David entered Monkey Eclectic with Cassandra. It was a new, not yet too trendy, restaurant near the studio.
According to the world, David and Cassandra were still a couple. He guessed the time was going to soon come where they'd have to make a press release about their break-up. Although sometimes it seemed Cassandra didn't know or believe they were over. Well, like this morning.... She had held his hand. Innocent, but not quite. She acted as though they were still together. And to her defense, David had never really officially broken up with her. She had left that one night, that they had fought, and had never come back. But they worked together almost everyday, and got along fairly okay. There really had been no official discussion about ending the relationship. So, technically maybe they were still together. Although it's not like they were married. Nothing legal. So maybe “Technical” didn’t apply here.
David and Cassandra followed the hostess to the back of the restaurant where Kurt waited with his girlfriend-of-the-week.
Restaurant patrons stared at Cassandra as they walked. A few looked at David. An elderly lady smiled at David. He smiled back at her. One man quickly took out his phone and snapped a picture of the two actors. David didn’t smile at him.
Kurt greeted them when they came to the table. David thanked the hostess, and then they were introduced to Amelia-The Girlfriend. She seemed nice enough.
The waitress came by, her hair in a tight bun. David noticed all the waitresses had the same hairstyle. And all the waiters had shaved heads. Weird.
Kurt had already ordered them Tapas. David trusted there’d be a good variety-something to please everyone. Kurt was good at things like that.
The waitress walked away. Kurt aimed all of his attention at Amelia. Whispered things in her ear. David tried not to pay attention. He listened to the hodge podge of international music and looked at the pictures on the wall. They were random black and white images of Manhattan in bright frames. Lime green. Hot pink. Florescent orange.
The picture at their table was children playing on the giant spider web at the children’s zoo.
"You missed the luncheon," Cassandra said in the middle of nowhere.
"What luncheon?" David had no earthly idea what she was talking about.
"For Epilepsy? The one I was chairing? The one you were supposed to attend."
"You were missed," she said. He hated her calmness. Better she let it out and act all pissed.
"I totally forgot. I really am sorry."
"You were never very organized," she said. "I was the one who kept track of your calendar."
"True," he said. "I guess I should get a calendar or something. Or one of those palm pilots."
"So, what did you do instead?"
"Instead of going to the luncheon?"
He didn't answer.
Ah! He had an alibi.
"I was at the doctor." Good alibi. He hadn't been sitting at home, watching TV and twiddling his little toes.
"What kind of doctor?" Amelia asked. Her intrusion into the conversation completely startled David.
"Huh?" David said.
"What kind of doctor did you visit?"
How in the hell was that her business? "I'd rather not say," David said curtly, and then realized his words probably just made things ten times worse. The worst thing he could do was act mysterious. Now it looked like had something to hide. He should have just lied.
David suddenly felt very weird. He looked up, and it seemed all the other restaurant patrons were staring at him.
“Are you okay?” Kurt asked.
“Yeah,” David managed to say.
The waitress came by with some of the Tapas. She set them on the table and then walked away.
Amelia helped herself to a pork-filled soft taco, staring at David as she bit into it.
Cassandra picked up a coconut crusted shrimp and placed it gently on her plate.
Kurt went for the lamb
David looked at the potato and goat cheese Peirogies. They looked okay, but he suddenly had no appetite.
"Are you okay?" Amelia asked. She had a piece of lettuce stuck between her two front teeth. Ha. Good. David hoped no one would tell her and she'd walk around all day like that.
"I'm fine." David said.
"This is delicious," Kurt said. “David, you okay? Why aren’t you eating?”
He heard the sound of a cell phone camera. He looked up and saw someone else taking a picture.
Then David suddenly felt incredibly nauseated.
He needed to get to a bathroom.
He stood up. He was afraid to even talk. Just one bit of effort would throw him over the edge.
"David? Are you okay?" To her credit, Cassandra did seem incredibly concerned.
David tried to move, but suddenly the restaurant was spinning and everything began to fade into an awful grayness. The music turned into this loud buzzing noise. Then he fell.
When he opened his eyes, David found himself sitting on a giant white puffy thing.
It felt like a--
"Marshmallow," Eddie said. Heard, but not seen.
"Bingo," Eddie said. "Oh and the marshmallow is edible. If you're interested. Enjoy it."
David realized he was no longer nauseated. But he wasn't sure about eating a giant marshmallow, at least not a raw one. He much preferred the roasted kind. But that might hurt; sitting on a giant hot marshmallow.
Then he realized something. A dream! It had all been a dream. There was no real restaurant with weird looking waitresses.
"I was just dreaming," he said. "That's good."
"Oh no," Eddie said and then appeared on a marshmallow next to David. He started to eat, taking very huge bites that made his cheeks puff out. "That was all real."
"But now I'm here."
"I guess you are."
How did he get from the restaurant to here?
Had he fainted? In the middle of the restaurant?
"I wanted you here," Eddie said after swallowing. "I was bored." He took another big bite, then said something else. But David couldn't understand him.
"This is not good," David said. Maybe Dr. Wallace had underestimated his problems. Fainting in the middle of work and entering a dream could not be perfectly normal.
"What's not good?" Before David could make sense out of anything he was back at the table. Well, not at the table. Near the table. Lying on the floor.
Cassandra stared down at him along with Amelia, Kurt, one of the bald waiters, and two random people David had never seen before. Well, he might have seen them, but he hadn’t previously taken notice of them.
"Are you okay?" Cassandra asked.
"Totally fine," David lied. He pulled himself into a seating position.
Someone got up from their table and started snapping pictures with their phone. David tried to ignore them.
"Are you okay?" Kurt said. He sounded extremely worried. He took David’s hand and helped David to stand up. “Do you need us to take you to the hospital?”
David sat back down in his chair, although he wanted to just run out of the restaurant.
Everyone else sat back down in their chairs. The two strangers went back to their table.
David tried to joke, make light of the situation. “Well, just trying to gather up some publicity.”
No one laughed.
“You know for the show,” he added.
"Who is Eddie?" Amelia asked.
Eddie. How did she know about Eddie?
"You were calling for him in your--" Cassandra said.
"Sleep, Amelia finished for her.
"Eddie?" David stood there stumped. What could he say? What should he say?
"An ex-lover maybe?" Amelia said.
"No," David laughed at that. He didn't know why it seemed so funny.
Kurt gave Amelia a strange look, maybe finally realizing that his new girlfriend was a bit strange.
The conversation came to a halt. Cassandra, Kurt, and Amelia returned to eating as if nothing weird had just happened. David watched them, and then looked at the food.
After a few moments, he stood up. “You know. I think I might go home.”
“Are you okay, David?” Cassandra asked. And he felt a slight twinge of something. Regret? Guilt? Because she did sound truly concerned...very genuine.