Jill and John were seated at a restaurant. The waitress arrived and brought the menus and placed them on the table in from of them. They looked them over for a few minutes. Then the waitress came back.
“I’d like the grilled chicken platter and a ginger ale,” said Jill.
“I’d like the spaghetti dinner and a coke,” said John.
The waitress wrote down the orders on her note pad and took the menus away off the table.
John’s eyes were surveying the restaurant and people. He looked up and down and all around looking at people passing by. He was in his own world.
“Well, what is on your mind?” asked Jill.
“Oh, nothing” replied John.
He began to space out again. His eyes were wandering around the room looking at the walls and at people.
“How long have you lived in this area?” asked Jill.
“About twenty years,” replied John.
That’s odd, thought Jill. He must be a lonesome type. He doesn’t really talk. Maybe, he can’t. He’s been here for twenty years. It’s not like he doesn’t know people. He’s withdrawn. This is what the she figured. Her best friend wanted to pair her up with this man maybe trying to do him a favor. Maybe, to help him break out of his shell and/or just to fix him up with a date.
He stopped surveying the room with his eyes then he just stopped and stared at Jill.
“Well, what have you been up to?” asked Jill trying to make conversation with him.
This time John didn’t answer. He just sat there like a statue and stared at Jill.
Then Jill blurts out, “Do I have to do all the talking? Are you alive in there?” She pointed to her head.
The waitress arrived with the drinks and put them down on the table. John began to drink some of his down. Jill drank some of hers.
John put his drink down and sat there and stared at Jill. He didn’t say a word.
“You know,” said Jill. “I’d have better company if I brought my dog to dinner. He doesn’t talk either. He only likes to be pat and scratched behind the ears.”
John stuck out his tongue and panted.
“You’re incredible!” said Jill. “Did you forget to take your meds or something this morning?”
John put this funny expression on his face, crossed his eyes and rolled his head from side to side and stuck his tongue out. Then he reverted back to his vacant stare like a dog who can’t talk like nothing happened.
I believe that is all this man can do is sit there and stare and space out, thought Jill.
The waitress then arrived bringing the dishes that John and Jill had ordered. John dove into his food and stuffed his gills like he was a wolf out in the prairies.
“It’s good food, isn’t it?” said Jill.
John replied with his mouth still full, “It’s good, good.”
Jill continued to watch him stuff his face so full he barely had time to swallow it. She sat there perplexed for a few minutes looking at John. Then she said, “I had a hamster once that looked just like you with his pouches so full after he ate his daily diet of sunflower seeds.”
She picked up her knife and fork again and slowly cut off a piece of chicken and put it in her mouth and chewed looking straight at John.
John swallowed his food, put his fork down, raised his two hands in front of his chest with his two arms bent like a begging rodent, took some air in his mouth which puffed out his face, he squinted his eyes and squeaked like a mouse.
Jill sat there looking at John. Her mouth dropped in bewilderment. A piece of food dropped back in her plate from her mouth because it was opened in disbelief at the spectacle before her.
“Do you think you are cute?” asked Jill. “First you are a dog then you are a hamster. They both don’t talk. So, I guess that concludes for me that you don’t talk. You can’t.”
Then John grew stoic and stared at Jill just like in the beginning before dinner was served.
“Did I just remove the gumption from you to sit there and eat your food?” asked Jill.
Then John started to wolf down his food again.
“You are a little puppet on a string,” said Jill. “You do whatever I insinuate.”
“No, I don’t,” replied John.
“Yes, you do,” retorted Jill. “You’ve been doing it all evening.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Yes, you do.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Yes, you do.”
The waitress returned to Jill and John’s table. “Is everything all right?”
“It’s just fine,” replied Jill.
“It’s fine,” John also replied.
The waitress then walked away.
“My, he talks!” exclaimed Jill.
“Woof, woof,” said John.
“Oh, cute,” said Jill. “Are you going to do this all evening? What do you like to do? What kind of work do you do? What movies do you like? What did you think of this past presidential election? What church do you go to? What hobbies do you have? How’s your health? Do you have brothers and sisters? How are they? Do you have friends? Do you like animals? How’s your love life? Do you have one? Do you like to read? Do you like to write? What did you do yesterday? Do you remember? What turns you on? What is your level of education? Where did you go to school? What do you do with your free time? Are you employed? What are your dreams in your future? Do you have any dreams? In other words what are your goals in life? Do you have a life? I mean really. I’ve posed several questions for you to strike up a conversation with me. Are you really that shy? Come on. Say something besides, woof, woof, squeak, squeak and oink, oink.”
“Oink, oink,” replied John. “That’s a new one for me tonight.”
“Hey, I didn’t tell you to say that,” said Jill.
“Yes, you did,” said John.
“No, I didn’t,” said Jill.
“Yes, you did.”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Enough,” said Jill. “Waitress, I want the check now!”
“Oh, no,” said John. “I was just kidding”
“I don’t think you are kidding,” said Jill. “You’re hopeless. And I wish you well in breaking out of that.” And on that note Jill took the check, paid for her meal only and left the restaurant.
The pitiful little John just sat there and stared into space on his own little cloud like nothing had happened after Jill left the restaurant.