Harold Mumford sat in the dark booth by the restrooms of Wally’s Wonder Waffles and dreamt of revenge.
Sally had passed his booth three times already, twirling her hair, looking down at her feet, sorting menus – anything to avoid looking at him. Once, while she had been waiting on the people in the booth across from him, he had managed to catch her eye. She’d turned red, and quickly retreated back to the safety of the kitchen.
Harold had felt a pang, watching her go. The bitter bile of betrayal rose in his throat, but he swallowed it down, a sneer of contempt curling his lips.
So, Sally. You’ve abandoned me too? Very well, he thought. Very well.
Oh, he knew it wasn’t her fault, but she was standing up with the enemy. There could be no mercy. Harold knew what would happen if he budged.
He would not budge. Instead, he dug in his heels underneath the Formica table, straightened his glasses, drew his raincoat closer about him, and waited.
It had all started a week ago.
No! Harold thought vehemently. No! To understand, it had to be taken back further!
It had all started four years ago, on a rainy night just like this one. Harold was trudging home in the rain, weary and bedraggled from having to spend long hours at work preparing last minute tax returns for one of his chronically dawdling clients. People always waited until the 14th to remember how much they didn’t want the government to come after their money – they always waited around, and expected him to bail them out.
And he always did. Because Harold was a bailer. He spent all his time helping others fix their crooked numbers, and he was good at it. Harold could thwart an IRS auditor in the blink of an eye. His clients waxed poetic on his god-like abilities with the State and Federal tax codes, praising him, idolizing him. That was, until April 16th rolled around. Then, he became just another name in their address books. Tossed aside. A nothing.
Yes, he remembered sadly, his thoughts had been very gloomy that night, indeed.
The rain that night was particularly heavy and cold. It was not long after he’d left his office that he was forced to seek shelter in the doorway of a brightly lit, garishly red, white and blue diner-type eatery.
Harold goes in despite the fact that he does not like waffles, does not like decor, and finds himself obsessed with their waffles. he goes home. Tries them. Tries lots of recipes, lots of irons, and cannot reproduce it. he finally goes back, swallows his secret shame at having to go to the waffle house, and has another. They are wonderful. But then one day, Wally is gone. There is a new cook. The new cook doesn’t make them the same way. He burns them. Over and over. And wally seeks revenge. At the end, he is taken away to jail, and on the first day there, they serve waffles. They are perfect. Harold is happy.