Shrimp ‘n’ Grits

In Fiction on July 2, 2013 at 9:34 pm

kitchen pans

Shrimp ‘n’ Grits

“Oh darling, you’re so wonderfully crude,” the senator’s wife exclaimed. “But shh, he’s coming.” She tilted her head to indicate the approaching waiter.

“You folks know what you’d like?” the waiter asked. He crossed his hands politely.

“How do you like the shrimp and grits?” the senator’s wife asked with only a hint of a smile. The waiter smiled broadly.

“Just about my favorite dish on the menu!” he said. “Real nice; like what I had growin’ up.”

“You grow up around here, son?” the senator asked, solemn as a sermon. The waiter nodded.

“’Bout five miles down the road, yessir,” he said.

One of the senator’s party leaned across the table.

“And how you planning to vote in the election, son?”

“Oh, I’m for the senator! And my momma, too. Whole family’s for you, sir.”

The senator nodded and lifted his glass in a mock toast.

“Good boy,” he said, and they all had a laugh.

The party ordered their meals and another bottle of Sangiovese, and the waiter retreated silently to the kitchen, beaming. When he stepped through the swinging door, the smile slipped from his face like egg from a non-stick pan.

“Two shrimp ‘n’ grits, medium-rare hangar steak and an oriental chicken salad, dressing on the side,” he called to the cook. His manager was leaning on the counter, frowning.

“Why do the white people always think you’re black?” he said.

“I guess ‘cause I am black?”

“Yeah, but ain’t you from India or some shit?”

“Bangalore. So?”

“So why do you play along?”

The waiter laughed.

“Same reason I tell my mother I’m still in school. Same reason you tell your wife you still love her. People like simple lies better than complicated truths. They feel good when things fit their expectations…” he smiled. “And when people feel good, they tip better.”

The manager shook his head.

“Well cut it out with the ‘my mommas’ and the ‘yessirs’,” he said. “That shit’s offensive.”

The waiter laughed.


This is my story for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge: Crude. I honestly don’t know what I think of it, so I’m relying on you all to tell me what you think. At least it’s different from my regular stuff, right? Right!? Le sigh.

If you’re missing my regular stuff, check out the three recent series here.

  1. Brilliant. Well done, yet again, Brian! :)))

  2. What the waiter said makes sense 🙂

  3. This is great.

  4. I had a friend in my younger days who used to always fall in love with the waitresses and barmaids at the local establishments we would frequent. They would smile their smiles at him, he would fall into a stupor and they would, quite literally, help themselves to the content of his wallet. Every time, though, he would go home happy and satisfied and would return promptly the very next Friday or Saturday night. Some folks are just born suckers, as you have so capably pointed out in your excellent post. 🙂

  5. illuminating lesson! 🙂

  6. The waiter knows how to get the tips – play along!

    I love the description of his smile slipping off his face like an egg from a non-stick frying pan – clever. “People like simple lies better than complicated truths.” – this is a wise observation.

  7. Very nicely done! I’m racially ambiguous like your main character. (If I had a dollar for every time a white person asked me “what” I am …) So I took extra delight in this fun read. 🙂

  8. You do a great job of capturing character in just a few words, from your canny protagonist, to the bemused chef, to the pompous git of a senator (love that “solemn as a sermon” line). I love your writing style and look forward to reading more of your stories.

  9. There’s some truth to what the waiter says, but he should also be proud of his lineage (:

  10. I like the edge in this piece, as well as the humour. Great job with the prompt!

  11. I really liked this story, Brian. like egg from a non-stick pan… nice!

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