Nicole J Simms/ March 29, 2020/ Stories/ 0 comments

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May I Take Your Order by Nicole J. Simms

Your stomach rumbles. Hmm, what shall I have for dinner? You think, leaning back against the sofa.

The week has been tough. Your boss has insisted on you increasing your workload. ‘I’m sorry, but it’s not fair to the others if you don’t do the same amount of work,’ she said, dropping the files on your desk.

You tried to speak, get her to understand your difficulties — you’re not like the others: too much work overloads you and reduces your productivity. Yes, that’s what you wanted to say, but the stern look on your boss’s face made you keep your lips together, and your head bowed. There was no point in arguing.

And as if your work life wasn’t bad enough, your partner chose this week to break up with you. ‘You’re so moody at the moment,’ your partner said, ‘I need someone who isn’t so depressing.’ So they left, leaving you to suffer instead of offering help.

‘Two down, one to go,’ you say.

Bad things come in threes, right? Oh, joy, something else to look forward to.

You jump to your feet. Fuck it! You’re going to treat yourself. You deserve it, after all. You march from the living room, through the kitchen and into the dining room. You walk over to your computer desk and pull out the desk drawer.

There it is, nicely on top: the Chinese menu your partner convinced you to keep instead of throwing it away with the rest of the junk mail. You hadn’t eaten anything from this restaurant before; you tend to avoid takeaway food. But today you need the comfort.

You pick up the menu and read the meal options. You smile and hurry back into the living room. You grab your mobile phone off the sofa and dial the number for the Chinese restaurant.

‘Hello, Stir Fry Soul, may I take your order,’ says a man’s voice.

‘Oh, hello, could I order chicken fried rice, an order of fine noodles, and…’ Should you go for it? Yes, yes, you will. ‘And a portion of chips, please?’

‘Yes, that’s fine,’ says the man. He then says your name and address. ‘Do I have the right details?’

‘Oh… um… how do you know my name and address?’ You glance around the living room. What are you looking for? You’re not sure, but you can’t shake the feeling of being watched.

The man laughs. ‘Your name and address are in our records,’ he says.

‘Oh, but I’ve not ordered from you before.’

‘I also know what you’re wearing.’

Your fear rises. ‘What do you mean?’ you say, checking around the room. How could he see you? Is someone watching you?

The man laughs again. ‘I’m joking,’ he says. ‘Just a joke.’

You laugh too, a forced laugh, but fear still resides within you. Something isn’t right. Maybe you don’t want Chinese food after all.

‘Is that all?’ says the man, returning to his professional tone.

‘You still haven’t answered my question. How do you know my name and address?’

‘As I said before, we have your name and address on our records.’

‘But how?’

‘You ordered something before.’

‘I did?’ You think back. You don’t remember ordering from this restaurant before. Could you have ordered and forgotten?

‘Yes, you did. If it wasn’t you, it must have been someone else who has access to your phone. How else would we have it?’

Who could have used your phone? You sigh. The only person who used your belongings without asking was your partner. Yes, that sounds about right.

‘Do you want the order?’

Your stomach rumbles again — weird or not, your belly knows what it wants. You shake your head. Oh, I should stop watching horror films, you think, feeling foolish. ‘Yes, yes, that’s everything. Erm … how long will you be?’

‘I’m already here.’


The End

Copyright © 2020 Nicole J. Simms. All Rights Reserved.

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