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Encounters at the Ramen Shop

A collection of short stories powered by A.I.

Coming Short

by | Sep 9, 2022

“Now this is soul food!” Sam exclaimed after devouring on of the grilled chicken pieces in his ramen. He gave his stomach a comforting tap while nodding his head. His date smirked. 

The waiter came over to poor some more sake for the couple. 

Being a truck driver, Sam was conditioned to drinking cheap beer, but this sake went down well with his meal. It wasn’t too sweet like the wine he had tried before, and it certainly had a bit of a burn to remind him that this was alcohol.

“Can I get you anything else?” The waiter asked.

“As a matter of fact you can man” Sam said cocking a finger gun at the waiter. “I’ll have another chicken katsu ramen, and my lady friend here will have the…” he looked over at his date.

“Six pieces of gyoza” she said with a smile.

“Make it happen!” Sam exclaimed. The waiter nodded and scurried off.

“So what do you do?” Sam’s date asked.

“I’m a truck driver” Sam said. “I haul all sorts of things, but mostly I’m just a big boy who likes to play with big toys” he said with a wink.

“Oh really?” She said, leaning in closer. “Maybe you can show me some of your big toys sometime” she said with a flirty smile.

Sam chuckled and took a sip of his sake. “I think I’d like that” he said.

The couple soldiered through their last courses and after finishing the last bottle of sake, Sam signalled the waiter for the check.

“I have to visit the bathroom before we leave” Sam’s date said. “I’ll be right back”.

Sam nodded and watched her walk away. He couldn’t help but admire her slender frame and the way her hips swayed. He was definitely looking forward to showing her some of his “big toys”. 

His stomach turned when he saw the amount due to pay. He had drank quite a bit of sake and his chicken katsu ramen was no joke either.

He pulled out his wallet and counted the cash he had. He came short 30 bucks.

He looked around the restaurant and saw that his date was still in the bathroom.

He quickly got up from his seat and walked over to the waiter who was talking to another customer.

“Excuse me” he said, tapping the waiter on the shoulder.

“Yes?” The waiter said, turning around.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’m a little short on cash. I only have 70 dollars on me. Is there any way I can leave my watch as collateral until I can come back and pay you the rest?” Sam said, pulling out his watch.

The waiter eyed Sam up and down. “I’m afraid that’s not an option, sir. You’re required to pay the amount in full before you leave.”

“Look, I’m good for it, I promise” Sam said pleadingly. “I just need some time to come up with the rest of the money. I can come back tomorrow and pay you then.”

The waiter sighed. “I’m sorry, sir, but like I said, that’s not an option.”

Just then, Sam’s date came out of the bathroom. “Sam, there you are! I was looking all over for you.”

“Uh, hi” Sam said, sheepishly. “Listen, I’m sorry, but I don’t have enough money to pay for the meal. Can you spot me?”

His date’s face fell. “I’m sorry, Sam, but I don’t have any cash on me either.”

The waiter cleared his throat. “Sir, if you can’t pay, I’m afraid you’ll have to come with me, right now.”

“What? Why?” Sam asked, panicked.

“You’ve consumed alcohol and you haven’t paid for your meal. We have to deal with this payment in another way” the waiter said sternly.

“No, please, there has to be another way” Sam pleaded.

“I’m sorry, sir, but you’ll have to come with me” the waiter said, motioning for Sam to follow him.

Sam had no choice but to follow the waiter as he was escorted to a flight of stairs going down at a corner of the restaurant.

He was then led into a small, dark room with a single chair in the middle.

“What is this place?” Sam asked, his heart racing.

“This is where we take care of our unruly customers” the waiter said, pushing Sam into the chair.

Sam tried to get up, but the waiter pushed him down again.

“What are you doing?” Sam asked, struggling to free himself.

The waiter pulled out a length of rope from his pocket and began tying Sam to the chair.

“Hey, what the fuck are you doing?” Sam shouted, panic rising in his voice.

The waiter ignored him and continued tying him up.

When he was finished, the waiter pulled out a phone from his pocket and dialed a number.

“Yes, sir, we have an unruly customer who hasn’t paid for his meal. He’s currently in the holding room” the waiter said into the phone.

Sam strained against his bonds, but it was no use. He was completely helpless.

A few minutes later, the door opened and Sam’s date came walking in showing an evil smile.

“What the hell is going on?” Sam shouted.

“I’m sorry, Sam, but you should’ve paid for your meal” his date said, her voice now dripping with venom. “You should’ve known better than to mess with us.”

“What are you talking about? Who are you people?” Sam asked, his voice trembling.

“We’re the yakuza, Sam” his date said, her smile widening. “And you’re in way over your head.”

The door suddenly busted open and a gang of men came flooding into the room. Sam’s date stepped aside as the men went to work on him. They beat him mercilessly until he was nothing more than a bloody pulp. He could hear them laughing as they did it and his date’s laughter rang the loudest of all.

As he drifted into unconsciousness, the last thing he heard was his date’s voice saying “Welcome to the yakuza, Sam. You’re going to be with us for a very long time.”

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