Short Shorts by Jessica Thomas: King Tut’s Fish Fry, Part 2

shortShorts

King Tut’s Fish Fry was on the corner of 61st and F Street, but the sign was from Las Vegas. The idea for it must have been born there at least. The restaurant’s name was written in neon script, each word alternating from green to blue, perhaps to remind potential customers of the sea and its tasty inhabitants. In the background hundreds of tiny yellow and orange light bulbs whirled and flashed.

“Wow!” Mindy said when she stepped out of the car. If the lights didn’t catch your attention, the sound would. The sign housed a motor that hummed twenty-four hours a day, forever spinning it on its base.

Next to the sign, King Tut’s Fish Fry was unassuming. The exterior was covered in a brown barn-like siding, and it had one of those flat roofs Gordon was always wondering about. Seemed like water would just pool up there. What kept it from leaking?

“Oh! Let’s order some of those,” Mindy said the moment they sat down. She pointed at the table next to them, her tan, medium-sized arm dangling over the table.

“Sure.” He shook his head eagerly.

“I absolutely love onion rings.” There was an earnestness in her voice. He could tell from the start she was an earnest girl but he was surprised she was earnest about onion rings too. He liked that. He especially liked what Mindy was wearing–a spaghetti-strapped dress made from some comfortable looking fabric. The tiny straps were raveling along the seams, and the floral print was faded to a dingy pastel.

Her black hair fell just beneath her shoulders and she pulled at the ends unconsciously. Every time she drew her hand up, Gordon’s eyes followed it. He couldn’t help but notice she wasn’t wearing a bra. He didn’t mind that.

He didn’t mind that the two of them looked like such opposites sitting there either. Gordon wore his standard wedding attire. He bought it when his high school friends started getting married. The year after they graduated, Gordon attended seven weddings. For the first one he bought a pair of khaki pants, a white oxford shirt, a nice brown jacket, and a striped tie to match. He wore the same uniform at every wedding—-except Martin’s. At Martin’s he was the best man so he had to wear a tux.

“I’ll have the garden salad, the steamed vegetables, and a baked potato,” Mindy told the waiter when he came to take their orders.