The waiter cleared away another empty plate from the table of Harold Gromish as he finished off his fifth helping of Beef Chow-mein. Harold belched as he contemplated going up to the buffet for round six. This was his favorite place to dine at, alongside “Barrigans barbecue pit”. When he wanted to chug back a few beers with his dinner (usually it was “Barrigan’s unlimited basket of buffalo wings”) Harold would go eat out over there. However, It was Tuesday night. Tuesdays meant it was time for the thrice weekly visit to ‘Godfather’s Dragon’ Italian/Asian all you can eat buffet. The booth creaked a painful squeak as Harold leaned his large frame back against its padding. He reached into his chest pocket and drew out a single cigarette. He inhaled in a puff off his freshly lit Marlboro as his flushed cheeks glistened with sweat. A man walked past the table from behind Harold’s booth and left a small plastic tray with a paper and pen on its surface.
“Please sign here” were etched in gold along the top lip of the black tray. Harold grabbed the pen and instinctively scrawled his name down, like he had done hundreds of times before at multiple restaurants.
Then, a thought suddenly entered his mind. He hadn’t asked for the check, nor did he give the waiter his credit card for payment. Suddenly feeling strangely uncomfortable, Harold snubs his unfinished cigarette out into the ashtray on the table. He begins to push himself up out of the booth as a sharp pain engulfs Harold’s chest from within. His eyes roll back in his head as he slouches back down motionless. Harold Gromish was dead no less than three minutes after he signed his name down on the check.
The paper that was signed by Harold was soon collected by the man who had dropped it off earlier. His presence was not seen by any of the restaurant staff or any other dining patrons enjoying their meals. Death left the restaurant, having finished his quota for the evening and having the signed receipt to prove it.
Written for Teresa’s Story Starter Challenge, where the line is “Sign here.”