Writing Prompt – A Fired Waitress

This is from 642 Things to Write About by the San Fransisco Writers’ Grotto. My husband bought it for me as a way to encourage me to keep writing. He is the exact kind of encouragement and support a writer needs!

–“Write a scene in which a woman is fired after only a week on the job. Just a week earlier, the same person who is now firing her was very persuasive in convincing her to take the job.” —

“So, Jill,” Liza called as she set down an empty tray for the dirty dishes, “What do you think about being a waitress?”

Jill glanced around to ensure her section was still empty, then hurried to help Liza clear the dishes. “I dunno, it’s a lot of work. Some people are the worst!”

Jill threw a bread plate onto the tray harder than she meant to and sucked in her breath as the bread scattered. She exhaled slowly when the plate stayed in once piece.

Liza eyed the plate, then grabbed her rag. “Yeah, I heard about that table with the kids throwing their food everywhere. I’m so glad I didn’t come in until later, I would’ve lost it if I had to clean that.”

Jill adjusted her collar and bow-tie. “Still,” she shrugged, “It’s a nice place and that helps with the tips you were telling me about. I think I can pay off my student loans faster than I thought with this job. Until you know,” she shrugged, “I actually get one that uses my fancy degree.” She paced back to another table and straightened the settings. “Thanks for finally convincing me to work here.”

Liza gathered the tray and rag. “Yep.” She paused, bit her lip, then smiled and left.

Jill didn’t have time to wonder what that was about. The evening rush hit and her section filled up quickly.

She sold several bottles of wine, convinced overly-stuffed guests they had room for dessert, and managed to keep her guests happy. It was one of those nights her coworkers warned her about. The perfect ones that come once in a blue moon, but are usually followed by the kind of shifts that make you want to throw the plates against the walls screaming “I QUIT,” and flip the bird as you storm out.

Liza appeared again as the doors were locked and Jill was vacuuming her section. “Ready to go?” Liza asked in a shrill voice as she bounced on the balls of her feet.

Jill furrowed her eyebrows. “No, I still have a few things to do before I can clock out. You know this. You’ve been working here longer than I have.” She began wrapping the cord.

“You don’t have to make it so perfect, you’re wasting time,” Liza chided.

Jill glared at her, “You’re the one who taught to me to do it this way. What’s gotten into you?”

Liza looked around, “Nothing. Look, we just have to go before Carl comes out.”

Jill crossed her arms. “Why?”

Liza looked down at the dark green carpet, her shoulders slumped. “Because I was supposed to fire you before the rush.”

Jill opened her mouth, but no words came out.

Liza held up her hands and looked at Jill’s stomach. “I’m sorry. Carl told me it would be better to hear from me since we’re friends.”

Jill narrowed her eyes at her.

Words spilled from Liza like the water in the stone fountain behind her. “He said you weren’t good enough for the kind of sales he needs.”

“What?” Jill spat. “Did he see the sales I made tonight?”

Liza bent her head to look down at her shoes again, causing her long, dark bangs to form a curtain to shield her face. Jill couldn’t be mad at her. Liza hated confrontation. Maybe that was why Carl forced her to do this.

Jill swallowed hard over a growing lump in her throat. She had never been fired before. She had held steady jobs since she was old enough to work. Summer jobs and campus jobs. She had always left on good terms; whether it was for school, or because she graduated. “Maybe he’ll see how well I did tonight and change his mind.”

Liza snorted. “Or maybe he will just fire me for not firing you when I was supposed to.”

Jill looked over at the office doors Carl would eventually emerge from. She stepped up to Liza, pushing the vacuum with one hand, and put her other arm around her petite friend. She hadn’t realized Liza was shaking. This made Jill laugh, which startled Liza.

“I’m going to put this away and we are going to leave like we are both are coming back tomorrow.” Jill squeezed Liza’s shoulders before letting her go and walking away with the vacuum. “Then, we’re going to Ma’s and Pa’s for some late-night shakes.”

Liza looked up and cocked her head.

Jill shook her head. “You’ve got to work on your managerial skills, and I’ve got some cash I need to spend.”

I tried to think up a really funny scene, but for some reason I couldn’t. Probably because I’m just not that funny 🙂 I love/hate prompts because there is absolutely no planning, just sit down and see what comes out. Sometimes it works out great, sometimes it’s terrible.

I like how this scene turned out. Liza and Jill came up with their own names and did their own thing for me. It was an interesting exercise. We shall see if this has a future.

What are your thoughts?