silt, dressed in waitress blacks with an apron rolled up in one hand, getting off a bus. Behind her, good angel Ankle and bad angel Thigh advising her-
silt An all my love an all your love were not enough.
I am peering down at work
ankle a mild and well trodden road
thigh Your brain should be thankful for being alive! on an ordinary day. On a day when it will have to make decisions, and leap rapidly to obey its instincts.
silt That is today. It is. Wake up in the morning out of no consciousness, I wake up and there’s no thoughts in my head. I had to think a first thought and everything else followed from that.
ankle Your mind is a cloud
thigh Your clouds scrambled
ankle From the moment of the first thought, your mind is awake. And after that, the thoughts grew quicker and larger and your mind started to swell-
silt Today starts with one good scrambled round of mind clouds slowly expanding in the hollow growing shell of my body
thigh For just a few minutes. For just an hour or maybe two, and then
silt And then I will string my mind along a creature’s
thigh Known as the restaurant.
silt I will start work at the restaurant.
thigh You will direct your will towards
silt I will direct my will and twist my body towards the restaurant.
ankle Look, there it is, shaking and swirling in the sun. It’s 10am. It’s sunshine. It’s carparks cafes traffic lights newsagents real estate agents petrol stations supermarkets sunshine. It’s seventeen tables inside, twelve tables outside, 144 person capacity, Turkish cuisine, coffee machine, licensed bar, two owner-managers, two chefs, two apprentice chef kitchen-hands, eleven waiting staff. It’s your restaurant.
silt I do the Saturday 10am until 5pm shift seating customers, taking their orders, making drinks, carrying food, cleaning tables, tallying up bills, polishing cutlery, setting tables for dinner. For seven hours I string my mind along a creature’s known as the restaurant.
ankle The restaurant is an entirely stationary animal, like a predatory plant or a fungus. It cannot obtain sustenance by tracking and chasing its prey, so it must attract prey to it.
thigh the restaurant pulses in a patch behind the motor registry and the TAB
gnawed by rats, hemmed in by other restaurants
but reaching its tables out as far as it can
silt For seven hours my purposes are the restaurant’s purposes. What it needs, I must attempt to supply.
thigh The restaurant fears customers
even as it needs to feed from them.
it sends out drones to keep its prey at bay
to catch them in a table and cling to them there
quietly exciting the pollen from them
ankle Potential customers can be identified in three ways. 1. They approach the waitress and ask to be seated. 2. They seat themselves. 3. They stop outside the restaurant and look at the menu.
silt 1 & 2 – go to procedure F.E.F. 3. When a person or a group of people stop outside the restaurant and look at the menu, I approach and ask if they’d like a table. If no, return to zero. If yes, seat them and go to procedure F.E.F.
ankle Procedure F.E.F. Bring customers a bottle of water, glasses and food menus. Ask them if they want any drinks to begin with. If yes, take their drinks order.
thigh You will see creatures like your bosses whose minds are now only the restaurant’s. Their success is so aligned with the success of the restaurant that they no longer have independent wills. Their thoughts and actions are all directed towrads sating the restaurant’s hunger.
silt And today I am Chief Drone!
ankle You are the restaurant’s physical, human representative! You are the link between the abstract food described on the menus and the actual Turkish meals created by the Saturday morning chef!
thigh the restaurant spurts out certain drugs
that loosen customers’ wallets
draws them slowly down to its
gaping cash register tendril
silt Make drinks. Coffee machine. Hot water dripped through a tight fist of powdered coffee beans. A little nozzle that sprays steam into a jug of milk. Soft drinks. A small hose with buttons on the end that feed through cola and lemonade mixed from satchels of flavoured syrup. Bottles of wine opened conspicuously at the table-
silt Here you are, sir, the New Eden ’01?
ankle Thank you very much.
silt Tiny knife on the corkscrew run around the head of the bottle, take off plastic wrap. Fold out corkscrew screw. Dig as deep as you can as straight as you can as hard as you can into the guts of the cork.
thigh The restaurant crouches silently behind you as you pull open the wine and the table of prey silent watches you try to pull the face off the wine’s skull
ankle Initial minutes are uncertain getting uniform on, putting phone away, cup of coffee, set out tables and umbrellas, drink menus on tables, check bookings sheet for lunch, and then by the time the first customers arrive you are in the correct mental state. Every instinct and thought process is aware that success for the restaurant means success for you:
thigh What the restaurant wants you will do your best to provide it.
silt What it wants is what it will get
I the drone am well fed on Turkish coffee and torn scraps of Turkish bread with butter
I will crack instantly from job to job
thigh Your mind will stray.
silt My mind will stray. It will lurch around in circles.
It will collapse in the same puddles over and over.
But it will keep turning back to the source
the few deep springs of my mind’s s interest
ankle Your life outside the restaurant-
thigh Your successes outside the restaurant.
ankle It’s fine to fantasise about your other life. Fantasies like that keep parts of your mind distracted that should be distracted, the parts of your mind that do not help the restaurant, those parts fantasising tucked safely out of the way. The rest of your mind, the whole of your body, ready to capture and caress the plastic strips and metal disks with numbers on them, ease them politely sweetly out of the customers’ wallet-
silt So I will shrug and my body
will shrug itself – it will be no effort to turn its every shake
into a job completed, a jump for the restaurant.
ankle No matter how many customers land in the waiting grip of the restaurant’s chairs, you can handle all of them! Their plastic strips and metal disks are the sweet sunlight the restaurant drinks down and you love them!
silt I do not fear sunny days.
I like the victims of my restaurant’s trap.
I operate the machinery that is the restaurant.
I can make every button on that great beast’s body
snap and buzz and flow and fire and dry.
thigh Your earblades are always whirring.
silt Do not worry segnor
I have good feelings about this one.