IN A CHINESE RESTAURANT
A young couple walk into a Chinese restaurant in London's Chinatown. They stand in the tiny foyer.
GEMMA: Is the food okay, Brendan?
BRENDAN: Gemma, the food is superb.
A young Chinese girl, smiling, leads them to their seats. It is early evening and the restaurant is not crowded. The couple study the menu. A small Chinese man with a notepad and pen in hand stomps up to their table.
WAITER: (snappily) What you want?
BRENDAN: Oh, er...
WAITER: (impatiently) Starters? what you want?
BRENDAN: Er... wan ton soup...
WAITER: (interrupting) One? two?
BRENDAN: (turning to Gemma) What about you? you fancied the squi...
WAITER: (interrupting, very surly) You want wan ton soup or squid deep fry?
GEMMA:Oh, I'll have wan ton soup as well
BRENDAN: Are you sure...
WAITER: (interrupting in triumphant voice) Wan ton soup - two, yes!
WAITER: Main course?
BRENDAN: Well, I'll have the Peking Duck
WAITER: (frowning) No Peking...
BRENDAN: (interrupts) Oh, well, in that case...
WAITER: (screams) I NOT FINISH!
WAITER: (interrupts) Is BEJING, Bejing Duck!
WAITER: You both want?
GEMMA: (tentatively) Well, I thought maybe sweet and sour chicken...
WAITER: PORK BALLS!
GEMMA: (astonished) Pardon?
WAITER: Sweet and sour PORK BALLS - no chicken
GEMMA: (sweetly) I prefer chicken - couldn't you do the sauce but with chicken?
WAITER: (astonished) Everyone like sweet and sour pork balls! speciality of the house - with noodles.
GEMMA: (still sweet) Well, I'd like chicken sweet and sour - with rice
WAITER: (astonished) FINE! will tell chef - he NOT be pleased!
He stomps out
GEMMA: Well! I heard that this - temperamental waiters - was a feature of this place, but really!
BRENDAN: ( a bit anxious) But the food is good
GEMMA: If you can get what you want!
The waiter returns, even more annoyed. He addresses Brendan
WAITER: (almost screams) DRINK! - you want drink?
BRENDAN: Oh, yes, of course, er, lager for me - um, Gemma?
GEMMA: Green tea, please
WAITER: (incensed) Green tea come with meal! free!
GEMMA: Oh, lovely
WAITER: (accusingly) You not want other drink?
GEMMA: (flustered) Well, I ...er...
WAITER: (sharply) You want wine list?
GEMMA: (unsure) Well, maybe...
BRENDAN: You don't have to have wine, Gemma
GEMMA: No, no, its fine, I think maybe - a nice cold Chablis or...(she looks at the prices and mutters 'a bit pricey') just the house white
WAITER: (peremptorily) Chablis - very good!
But the waiter walks away muttering in Cantonese. He goes through a door in the back into the kitchen.
(This bit maybe not in) We go into the kitchen, kitchen noises. The waiter hands the order to the Chef.
CHEF: How's it going, Chong?
CHONG: (a little tiredly and in a cockney accent) I don't know how I keep going sometimes - but the shocked look on the punters' faces makes it all worthwhile
CHEF: You're a card, Chong - you aught to go on the stage, you should!
CHONG: (clicks tongue deprecatingly) I wouldn't say that, though the Cheam amateur dramatic society has praised my 'Hamlet'
Later, Brendan and Gemma are eating their starters. The restaurant is busier.
GEMMA: You were right - the food is good - makes up for that awful waiter
The waiter (Chong) comes up to the table with the 'Bejing Duck' and slings it contemptuously but accurately onto the table and stalks away. The couple eat (making desultry remarks)
Fifteen minutes later Chong marches up to their table.
CHONG: You finish?
BRENDAN: (together) N-not yet
GEMMA: (a bit more firmly) Actually, I want a sweet*
CHONG:Sweet? No sweeties!
GEMMA: Not 'sweeties' - a sweet - pudding -dessert
CHONG: Ah! dessert!
with a flourish he produces the dessert menu
GEMMA: Thank you
CHONG: You're welcome
He walks quickly away
GEMMA: (surprised) Well I never!
Chong goes into the kitchen
CHONG: Damn! Damn! Damn!
CHEF: What's the matter, Chong?
CHONG: (aghast at his mistake) I was polite to a customer!
*sweet: in NE England, this can mean dessert or pudding. Tends to confuse foreigners - amongst others :-)
I was going to double-space it, but it seems funnier to me this way. Hope that hasn't made it too hard to read.