Saturday night my wife and I went out to dinner at Dona Maria’s, a quaint Mexican restaurant off Cheyenne and Hwy 95, not too far from our little casa in the desert. We had our baby with us, but the rest of the kids were left home.
I was just finishing my carne asada burrito (muy bueno) and Katie’s fajita salad (me gusta!) when our waiter brought over two dishes of fried ice cream.
“Uhm, Señor, we didn’t order these.” He looked surprised – glanced at the tables around us – and then made a hasty about-face all the way back to the kitchen. Someone was about to get his or her piñata cleaned.
My wife made the astute observation that we should have just eaten the ice cream. We didn’t order it, so it wouldn't have appeared on our bill, so, you know – free ice cream! Sometimes I think my wife is so smart, I’m a little afraid of her.
We were just getting ready to make-out in our booth when our waiter came back with fried ice cream in one hand, and another waiter in the other.
“This is for you,” said the second waiter, placing the ice cream in front of us. “The couple that was sitting over there at that table sent it over. They also paid for your meal already.”
This is the part where a wave of Warm Fuzzies should fall over you, drenching you with a renewed belief that there are good people randomly scattered throughout our society. But instead…
“Where?” I asked, suspiciously.
“The table’s empty.”
“Sí. They left already. They wanted to remain anonymous.”
Suddenly I’m as paranoid as Steven Seagal in Above the Law. I stand up and look around. “I cased the place when we came in. I didn’t see anybody we knew.” Without looking down, I tap my wife on the shoulder and excuse myself as I move out from behind our booth. I’m slowly pacing around our table, taking in the atmosphere of the restaurant.
“Could I please speak to the manager?” I ask, not to anyone directly.
The manager came over, smiling. “The couple that was sitting at that table,” I pointed, “who were they?” She didn’t know. At least that’s what she said. “I’m just curious,” I half smiled. “Could you look up their credit card information?” She made a step towards the cash register; the waiter standing behind her was perfectly still, except his mouth, “They wanted to remain anonymous.”
“Mind your own negocio, Paco,” I glared at him. We waited for what seemed like minutes, when the manager came back.
“They paid with cash.”
Now I’m standing on top of our booth, waving my arms (the camera making a swift left-to-right pan across the scene - like Steven Seagal in the beginning of Under Siege).
“Atención, everyone! Who saw the couple sitting at that table right there?” People are staring at me now, like I’m some sort of crazy person who is not only crazy, but on crazy drugs. I threw a blanket over my wife and the baby and rushed them out of the restaurant like Steven Seagal with his family at the beginning of Hard to Kill.
We made it home, sent the babysitter out through a window in the bathroom, and locked the doors. I turned out the lights, drew the blinds, and sat at the door holding binoculars in one hand and a Ginger Ale in the other.
Seriously folks, if you decide to eat at Dona Maria’s, be careful. As delicious as the food is…you don’t know who’s watching you. Or who might pay for your meal. Like Steven Seagal, you could be... On Deadly Ground.