Pinocchio was a puppet who had always wanted one thing: to be a real live boy. He was tired of having to use sandpaper to wash his face and the constant threat of termites was beginning to take its toll. He had been living with Geppetto for a long time now and quite frankly, it was getting old. Geppetto was always telling him about an illusive Blue Fairy who supposedly would turn him into a real live boy, but Pinocchio wasn’t so sure about that. After all, Geppetto was an old man who may or may not have lost touch with reality 17 years earlier when he made love to a block of wood who he claimed was Pinocchio’s mother. Pinocchio knew that if was ever going to escape the ice cold grip of Geppetto, he would have to get a job and start supporting himself financially.
On morning, after a long, exhaustive night of trying to sleep in a maple crate that Geppetto called a bed, Pinocchio popped his legs into place and declared, “Today I will get a job!” So he gave a little whistle and headed over to Red Lobster. He and Geppetto had eaten there the week before and as he thought back to their waitress who seemed 99% brain dead, he figured if she could wait tables, then so could he.
The hostess gave him a job application and he began to fill it out. He quickly realized that he had no experience whatsoever and when the manager called him over for an interview, Pinocchio handed over his blank job application.
“What are you, a puppet or something?” asked the manager.
“Yes, sir, but some day I hope to be a real live boy! And I know I don’t have any experience as a waiter, but I can tell you that I will give 110% if you would only give me a chance-”
“Fine, you’re hired. Your first table is over there.” The manager tossed Pinocchio an apron and shuffled away. Clearly, the hiring standards at this particular Red Lobster were very, very low.
“Oh, boy,” said Pinocchio! “I’m a waiter!”
As he tied the apron around his waist, he skipped over to his first table to start his new independent life.
“Hello there! I’m Pinocchio and I’ll be taking care of you today!”
The woman at Table 16 looked at Pinocchio with a combination of curiosity and disgust. “What the hell, are you a mother fucking puppet? Are they seriously hiring puppets here now?”
“Yes, ma’am, I am a puppet, but someday I’m gonna be a real live boy! Can I start you off with some Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp? They’re delicious. I just had them last week with Geppetto.”
“Ummm, that sounds good, but can I get the geppetto on the side with extra coconut? And are the shrimp fresh? They better not be frozen, puppet. I will not be happy if they are not fresh.”
Not wanting to disappoint his first customer, he decided to go to the kitchen to find an answer for her. He walked through the swinging doors and was overcome with the stench of seafood, sweat and ire. “Hey, fellas,” he yelled to the guys behind the stainless steel line. “Are the shrimp fresh here at Red Lobster?”
The four men all stared at Pinocchio for fifteen long seconds. Then they looked at each other before turning their heads back to Pinocchio and burst out laughing.
“Fresh? Ha haha! The puppet thinks the shrimp are fresh! What do you got for a brain, sawdust?? We don’t even thaw them out half the time, we just toss ‘em right into the batter. Fresh shrimp at Red Lobster, that’s hilarious.”
As Pinocchio left the kitchen, the laughs of the men echoed in his ears. He approached Table 16, unsure of what to say. On the one hand, he wanted to be honest with this woman but on the other hand he hated to disappoint her. After all, would she even be able to tell the difference?
“Hello, ma’am. Ummm, I checked with the kitchen to see if the shrimp are fresh and, uh…”
“Well, what’s the answer puppet? Do not tell me them shrimp are frozen. I will walk my ass outta here if you tell me that.”
“Oh, sure, well, then…you will be happy to know that…the shrimp…are…fresh!”
As soon as the words came out of Pinocchio’s mouth, he regretted it. For some reason, whenever he lied about anything, his nose would grow. Geppetto was never able to explain this phenomenon and he attributed to the Blue Fairy, For Pinocchio it was a constant source of annoyance. He was even able to get away with a simple white lie, for his nose would betray him immediately. Like that time Geppetto had caught Pinocchio in the bathroom looking at pictures of lumber in a Home Depot flyer. Pinocchio told Geppetto that he was thinking abut building a tree house when really he was touching the little stump between his legs. Geppetto knew he was lying and threatened to saw off his stump if he ever caught Pinocchio playing with it again.
The woman at Table 16 watched in awe as Pinocchio’s nose grew bigger and bigger.
“No, wait, they’re frozen, I’m sorry, I lied. The shrimp aren’t fresh!”
But it was too late. The lie had been told and his nose was getting bigger than it ever had before. It was quickly the length of a pencil and ten a ruler and then a baseball bat. It was growing at such a rapid speed that even Pinocchio was frightened. His nose was heading right toward his first customer and he yelled at her to get out of the way.
“Move, move! My nose is going to stab you if you don’t get out of the way!”
By this point, the woman was digging through her purse so she could record this event on her phone. She didn’t see how quickly that nose was coming at her or how pointed it was. Just as she found her phone and looked up, Pinocchio’s nose stabbed her in the eye. The wooden stake kept growing and it went right into her skull and forced its way out on the other side. There was Pinocchio’s nose, skewering his first customer’s head. He wished he had a Kleenex to wipe away the brains that were dripping from the tip of his nose, that had, thankfully, stopped growing. He began walking backward to remove his nose from the woman’s limp body from it which finally became disengaged when she became wedged between a booth and chair. She fell to the ground, dead.
The brain dead waitress from his previous visit to Red Lobster walked by and glanced down at the woman. “Oh, she don’t tip anyway.”
Horrified, Pinocchio left the restaurant, flinging his apron to the ground. He ran home, happy to spend the rest of his life with Geppetto and he knew that he never ever wanted to wait tables again.