by Martin Baena

The waiter approached the lone table of four, greeting the guests with a deferential nod. “Welcome to ‘Menu’ and how are we this evening?” he asked.

They were well.

“Have we had time to consult the menu?”Once they all agreed they had, asked the obligatory follow up, “And what can we prepare for you?”

So they ordered and the waiter made a mental note of all the dishes, side dishes, and drinks requested. When they finished, he added another deferential gesture and said, with as much grace as he could muster, “Thank you, Bon appetite.”

The service was exceptionally quick and the preparation so well executed it put into question the very laws of physics. The meat had been cooked to perfection, the plating impeccable, and the wine served without a drop wasted. One of the guests mused privately that such a fete would only be possible had the waiter anticipated their orders  or the kitchen had prepared all the dishes in advance. A ridiculous notion in either case – it was entirely possible he had lost track of time in such good company.

After they had finished the desert course the waiter made his final appearance of the night and asked about the meal. They all agreed it was perfect. The waiter, delighted by the answer, smiled slightly and called out, “Gentlemen!”

The four guested looked at themselves uncertain as to who he was addressing. Within seconds their silent questions were answered: a squad of armed men entered the restaurant from the kitchen and formed a line a few meters away from the table.

Like the meal itself this too seemed to have been premeditated though the guests could not guess as to the motive, not that there was any time for deductions.

The waiter withdrew into a corner and called out a series of commands, and as the armed men assumed a firing stance and leveled their weapons at the guests, the waiter called out, “Fire!”


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