For the third time, the waitress came to the table. Trying to hide her impatience she questioned the young woman once more.
"Ready to order, Madam?" The waitress' teeth tapped together on every syllable.
The strange clicking reminded the customer of a talking skeleton and she covered her mouth in a suppressed giggle.
"Sorry, I'm still not sure. Everything looks so tempting. Can I take a look at the video reviews again?"
"Certainly." tap-tap-tap went the teeth of the server.
The customer snorted slightly as the waitress walked away to retrieve the video monitor. Staring after her, she wondered if the waitress was trying to hold dentures in. She tapped against her own strong teeth and said a small prayer of gratitude that she had been born with a strong set of choppers. Some things in this life were simply the luck of the draw - like her teeth, or the color of her natural hair. Other things could be purchased, if you had the money. Thanks to the recent demise of her great-uncle Shayne, the hermit-hoarder, she now had the money.
It was enough money for one item at Chez Choice.
The tippity-tap of her teeth matched the clickety clack of her clogs as the waitress returned to the table.
"I'll stand by, in case you have questions," crooned the older woman. She had a feeling if she didn't prod this one, she would be here all night. "You just scroll on the screen and click on the live video feed of someone who has opted for that choice." She leaned over and clicked the first option that appeared.
A woman dressed head to toe in the finest fashion of the season lit up the screen. She had jewels draped, nails manicured, hair coiffed, and was the epitome of alluring. "This one is high-fashion. You can see how the elegance suits her."
The customer could see that easily. However, though the woman radiated beauty, she also had a sour expression. This woman looked like a high class model, but did not seem at all pleased with her choice.
"I don't think that's the one," the customer shook her head, brows furrowed. "Maybe another one." She scrolled to the next screen and touch the glass of the video display.
The waitress piped up, "That one is wealth." A man in a business suit was sitting in a private jet. He was surrounded by computers and monitors and devices - each one displaying charts and tables of his money. He seemed to be under immense amounts of stress. With one hand he was balancing two separate phones, and with the other hand he was madly rubbing the temples of his head.
"All that wealth, and doesn't seem to enjoy it. No, no, I don't think I want that option," the customer shook her head again, chewing her lip in mild frustration.
The waitress and customer scrolled together, right to left. The customer scrutinized each person on the screen, befuddled by the disconnect between what they had versus how they felt. None of the former customers seemed to have any satisfaction with the choices they had ordered from the menu. The young woman would have thought that everyone would have left content, but it seemed that none of the options they had purchased had brought what was intended.
"As you can see," the waitress interrupted,"our clients have gotten exactly what they paid for. Fashion, Wealth, Health, Fame, Power, Security, Recognition... our customers have made their selection and we have provided it in full."
The young customer was about to question further, but the next screen halted the conversation.
"Wait. This one! Let me check this one out!" The customer's heart raced. There was something different about this video preview. The woman displayed was not particularly healthy. She definitely didn't have any special fashion sense. She seemed to be living in a tent on a campsite somewhere. She was cooking her meal over the fire - what seemed to be a freshly caught fish. Humming a sweet tune, she smiled broadly. The sky was blue and bright, with deep gray clouds approaching from the west, but the woman seemed oblivious to the stormy weather. Her eyes glowed with an inner peace and joy that was infectious.
"If you slide the screen again, you'll find -" the waitress spoke up.
"No, don't move it! This one. I'm trying to figure out what it is about her. It's clearly not any of the things we've seen so far, but I can't stop thinking that I have to have what she's got!"
The waitress scrunched up her nose a bit and looked at the code on the bottom. "This one? Not the sachet of wealth? Not the elixir of fashion? Not the vial of power? THIS one?"
The customer paused. She had to think carefully. The only thing that was guaranteed was the actual item ordered from the menu. If you chose power, you didn't necessarily get fame. If you chose fame, you didn't necessarily get wealth. This woman on the screen didn't seem to have much at all. On the contrary, she seemed to have a difficult life but the expression on her face was more attractive than all the other choices combined. Yes, this was the one!
"This is it. I'll take what she's ordered, please."
"Fine. That order will be right out." The waitress turned to the swinging doors and called beyond them. "Pierre, that will be a simple cup of HAPPINESS to Table 35, please!"