"Who" Writing - Waitress

Now that we have got the idea of object writing, we can develop it one step further by introducing an element of “who”. Character development is at the centre of every song or story that you write. Even if the song is not specifically about a person, you still have to consider who it is doing the talking. For the next three days, we will begin with a “who” prompt. You can either write about the person objectively, or you can write from their subjective perspective.

Today’s “who” is “waitress”. All the rules established so far still apply, namely, you must stay as close to your senses as you can. Have fun!

Her voice escapes her larynx like two raw glass shards grinding together. Her nails have that nicotine patina, and her breath is evidence of a life hard lived. Rode hard and put up wet. Likely, she was a looker in her youth, but age and desperation seep through her pores like an unwelcome aura and have transformed her into this lurching mass demanding me to command her, a slave ordering a master to order the slave. The pen scratches against tattered paper recording the desires laid on the table. She writes in code, in a past life maybe she was a court reporter or amanuensis with a vast knowledge of shorthand stenography. She transforms my order into an array of symbols and secret language. She works like a wizard making my biscuits and gravy, eggs, and coffee transmogrify into a heart attack on a rack, cacklefruit, and black belly warmer. Her missing-one-too-many-teeth smile brightens while cracking her commissure drawing a small drop of dying blood while counting the coins laid out to ensure prompt and courteous service all in my view. She floats giddily, ghastly to the next table, desiring to be used and compensated again.

2 Likes

The leftover sauces are smeared across the plate, like smudged paints on an artist’s palette. I pick them up catching a hidden drizzle of ketchup on my finger. I recite the script of today’s desert menu, altering the intonation of my voice between tables, auditioning myself for the best delivery of this lonely soliloquy.

1 Like

Working in the frantasia of the kitchen with the chef shouting at me to hurry. I fasten my gate, returning to as normal as I can appear when I cross the curtain into the performance area. The smell of buttered asparagus whets my appetite as I consider the ethics of pinching a stalk whilst I am out of sight. The customers continue conversation as I place their feasts in front of them, oblivious to my existence.

Her apron grapples with her waist, searching for a nook above her hips to rest on. Her knees and ankles groan, reminding her of a youthful strength now vanquished. She brews coffee while the sun peered through window slats and she polishes floors as the night birds dart past. The soft morning chatter and rambunctious family luncheons, the greasy perfumes, the faces that hover over the bar top, they all feel like some warped twilight vision that replays with each slash to her calendar. Flipping through the pages of her life, the only real marking of time is the loosening of her apron strings and the deafening chorus of her body.

1 Like

Very vivid characterization nice job! I feel like I could really envision this person

1 Like

I like the “cross the curtain into the performance area” I feel like you could have used a something more sensory instead of “the chef shouting at me to hurry” maybe try convey more of the feeling of being rushed

1 Like

This is amazingly descriptive - I’ve got writers envy!

1 Like

This is a nice description, I can feel the quiet mourning of lost hopes as she does the same thing day in and day out and then wakes up one day wondering where all the time went :frowning:

Thank you, perhaps one could employ the metaphor of the chef as a music conductor, increasing the tempo (making me feel rushed) and also his shouting could be a crescendo of some sort. Not sure how I could get this into words though.

I love the “catching a hidden drizzle of ketchup on my finger” because that literally happened to me at supper. I can totally feel it.

That internal conflict of moral vs temptation is super well done. That is one of the extended senses. The reader can feel the tension in them rise up and get caught it his throat. Well done!

You are great at showing time passing in imaginative ways. The sense of passing time is one that is often overlooked. First you compare her current state to that of her youth, growing larger, less shapely, and more tired. Call that macro time. Then you show the time passing in the day “soft morning chatter” crescendos into the “rambunctious family luncheons”. Call that micro time. Using both really encompasses that we are all mortal.

Empty plates stacking up to a tower, the lonely cry of a baby waiting for it’s parents to decode what he is trying to say. Food and splatter on table tops wiped clean repeatedly from the moment the apron goes around the waist up until it’s freed from it. Sore feet, fake smiles, "what can I get you"s, more wiping because someone spilled their drink, somebody dropped a plate, wanna guess who? The misunderstood baby boy as a way to get his point through because nobody would listen just like nobody tipped, nobody even thanked and tomorrow I’ll still be here, ready to serve.

Wow. You can really feel the disdain. The sore feet bring the feeling home, and the smiling to cover it. The reference back to the child who was never listened to is great imagery because the waitress feels forgotten and ignored. Using a hidden analogy is a great way to hammer the point home subtly.

1 Like

Very good indeed! The slave ordering the master to order the slave is a powerful angle.

I sighed deeply. The scent of cheap cologne still lingered. The grooved glasses felt both sticky and greasy to the touch. I felt lightheaded and queasy when I saw something partially chewed under a plate. “Order Up!” I heard, muffled from the back. The grease stained rag smelled like garbage and onion and sadness, as I wiped the table. The weathered five dollar bill was almost ripped in half, and moist to the touch, causing my fingers to stiffen in protest. I whispered obscenities under my breath as I dragged the heavy grey dish pan back into the smokey kitchen.

1 Like

@WLDFLOW3R This! You are definitely getting the hang of it. So many senses invoked. The weathered bill is really good because that is something most of us have encountered and it makes your mind go right to that weird feeling of soft money. The smell of garbage, onion, and sadness is also really great.

1 Like

Definitely the most descriptive thing you’ve written so far - very well done with packing in the senses! One sentence that could potentially be expanded is the “I felt lightheaded and queasy”, you could perhaps further explore how these feelings are manifested through the senses? Great stuff well done!

1 Like

Had a little more writer’s block with this. Pushed through though!

Grease lined pans and frying hash browns linger in the air as she glides, tray in one hand, welcoming guests in with the other hand, able to navigate the space with her eyes closed. Her hand on my shoulder fills me with joy as she winks at my brother. She drops bread at the table, melting in my mouth, as her buttery voice rattles off the specials like an auctioneer. While I speak, she pulls her hair back into a bun, the sweat glistening.

2 Likes