I was sitting with a young lady and an older gentleman in a restaurant. These two were my dining companions. Looking around, the room was filled to near capacity by patrons and diners. Every table was booked and filled with hungry patrons. At the bar, with all the stools occupied, a few of the thirsty patrons stood at the bar.
The gentleman, with whom I was dining with, was seemingly trying to “woo” the younger woman, but the young woman was politely distancing herself from him. I could sense her unease by his flirtatious ways. I was very quiet that night. I didn’t converse with either one of them.
This restaurant was in an old house with many rooms. I felt like I had dined there before. I just couldn’t remember where or when.
Sitting in front of an empty plate, I didn’t get a feeling of satisfaction after eating the meal. I couldn’t tell you if I liked it or not or what it tasted like. In fact, I don’t remember eating at all. I must have eaten because, as I said, I was sitting in front of an empty plate.
Lost in the din, I was not aware that the older gentleman had already paid for the meals. I saw that the bill was settled and placed in the middle of the table. I looked at it and noticed that there was a big zero with a line through it (a slashed zero) written across the front of the paid check. When I questioned the gentleman about the lined-through zero, he said, “That means that I am not giving the server a tip.” I looked quizzically at him and waited for a further explanation that never came. The older gentlemen turned his attention back to the young woman.
I couldn’t leave without giving the waitress compensation for her services. I went into my purse to get some money from my wallet and found that I didn’t have any money. Looking over towards the bar, I saw my husband standing there. While the gentlemen and the young lady were engrossed in conversation, I motioned my husband over to the table. In a low voice so that no one could hear, I asked him if he had any money. Reaching into to his pocket, he handed me four quarters. As we were getting up to leave, I discreetly placed the four quarter on top of the bill.
The gentlemen, the young lady, and my husband headed for the exits. Unnoticed, I lagged behind so that I could check my purse (one more time) for some money that I may have thrown into the bottom of my purse.
While rummaging through my purse, I looked up and everyone was gone, my dinner party, my husband, all the patrons and diners. The place was empty. I was alone. I was abandoned! I had to catch up with my party! The four quarters would have to be enough.
Through the restaurant’s exit door, I entered into an empty, windowless room and then another, and another…
I was feeling my way through a circular, chamber of rooms.
The only light emitting from this labyrinth were these words projected on the walls-
'There's no way out.'
THERE IS NO WAY OUT!