"Excuse me!" I said over the garden wall. "Excuse me!"
The waiter didn't reappear. I was furious.
In the background, the cats jumped around a pair of chattering magpies that fluttered about in pibald circles on the lawn. I left them to dance and stepped back in through the back door into the crowded kitchen.
"Babe," I said. "That fellow is ripping you off!"
The waiter had peered over the garden wall in his white shirt and black waistcoat and told Herself that there had been too much salt used with the meal. It would cost another €1 on top of the bill.
He had already charged €0.90c for the same reason on our previous bill. If it happened again, I was going to challenge it. And it had.
"Where's the bill?" I asked. Herself handed me a booklet that fell in fan-folds onto the floor as I fumbled with it.
"Look!" I said. "They charge so much already that they can give you a whole waiter's book as a bill!"
I flicked through the white pages and came to a multi-coloured one which listed the menu and the accompanying prices. The menu clearly stated that the prices already included the cost of salt.
"I knew it!"
I pulled a salt cellar from the counter and tried to explain.
"This is our salt cellar," I said. "How are they supposed to know how much salt we've used anyhow? Do they weigh it beforehand? Do they?"
The crowd milled about and I lost sight of Herself. She was somewhere to the front of the house, speaking with someone at the open front door.
I went out the back door and looked fruitlessly over the wall for the waiter. My father's neighbour, Billy D, gazed out over his shoulder through next door's kitchen window at the melee of cats and magpies.
I awoke to Herself sitting on the side of the bed.
"I'm glad we turned that mattress yesterday," she said. "I didn't move the whole night."
I groaned, thinking about the cheese sandwiches I had had before bed. Always a good idea at the time, but always the cause of the strangest dreams. I told Herself about the salt.
"I didn't move either," I said. "I was weighed down by a block of cheese."