22. The Broken Mirror

Depending on when you visit the Hooters in Hermitage, sometimes there’s a mirror behind the bar. This is not the strange part. If you ask about it when it’s not there, they’ll tell you that the mirror broke and they’re debating about whether to get a new one.

What’s strange is what exactly they mean by “broke.”

See, because no matter what mirror they put up there, eventually there comes to be one too many waitresses in it.  Say it’s in the middle of the afternoon and you have two girls covering, one with brown hair and one with red.  If you’re just looking around the restaurant, you’ll see them running around, lifting trays over patrons’ heads, leaning over to pour more iced tea, checking narrow black folders to make sure they’ve got the right ticket for the table before setting it down.

But, if you look in the mirror, as often as not, you’ll also see a small blonde with a high ponytail and an enormous friendly smile, darting from table to table.

The staff is usually split 50/50 about how they feel about her.  Some of them are terrified, even though she only appears in the mirror and there aren’t weird noises or a feeling like anyone else is present if you’re alone in the dining room.  There’s nothing at all creepy about her.

Some of them secretly appreciate, on busy days, when they are so tired of the “clever” comments and the small tips, catching her eye in the mirror and getting a supportive nod or wink.

But eventually the patrons notice.  And then it becomes really weird.  Usually, one person will see her first and he’ll say something just to the folks at his table.  You’ll see them looking at the mirror and then kind of sitting tall in their seats to crane their necks around and check if they aren’t perhaps mistaken.

Their weird behavior will get the attention of other people who will see what they see in the mirror, and soon enough, the whole restaurant grinds to a silent halt.  No one eats. No one speaks.  They all are just watching the small blonde in the mirror.

They say that one time she seemed to notice that they had all stopped to stare at her and she looked out at them, her brow furrowed in confusion, and she smiled and shrugged, like “what are y’all looking at?” and went back about her business.

On that day, everyone ran out of the restaurant in terror.

This was, you can imagine, a nightmare. Tabs remained open. Credit cards were left unclaimed. Meals were never paid for.  The mirror was taken down, brought out into the parking lot, and busted into countless sparkling pieces.

They’ve tried new mirrors, but she’s always in them, working away, like it’s the most ordinary thing in the world.

6 thoughts on “22. The Broken Mirror

  1. Poor Hooters girl. Kind of a letdown after the Devil’s awesome shoulders, isn’t she? But who could follow that? If I do try to get these published, I maybe should move him to the end.

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