

10 responses to “Dinner at the Harmony Restaurant by Matt Potter

  1. You’ve struck a chord in all of us with this. Life’s just never fair when all we ask is to pay our own way. Nicely presented, Matt.

  2. K

    This was brilliant. It’s a sentiment shared by many but I loved the way you presented it. The imagery was so much fun!

  3. Maude Larke

    Oh, my, Matt! You do pack punches! Opus once did something similar to smokers in “Bloom County”. What a snapshot scene!

  4. read this on F’naut– it is a gas! you have made that food scene in the old film Five Easy Pieces look tame by comparison!!!
    This first line here gets me going, I start laughing and its because he is so angry and yet it’s a kind of bloodless anger. Neat. I think he is a basically neat person, as in tidy. And that adds to the story for me.

  5. Thank you all – it is an old technique, I think: tell an extravagant action or sequence in a straightforward and slighty formal manner. It’s like being bitchy: say it formally, in a dry but straightforward and intellectual manner, and it’s very funny. The words and the manner are incongruous and the humour comes from that. It’s a bit like a comic not laughing at his or her joke: it just makes it funnier. Ah, I could wank on about this for ever!

  6. Wank on, my friend! Your work always stuns me, the dare I say brave? feeling for bitchy dialogue, tongue in cheek commentary. And the irony of a place called Dinner at the Harmony leading to anything but. You have an uncanny knack for timing and rising tension. And then your marginalized characters. I can relate. Nuff said.

  7. this gave my Monday morning a nice, giggling start. all those broken shells just sliding down. it also reminded me of a Kenneth Patchen poem where the protagonist yells at the end: “So! Enough’s enough you lousy, scrounging bastards! I’m off to join the Indians, see!” then taking my other shoe off, I added: “And while you’re about it, to hell with the Indians too, for that matter!”

  8. Darryl P.

    Excellent use of the broken shells. Perfect ending. Great read.

  9. Pingback: Week #45 – Broken shells | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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