“My Waiter Plays Three-Dimensional Chess,” by Nick San Miguel

Dec 20th, 2018 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

From our first interaction I could tell it was going to be a dog fight. Neither combatant was going to give the adversary an inch. That’s just how things are when you are of a class as distinguished as mine. A target is placed upon your back unfairly by the world and you must try with all your might not to be struck by an arrow. I shall set the scene for one such occasion when a man of lower class tried to put me in my place. I was on a date. It was a 3rd date if you must know. I thought I’d display a touch of class by taking her to an eatery known for its gourmet burgers and brews. I could tell she was impressed.

“How many girls have you taken to Red Robin?” Rebecca asked, her lips curled just so, letting me know she already knew the answer.

“Only you, m’dear.”

“Oh, Frank! You spoil me!”

I had her wrapped around my finger. ‘Red Robin never fails,’ I thought with a chuckle. Little did I know that Red Robin would fail, quite miserably in fact. Everything began quite amiably; the hostess showed us to our seats without error (I made a reservation implicitly saying I wanted a clear view of the nearby AMC Theatre to set up a killer joke I had planned) and the manager even stopped by to give us a pleasant nod. I felt things were going good enough that I could launch my joke upon her.

“Hey look, an AMC,” I said, setting up my joke.

“Ah, yes.”

“I was thinking we could maybe catch a flick after this.”

“Oh that sounds delightful Frank. What shall we see?”

“Well, I was thinking we could see this movie called Constipation, have you heard of it?”

She shook her head.

“Yeah, well that’s because it hasn’t come out yet,” I joked with perfect comedic timing. She stared at the floor for the next 30 seconds. I feared that maybe she hadn’t understood, “You see, because with constipation the waste simply refuses to—”

“Yes Frank, I understand. I’m just disappointed, that’s all. We’re at a Red Robin you know? You’re conducting yourself as if you were at a Texas Roadhouse with jokes like that,” she shook her head solemnly, “and we’re above Texas Roadhouse-goers.”

“Oh Rebecca, please my dear, I just meant it as a little joke I didn’t—”

“It’s quite alright Frank, just remember that we are guests at this fine eatery. We aren’t on a barn.”

Just as she finished, our waiter approached the table and what ensued was a battle of wits and cunning on par with the likes of Holmes and Moriarty.

“Hi guys I’m Matt. What can I get started for you folks?”

Now was my chance to avenge my previous vulgarity, and I leapt at it.

“Well I’d like to imagine we’re more than ‘folks’…Matt,” I finished with a tinge of disdain, looking at his name tag before I addressed him even though he’d already said it so as to assert my power over such a lowly service boy.

“I’m sorry?” replied Matt, with a faux innocent look about his face.

“Well, we’re eating at the Red Robin aren’t we Matt? I’d like to think we’re of higher caste than the ‘folks’ over at the Texas Roadhouse,” I said, glancing out the window and gesturing towards a Texas Roadhouse next tothe AMC, “or ‘savages’ as I like to call them.”

“Well then what would you like me to call you, Monsieur?” replied Matt, his voice dripping with sarcasm and contempt. It was merely a game of intellectual tennis now, and I had to hold serve.

“I’d hope at an eatery of this caliber, guests would be referred to as ‘patrons’ or if we’re going to be French, ‘habitués‘ if you will.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Rebecca biting her lower lip with such pent up sexual desire that I thought of having her right there on the table, in full view of Matt and the two young children of the neighboring table.

‘They’ll have to discover sex at some point,’ said the devil within my head, ‘better at Red Robin than online right?’

Before I could act upon my impulses, Matt seemingly changed his tune, “Well,since you are indeed patrons of the Red Robin, I shall go and get you some waters. How rude of me to have forgotten.”

With that he left and soon I felt a hand on my nether regions. Next thing I knew, I was aggressively raw-dogging Rebecca in the Red Robin lavatory. Before we could finish, clarity came to Rebecca and she stopped the proceedings abruptly.

“What are we, animals?” she exclaimed, “I’ll bet Matt is out there worried sick about us!”

With that, we made ourselves presentable and returned to our booth just before Matt came with our waters. The waters had lemons on the rim, as one would expect from such an establishment. Upon further inspection though, I found one of the seeds from the lemon slice floating precariously atop the water’s surface. A man of lesser caste would’ve instantly accused Matt of trying to murder him, leaving this seed hanging there in the water with the sole intent of having me choke on it. Yet I knew better, for I was civilized. I was eating at the Red Robin wasn’t I?

I knew exactly what this seed in the water represented. It wasn’t solely an assassination attempt, it was a form of silent protest from Matt. He obviously took exception to his work. It was evidenced by his unkempt hair and slovenly stubble. Matt resented being forced to serve the seemingly never-ending slew of aristocrats and high-class individuals that poured into the Red Robin on a daily basis. He envied their lavish and wealth. Matt wished he was me.

One might feel a tinge of sympathy for him, but not I. For I knew this seed in my water represented his being fed up with the system, with the social hierarchy which he felt he was a slave to. Matt probably thought I wouldn’t notice the seed. Foolishly, he supposed that I would be so blinded by my opulence that I wouldn’t sniff out his ploy. Boy, was Matt mistaken. Just as he started to ask if we were ready to order, no doubt thinking he was off the hook, I began, “So you think you’re a rebel Matt, huh?”

“What is it now sir?”

“Matt, if I wanted to play patty cake I’d have gone over there,”I said, pointing towards the children sitting politely at the other table, “now don’t play dumb-shit with me, okay Matt?”

“Sir, I have no idea what your problem is, but-“

I cut him off.

“Yet, I know EXACTLY what your problem is Matt!” I yelled loud enough for the entire restaurant to hear.

“Please don’t yell sir,” Matt pleaded, seemingly exasperated.With that, I pulled the seed out of the water and held it for Matt to behold in all its glory.

“Explain this Matt!”

“Is that seriously what you’re upset abou—”

“I’ll explain it for you. I know how you yearn to be Rebecca and me,”I said, looking over towards Rebecca who was quite visibly and unashamedly pleasuring herself to my outbursts, “you’d die to be able to wear my IZOD polos and drive my Nissan Sentra! So instead of working hard like a normal American, you instead resort to a silent protest of your duties!” Matt was speechless, “Do you even know how lucky you are that I saw right through your plot Matt? Can you even fathom the repercussions had I unknowingly drank and swallowed this seed and choked as you wanted me to do? You’d be in jail Matt! You’d be in jail if I wasn’t so well versed in Three Dimensional Chess and saw right through your guise!”


I may have been banned from Red Robin that day. Not for what I described above, but for what I said just after, going into raunchy detail of Matt getting gang-banged in jail because of me hypothetically choking and dying on that lemon seed and him being arrested for premeditated murder. Rebecca and I may have also spent that evening in jail for jumping the Red Robin mascot in the parking lot as he was arriving for his evening shift as a form of our own silent protest (and when I say “silent”,I mean quite loud and violent) for being banned from Red Robin. But as the old adage goes, ‘Better to commit a felony than let a snot nose punk get away with trying to rebel against the system by attempted murder.’

Ironically, Matt faced no repercussions for his actions despite my explanation of his plot to kill me to the guard outside our cell. One good did come of this day as Rebecca and I conceived our first child in our jail cell that night. We named him Robin as an everlasting reminder of the fateful events of that day. A reminder that no matter how many IZOD polos you own, no matter how many loyalty points you accrue for staying at the Hampton Inn, and no matter how far above the savages of Texas Roadhouse you are, the world will resent you for being better than it.


Nick San Miguel is currently a student in college who has too much time on his hands. He likes to write things that blur the line between genius and idiocy but when you really think about it you realize it’s just plain idiocy.

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