THE BIG TIP

Rui Zink
Rui Zink
 Portuguese writer Rui Zink was born on June 16, 1961. "Writes books, gives lectures, imagines  things." - Rui Zink in his own description. He continues to write one story after another, novels, plays, graphic novel and much more. His language has become beyond its own boundaries. The structure of his written text also goes beyond conventional grammar. A different world came to life in subjective language. 'Torkito Tarjoni' has been  published on the occasion of his upcoming  60th birthday on June 16. Presently a lecturer by profession. His first novel was ‘Hotel Lusitano’(1986). Zink is the author of ‘A Arte Superma’(2007), the first Portuguese Graphic Novel. Also his ‘Os Surfistas’ was the first interactive e-novel of Portugal. He is the author of more than 45 published books all over. 
 Zink achieved prestigious ‘Pen Club’ award on 2005 for his novel ‘Dádiva Divina’. His several books has been translated in Bengali like ‘O Livro Sargrado da Factologia’(‘ঘটনাতত্ত্বের পবিত্র গ্রন্থ, 2017), ‘A Instalação do Medo’(‘ভয়, 2012), ‘O Destino Turístico’(‘বেড়াতে যাওয়ার ঠিকানা', 2008), 'Oso'('নয়ন') etc. 

THE BIG TIP

 Author : Rui Zink
 Translation from the Portuguese : Richard Zenith 

Two bu­si­nes­smen in a small res­tau­rant.

“Isn’t our wai­tress fan­tastic?”

“Yes, she’s good.”

“I think I’ll leave her a nice big tip.”

“No need to,” says the other. Bu­si­nes­smen never forget the value of money. “The ser­vice is in­cluded.”

But the first one in­sists: “Today I’m fe­e­ling ge­ne­rous.”

*

A sur­prised wai­tress.

“Ex­cuse me, sir.”

A he­e­dless bu­si­nes­sman: “Yes?”

“You left…”

“Yes?”

“… too much money.”

An un­flap­pable bu­si­nes­sman: “I don’t think so.”

A stunned wai­tress: “A hun­dred euros? Your bill comes to fif­teen euros and forty-five cents, sir.”

A self-con­fi­dent bu­si­nes­sman: “I know how to add and sub­tract. And I left exactly what I meant to leave on the table.”

A stunned wai­tress: “A hun­dred euros? To pay for a bill of fif­teen euros?”

A witty bu­si­nes­sman: “And forty-five cents. Don’t forget the forty-five cents.”

“Are you sure you don’t want any change back?”

A mag­na­ni­mous bu­si­nes­sman: “No. You keep it all. For being so nice.”

“But…”

*

A nosy coworker. “How much did he leave you?” ⁃

“A hun­dred euros. For a bill that came to fif­teen…”

An outs­poken coworker: “Wow! That’s what I call a ge­ne­rous tip.”

A he­si­tant wai­tress: “Should we split it?”

A coworker with her mind made up: “No. He gave it to you. That’s how we do it here, so that’s how it should be. I worked at another place where we split the tips, and it only caused pro­blems. There was a sch­muck who didn’t put his tips in the pot. This system is better.”

“All right. If you say so…”

An in­si­dious coworker: “And you must have done so­mething to earn that tip.”

A wai­tress who’s afraid she doesn’t un­ders­tand what the coworker is in­si­nu­a­ting: “What do you mean?”

A coworker cool as a cu­cumber: “Nothing. The tip is yours. You earned it.”

A wai­tress who’s afraid she un­ders­tands all too cle­arly: “What do you mean?”

A coworker cool as a cu­cumber on ice: “Nothing. I don’t mean anything. Me­rely that you must have earned the tip that the man left you. And let me add that he wasn’t bad-lo­o­king.”

Yes, a wai­tress who’s afraid she un­ders­tands all too cle­arly: “What do you mean by that?”

“Me? Nothing. Just that you’re re­ally lucky.”

“…”

“Why are you pul­ling that face? I didn’t say anything.”

*

A hus­band who ar­rives home.

“So how was your day?”

An in­ti­mi­dated wife: “Fine…”

“Just fine?”

A wife who’s not sure what her hus­band is get­ting at: “Fine. Normal.”

A hus­band who knows there’s more: “That’s not what I heard.”

A sud­denly tensed-up wife: “What did you hear? From whom?”

A hus­band-turned-lion who won’t let go of his prey: “Are you sure there was nothing spe­cial?”

A wife who fi­nally un­ders­tands. Who un­ders­tands that, even if she’d for­gotten, no one would let her forget. About her fan­tastic luck. About the great thing that hap­pened to her that day: “Oh, of course. You’re right, there was so­mething.”

“And what was that?”

A wife who smiles, trying to show she’s happy: “I re­ceived an 85 euro tip.”

Why, after all, should she feel guilty? She didn’t do anything wrong.

“And that was so­mething spe­cial, don’t you think?” she hur­ri­edly adds. “It’s not every day we get lucky like that.

A hus­band who smiles, but it’s not a fri­endly smile: “Oh re­ally? Quite a tip, I must say. Splendid.”

“Thanks.”

“But I don’t un­ders­tand. You re­ceived this tip?”

“Yes. That’s what I said…”

A sar­donic hus­band: “And from whom, if I may ask? Don’t tell me it was from the Holy Spirit.”

A wife who doesn’t be­lieve what’s hap­pe­ning: “No, no. It was… from a cus­tomer.”

“A cus­tomer?” re­peats a hus­band with a nasty smile.

“Well that’s just grand, dar­ling.”

“Yes…”

A hus­band who hasn’t called her dar­ling for years: “A cus­tomer.”

“A cus­tomer, of course. Who else would it be?”

A hus­band with venom in his words: “An ap­pre­ci­a­tive cus­tomer, I dare say.”

A wife who de­nies it, of course. What else can she do? “I didn’t do anything to re­ceive that tip.”

A self-res­pec­ting pre­dator who won’t let go of his prey until its neck is broken: “A sa­tis­fied cus­tomer, right? I ima­gine he was quite sa­tis­fied. Cor­rect?”

A ner­vous wife. A wife who knows they haven’t been get­ting along for some time now but who still won­ders why he has to be so nasty: “But dar­ling…”

Not only that, for once in her life she did ab­so­lu­tely nothing wrong. She me­rely re­ceived a good tip!

“It’s not re­ally all that much money…”

Too good, that’s the pro­blem.

“Eighty-five euros?” A hus­band who whis­tles an as­to­nished whistle: “You must have pro­vided him with ex­cep­ti­onal ser­vice.”

Too good of a tip. Much too good.

“Don’t talk like that. I didn’t do anything, I just…”

A pre­dator who, lo­sing his pa­ti­ence, comes right to the point: “What did you do to sa­tisfy your de­lighted cus­tomer, huh?”

“Don’t talk like that. Please…”

“TELL ME, YOU SLUT! WHAT DID YOU DO TO MAKE THAT CUS­TOMER SO SA­TIS­FIED WITH YOU?”

A ter­ri­fied wife: “Stop it, please. Think of the neigh­bors. You know they hear everything.”

“OUT WITH IT! WHAT DID YOU DO FOR HIM TO GIVE YOU THAT MONEY? YOU WENT TO THE BATH­ROOM WITH HIM, WAS THAT IT? YOU GOT DOWN ON YOUR KNEES, WAS THAT IT?”

A wife who doesn’t know which way to turn: “Don’t talk like that. You have no right to… Aaah!”

*

A good lawyer: “Your honor, my client doesn’t deny the tragic events that took place.”

A judge who doesn’t like being taken for a ride: “The crime he com­mitted.”

A lawyer who smiles as if at a child, okay, you win: “The tragic events in which he played an ac­tive role, your honor. My client is per­fectly aware of that. I me­rely wish to point out that there are ex­te­nu­a­ting cir­cums­tances.”

A judge who looks over the top of his glasses at the lawyer. An old trick to let him know that pa­ti­ence has its li­mits. “Ex­te­nu­a­ting cir­cums­tances? Hmm. You may pro­ceed.”

A gra­teful lawyer: “With your con­sent, I call my first wit­ness.”

*

A very good lawyer, in fact: “Is it true that the de­ce­ased re­ceived an es­pe­ci­ally ge­ne­rous tip on that day?”

An ex-coworker on the de­fen­sive, a fish out of water in the cour­troom: “Yes… But that wasn’t her fault.”

A cu­rious lawyer: “Is it common to re­ceive tips of al­most one hun­dred euros?”

A he­si­tant ex-coworker: “Well…”

“Have you ever re­ceived such a large tip?”

An ex-coworker whose honor has been in­sulted: “Who, me? God forbid!”

A con­tented lawyer: “Is that right?”

A tongue-tied ex-coworker: “I mean, I was never that lucky.”

A sa­tis­fied lawyer: “Thank you. I think we’ve all un­ders­tood. You were emi­nently clear. I have no more ques­tions.”

*

A good neighbor: “Well, it’s not like we put our ears to the walls, but you know how it is in old buil­dings…”

An un­ders­tan­ding judge: “Just tell us, Madam, what you heard on the night in ques­tion.”

A good neighbor who he­si­tates: “Well, they started yel­ling and…”

A pru­dent judge: “Both of them?”

A good neighbor with a fuzzy me­mory: “I think so, I’m not sure.”

A judge in se­arch of facts: “And what were they saying?”

A di­rect speech in the first person: “Tell me, what did you do to make the cus­tomer like you so much?”

A judge who wants facts, only facts: “Is that ver­batim?”

“Ex­cuse me?”

“Is that what you heard? Are you cer­tain that’s what you heard?”

A good neighbor pro­tes­ting in­no­cence: “Yes, more or less. You could see that the hus­band…”

An ever-ready lawyer: “That man there in the dock?”

“Yes… You could see that the hus­band had his re­a­sons for being angry at her. I mean, all that money…”

A judge trying to put the wit­ness at ease: “Eighty euros isn’t exactly a for­tune, is it?”

A good neighbor brim­ming with ho­nest sim­pli­city: “I know, your honor, but it’s a…”

“It’s what?”

The triumph of common sense: “Your honor must admit that it was a very big tip. Anyone in his place…”

A judge ar­ching his eye­brows: “Would commit murder? Is that what you mean?”

A good neighbor squir­ming like a caught fish: “No, that’s not what I mean. But… A man can lose his head… Can sus­pect that, you know…”

*

A just sen­tence. Three years.

Well, not exactly three years. An of­fender with no pre­vious re­cord and sig­ni­fi­cant ex­te­nu­a­ting cir­cums­tances.

The in­ci­dent that prompted the tragic event, na­mely the exag­ge­rated tip, was after all highly sus­pi­cious. Three years, the­re­fore, two and a half of which were sus­pended, le­a­ving the of­fender to serve six months in jail. At heart it was an ac­ci­dent, nothing but a la­men­table ac­ci­dent. Perhaps, the judge had to admit, it was even a ter­rible mi­sun­ders­tan­ding. In­vo­lun­tary mans­laughter, in any case, and not pre­me­di­tated murder, which would have re­sulted in a far harsher sen­tence – fif­teen to twenty years without pa­role.

One of life’s un­lucky tra­ge­dies…

Seven blows in the head was a bit much, but the wit­nesses had been con­vin­cing: it was an im­pulse of je­a­lous pas­sion, le­a­ding to an un­just death but mo­ti­vated by a cause that, although not just, wasn’t en­ti­rely un­just. What, after all, would in­duce a man to give a one hun­dred euro tip to a mere wai­tress?

*

Two men on the te­lephone, face-to-face and se­pa­rated by a thick sheet of glass – not bul­let­proof but close to it.

“When do you get out?”

“Three more months.”

“Must be a bitch.”

“Don’t worry about me. The time goes by quickly.”

“Quickly?”

“Yeah, quickly.”

“I’d never have guessed.”

“Es­pe­ci­ally when the end is in sight.”

“Well, that makes sense.”

“I’m le­ar­ning to work with clay. It’s fun.”

“Glad to hear it.”

“Anyway, thanks for co­ming to visit.”

“I’m the one who needs to thank you. The dough we agreed on has been de­po­sited into my ac­count.”

“A de­cent wad of dough, if I say so my­self.”

“But I earned it.”

“I don’t deny it,” says the im­pri­soned man.

“I hope not. It was a job well done.”

“Even so… Five thou­sand euros just to have lunch is pretty de­cent pay.”

A bu­si­nes­sman never for­gets the value of money. “Four thou­sand and nine hun­dred euros. Don’t forget that I had to pay for the lunch.”

“And leave the tip.”

“And leave the tip – right. A nice big tip.”

A sa­tis­fied ex-hus­band: “An un­be­li­e­vably big tip.”

Translated from the Portuguese by Richard Zenith, 2005

© All rights reserved by Torkito Tarjoni

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *