Originally written in August, 2015.
I tugged on the collar of my shirt, trying to release a little of the heat building up underneath my tuxedo.
“Hey, Charlie!” I called to my manager and pointed to the wall panels. “Time.”
He nodded, and I sighed in relief as I walked to the first wall panel. Summer was just beginning, so the cool night air lingered until after the lunch rush. But now, in the midafternoon, the heat began to bake those still inside The Rainbow Feather. I bent to grab the handle on the wall and lifted it like a garage door as it slid into the ceiling. I raised wall after wall until the entire dining area could see out to the waves on the beach below and a gentle breeze cooled the sweat on my forehead.
As the sun traveled toward the western horizon, I watched a trickle of patrons arrive and begin placing their orders with the waitresses, sitting wherever they preferred to look out over the water. They were polite guests that only added to the floral decor with their own bright colors in familiar hues of blue, green, and gold.
Mr. Peck and his wife, regulars that came in at least weekly, scratched their way up the hill the restaurant stood on, right toward me as the crowd was beginning to grow. I greeted them with a bow. “How are you two this evening?”
“Oh, fine,” he chirped, “just hungry of course. And getting out to enjoy beautiful this weather.”
“That is a great idea, sir,” I answered, careful not to step on any feathers as I continued my rounds, eyes open for any undesirables.
That was my job. I was basically a classy bouncer. This establishment was intended to serve a very specific clientele, which it did very well. So well, in fact, that others wanted in on the pleasures too. I made sure that the restaurant stayed exclusive, even if I had to carry out those that tried to sneak past my vigil by the neck.
The first try of the night I caught easily. She tried to hide behind some of the distracting ruffles of a legitimate customer, though I don’t know how she expected to get service anyway. I saw her drab white feathers easily and caught her eye before she was within ten feet of the building and she flapped off like the chicken she was.
A couple turkeys managed to get to a table before I saw what was going on. They had painted themselves up with the proper blue and green colors, even managed to put on some authentic highlights to sell the disguise. But a few of their dirty hues poked through and drew my attention. I walked up to the table as they were sitting.
“I think we will start with some water,” one coughed, helping his mate into her chair. “We will know what we want by the time you bring that.” He obviously wanted to interact with the staff as little as possible to keep up appearances.
“Oh, I’m not a waiter.” I smiled pleasantly.
They both looked up, seeing in my face that they had been caught.
“Please, sir,” she gobbled. “We have watched the peacocks come to this place for years. It always looked so fancy. We just wanted to try it out. We will just have appetizers, if you want. We can pay. Promise.” She was panicking.
I bent down and put my knuckles on the table. “I don’t make the rules. I just enforce them. And this rule cannot be bent for any reason while we are still in business. We serve peacocks. And we serve them peacock food. This isn’t a place for turkeys like you.”
“This is discrimination!” the male bird squealed. “I demand to be treated like an equal! I want service!”
This was out of hand. The other customers don’t come here for this. This was what they want to avoid. I had to end it quickly.
Before they knew what I was doing, I had the two birds by the necks, hauling them out of the restaurant. The female went limp, sadly accepting the rejection. But the male kicked and scratched with his claws. Luckily his beak couldn’t reach my arm.
As I threw them out toward the beach, their wings leveled them, but they still landed heavily in the soft sand. They sulked away after that, probably to their own restaurant just down the way.
I looked down at my jacket to clean myself off, but found a couple long rips in the side. Sighing, I took it off and went to drop it in my car. Hopefully the restaurant would pay for the repairs. And hopefully I wouldn’t have any more difficult encounters tonight. The claws on some of those bigger birds could do real damage. But those are the risks you take when you are a high-class bouncer for a bunch of fancy birds.
I have no clue if there are actually restaurants with bouncers or similar exclusivity. And if there are, I don’t think I would like to work for them. Even if they do only serve peacocks.
In my memory, there is only one restaurant I have been to that might have had some kind of dress code. It was the most expensive meal I have ever eaten. Granted, it included an appetizer, a dessert, and a side of lobster tail. I don’t think I want to remember the bill of my friends who were drinking alcohol that night. Even so, I don’t think they would be too upset if someone came in jeans and a t-shirt.
I am glad that I have never seen a place in the society I live in that would refuse service to anyone based on the circumstances of their birth. And I have only seen movies where they would do so because of a person’s social class, or apparent lack thereof. Golf clubs and stuff like that are that way, right? I’m not sure, I’ve never been.
Anyway, having said that, I don’t think it is bad to have places that are exclusive in one way or another. I think that most of these kinds of places will naturally draw a specific type of client because of the type of service they provide. For example, it's mostly kids and younger adults that go to laser tag places. Bingo games are usually for the elderly. Maternity stores are for women. Hooters caters mostly to men’s sensibilities. Super expensive anything is for the rich, just like Goodwill and places that sell used items are for people at a lower economic status. It isn’t that other people are banned from these places. They just might get some odd looks.
Specifically addressing places that are meant for the upper crust of society, some people might be upset that there are restaurants so expensive that you have to earn at least half a million a year to afford a meal there. It doesn’t bother me at all. Those people are paying outrageous amounts of money not only for the food, but for the atmosphere. They want to surround themselves by people like them and have things in common with those people. I say let them have it. I’ll keep my perfectly tasty meals that can be found all over for decent prices. That way I don’t have to deal with rich people whining about whatever they think they deserve but aren’t getting at their place.
As long as they aren’t kicking out a turkey whose money works just as well as a peacock's, and is dressed for the occasion, everything seems fine to me. Let all the birds eat together.
This is one of the rare occasions where a dream isn’t quite as good or entertaining as the real life I am living. Well, except for the fact that I could speak with talking animals.