He was smart for an idiot. He knew it, both how smart and how dumb he was. He was thankful that he was higher on the evolutionary ladder than a tapeworm, though, since his trip to India, he wasn’t sure who was higher on the food chain; wasn’t the tapeworm feeding off him?
He had dreams, big dreams, dreams higher than his canopy bed laced with mosquito nets. He wanted to leave his mark, a positive mark, but being an idiot, he had no discernible talent to make his indelible stamp, so he got a tattoo.
The tattoo read: Inspiration Wanted: Apply Within.
He had the words inked across his forehead. It hurt like hell, but he knew the effect would be unforgettable. He had gone to India for spirituality and come home with only a tapeworm. Now inspiration would come to him and this time he’d save on the plane ticket.
Weeks past, people passed and nobody said anything to him, though he did get a lot of sideways looks from people on subways, or waiters at vegetarian restaurants where he ordered steak tar tar. He liked the attention, he just wished the people would put words to their thoughts. He just wished he had something to say.
So, he sat smoking on the patio of his favorite vegetarian restaurant that constantly refused his order of beef wellington, which made him love them more, for they had conviction.
“Excuse me, sir, the patio is non-smoking.”
“That’s ok, I don’t mind,” he said, tapping his ashes in the basket of bread.
“Sir, you’re going to have to put that out.”
“What? The bread?”
“Please, sir, the cigarette.”
“What are you afraid of cancer?”
“We’re all going to die one day, no matter how many tofu burgers we eat.”
“Sir, take the cigarette outside.”
“I am outside. We’re on a patio. You don’t like the smoke, don’t stand so close.”
“I’m trying to take your order.”
“Well, I order you not to stand so close.”
The waiter took a deep breath before saying, “Ok, your forehead says you’re looking for inspiration while I’m just looking not to put anything bad within my body, so, could you stop blowing smoke in my face, please?”
The man could tell the waiter was wise. The man asked him, “Have you ever been to India?”
The waiter, ever polite, turned his head from the maddening customer to collect himself and to not breathe in any more smoke. Chad, the waiter, took another deep sigh then turned back, answering rapid fire: “I’ve been to Indiana I have family in Terre Haute sir please go.”
“Before I go, feed me your last words of wisdom.”
“Leaving now is a good idea and don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.”
“Thank you.” The man stood and left a 12% tip on the water he’d got for free and left the restaurant careful not to let the door hit him on the ass.
The next day he bought a bus ticket to Terre Haute.