Date: 10th February 2021
The latest blog from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:
There may end up being their last supper. But they are at a supper where nobody is going to sing for it…
Picture the scene…
The group are standing at tehri table just inside an empty restaurant. They have been brought to eat and eat is what they have now done. It is time now to get onto the coach and to leave BUT…
The man they call gaffer is unhappy.
Starving, they were, but now they are fed. The gaffer and head of the group, however looks as though he is preparing for an extra course.
The head of the group, the gaffer, is Mr. Martindale.
He was in charge from the moment they got off the coach and into that empty restaurant. He now is trying to work out, after the order has been eaten just who owes what and to whom…
They are living in such extraordinary circumstances.
With the shutters up and the curtains drawn the restaurant had got them in through the back door, served them their subtle yet delicious standard brand of Italian food and were now looking for the bill to be paid.
The problem is that one of them didn’t like pasta.
They asked for rice.
They asked for boiled ice.
There’s always one…
Mr. Martindale thinks that it was the boy in the corner, the wee one who spoke out at the team meeting, but he is not sure.
There was the other wee joker in the other corner, his wee pal, who might have done it for a joke but now there is nobody owning up for it and the guy who sent his chef into apoplexy, a waiter who had to beg for a portion of their best white fluffy stuff from the Chinese down the road and the manager who was mortified for even asking is awaiting the next move forma man who seems unable to track down the culprit and make him pay. He is tapping his fingers on the desk and expecting the bill to be paid… in full… now…
It’s not an easy life being the manager of a restaurant in Aberdeen… especially when money is being requested… or so he likes to tell people… the opposite of the cliché is the norm in his experience but he likes to tell the jokes and make people smile and feel superior – they spend more when they are unwittingly patronized.…
Before he is to pay the bill, Mr. Martindale needs something I return – a signature from the same manager with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp – just to prove they got their dinner and they paid for it and they broke no rules in the process…
Mr. Martindale hands over a piece of paper. The manager raises an eye. He asks, “What’s this?”
Mr. Martindale straightens his tie and answers, “Just a little piece of paper that confirms we have observed social distancing measures and this place was sanitized deeply before we got here.”
The manager raises another piece of paper. The bill. He smiles at Mr. Martindale and states, “You sort this, and I shall sort that.”
Mr. Martindale smiles and responds. “Once the guy who wanted boiled rice is sorted, that will be too.” He nods in the direction of his bit of paper… just to make sure his meaning is clear.
The manager turns and walks away. He goes to the table behind and picks up a pen and a point of sale machine. He hands the machine to Mr. Martindale and holds onto the pen.
The manager smiles. It’s not High Noon, but it may as well be.
He then says. “You just need to put in a card, type in the PIN and I can then sign the wee form.”
Mr. Martindale turns round and surveys the carnage behind him. Hoping that someone has done the decent thing and come forward to admit it was they who ordered the stupid boiled rice, he hoped that there was a body coming forward with the answer to allow him to move on.
Everyone is walking out the restaurant.
He turns and grimaces at the manager, hopeful an accommodation can be reached. Just as he is about to speak, there is a voice form the doorway.
“Boss! Gonane thank the sponsors fur wur meal? Especially the new Chinese sponsor!” The sun, shining through the doorway blinds Mr. Martindale to who has spoken but he is awfully glad that he has. His memory comes flooding back and he smiles confidently this time at the manager.
The manager senses a change.
He starts to speak but Mr. Martindale holds up a finger to stop him. He smiles. He speaks. “The form. If you could just sign it now and I shall tell our sponsors that we had a great deal. That is the sponsors who own this restaurant. The chain who has decided to feed us before every game… for free”
The manager closes his eyes. Months of being shut and he ends up giving a freebie to almost 20 people. He signs the form.
Mr. Martindale walks out the restaurant feeling good. Just as he is about to board the coach he hears on the coach a sneeze, a cough and an expletive.
The expletive came from himself…
Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is no evidence that any Aberdonian restaurant has ever sent out for boiled rice from a Chinese down the road, this is therefore not true, though Mr. Martindale has been in an empty restaurant in Aberdeen with his squad in recent weeks.
During the week, Players and staff from Livingston dined at Tony Macaroni – the club’s sponsor – before their 2-0 win at Aberdeen. All restaurants are closed in Scotland due to a national lockdown, but Livingston claim that the SFA allowed them to eat in an empty restaurant. The police are investigating, and a recent outbreak of COVID-19 has happened at the Tony macaroni Stadium in Livingston. Of course, this may be totally unrelated, and West Coasters never slag off Aberdonians for being tight either.
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