This week’s visual prompt for the Mutant 750 writing challenge is the image below. The word prompt is underwear.
It was a wilder-than-usual Friday night at The Rubber Oyster. The place was packed. At 8:30pm, the waiting list was still over an hour and a half. Customers were three-deep at the bar, clamoring for Harvey Wallbangers and Singapore Slings. Still more waited out on the patio on that warm San Francisco night.
The kitchen was gridlocked. The wheel was wrapped with tickets but no orders were coming out. Waitresses yelled at cooks. Cooks swore back at them, throwing plates of miss-prepared food and threatening to quit. One busboy called in sick and the other had walked out over an hour ago. The dishwasher was crying.
And then, the back door opened and he walked in.
Eddie Ferlinghetti, the distant relative of the beat poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
It was supposed to be Eddie’s night off, but there he was. At the time, he’d been employed at The Rubber Oyster for eight years and had recently been promoted to sous chef. He loved cooking the line, though. It was in his blood. Eddie was one of the rare breed who positively thrives under pressure. The more of a madhouse the kitchen became, the more productive Eddie became. Cheerful, even.
“Hey, man!” Spike, the weeping dishwasher blubbered, “Thought you were off tonight.”
“Larry’s poetry reading got over with early an’ City Lights was dead,” he shrugged off his jacket and sauntered back behind the line. “I was driving by and saw the parking lot. Holy f***!”
Eddie took control of the line and within twenty-minutes order had been restored to The Rubber Oyster. The rest of the cooks could handle it now, so Eddie stepped outside for a smoke.
He leaned against the building and lit-up a Kent. The heavy smell of sulfur permeated the air, reminding him of the cap guns from his childhood. He loved that smell.
The sound of the door banging open startled Eddie, making him jump.
“There you are!” It was Connie, the swinging-est chick he knew. She also happened to be one of the new waitresses. “I’ve been lookin’ all over for you.”
Eddie’s stomach flipped and his heart was racing but he maintained a cool façade. “You found me,” he replied in his best James Dean imitation.
“Want a smoke?” He shook his pack of Kent until one slid out.
She shook her head. “No thanks, but can I ask you somethin’?”
“How do you do it? I mean, you’re always so…cool. Like, you never blow a gasket like those other dipsticks.”
Eddie grinned. “You really wanna know?”
“Well, yeah…” She rolled her eyes teasingly. “I wouldn’t’ve asked otherwise.”
She had the prettiest green eyes in the world, Eddie thought, even though one of her fake eyelashes was drooping.
“It’s my underwear.”
“What’s your underwear?”
“You asked how I do it & why I’m so cool. It’s my underwear.”
“They’re always clean and they fit just right. When you’re wearing clean underwear that fits, what could go wrong?”
Connie eyed him warily.
“The world’s your…Rubber Oyster!”