The Man, The Myth, The Legend
March 22, 2012 § 7 Comments
This is a true story. All events described within did occur. They may be exaggerated, caricatured, and otherwise misrepresented, but for the most part, they did occur. Somewhat. Enjoy learning the truth:
Peter Babetski walked into The Cafe on a warm Tuesday evening. The restaurant was full of murmuring diners and the soft chime of silverware on china. I followed behind him, keeping my head low and ducking to avoid eye contact. Pete didn’t like it when I stole his thunder.
“Hi, Pete!” A couple of the waitstaff came rushing over to crowd around my little brother. At 13, he hadn’t quite hit his growth spurt yet, but like Napolean, George Washington, and Tom Cruise, he was proof that even short men can be very important. Pete nodded nonchalantly to the hovering servers. “Hi guys,” he smiled. “I’ve decided to grace you all with my presence tonight.”
“Thanks, man!” “High-five, pal!” “The customers always tip better when you’re here!” The exclamations of the staff were acknowledged by Pete with a wave of his hand in aloof affirmation. He walked up to the bar, pulled out a chair, and sat down. “Rose,” he spoke without even looking to see where I was. “Why don’t you have the TV tuned to the Pittsburgh Penguins game yet?”
“I’m sorry, Pete.” I scuttled over to the bar as fast as my legs could move and reached for the remote. Angela, who was serving that night, came up and knocked my hand away. “I’ll do it for Pete. You’ll just mess it up, Rose.” She’s probably right, I thought in shame, as I sat down on a chair next to Pete and reached (with a feeble, trembling hand [Pete didn’t let me eat very often]) for the menu. Pete was already looking at his menu, although I didn’t know why, since he always ordered chicken fingers and fries. Every time. Chicken fingers and fries. It was enough chicken fingers and fries to feed an entire army of pint-sized punks. I knew better than to question his tastes though.
After we placed our food order (Pete had indeed ordered his standard fare, and I had wistfully begged Channing for a small bowl of oatmeal that didn’t even have to be fully cooked), Jeff the owner came out to see us. Well, to see my little brother. No one ever actually wanted to see me.
“Hey, Pete!” He shook hands very seriously with the diminutive dictator. “It’s about time you came back to the Cafe! You know, you should really have Rose bring you in more often. I don’t think she’s a very good sister to you.” He turned and glared at me as I cowered back into my seat.
“Now, now,” Pete dismissed the accusations with casual grace. “She does her best. We can’t expect more than humanly possible when working with, ahem, limited material.”
I couldn’t contain myself at that. “Did you just call me stupid!?” My mouth snapped shut in dismay as I realized what I had done.
Pete turned slowly, his eyes like ice. “Yes. And there is nothing you can do about it. You are my servant.”
“Sorry Pete,” I mumbled with as much humility as I could possibly get into two syllables (you’d be surprised at how much fits).
“I accept your apology, Rose, but be warned that I’ll probably eat two helpings of ice cream now and buy a Gatorade afterwards and you will have to pay for ALL OF IT.”
I nodded miserably, unable to even speak. I had held some silly hope that perhaps tonight would different from normal, that maybe he would actually thank me for something… acknowledge my many long years of service and sister-hood.
But as I peeked glances at the hockey game out of the corner of my eye, and morosely pushed around my gluey unsalted oatmeal, and heard Pete quoting hockey stats to Jeff that he’d made me research for him, I knew it had been nothing but a fool’s dream. A fool’s hope. Tonight would be no different. I would suffer in silent agony for many more nights. Years would pass before Pete turned 18.
Oh, how this silent bondage seems endless!!!