Bowl of Noodles

Unknown man walks into an unknown store.

Friday, 11:50 P.M.

I sat on a creaking wooden stool, stranded in a deserted noodle restaurant, alone, with nothing but excuses and an empty bowl. I steered my eyes to meet the direct center of my vision. The owner glared, similarly to a black cat with yellow almonds. He tapped an impatient foot as the clock inched closer to twelve.

The leftover strings of flour sat soggy in the unappealing cold soup. With sweat beading down the back of my body (thanks to my itchy off-brand turtleneck, as well as my sole stupidity), I hoped for an angel to descend from the sky.

But no angel in their right mind would come down to help a poor, wallet-less man at an obscure noodle shop at midnight.

Angels were just demons who haven’t fallen into hell yet anyways.

With fate completely out of my hands, I continued to sit still with little to no emotion. The most relatable thing to me at this moment was my phone. Cold, useless, and dead.

Did I forget to mention that the weather outside was god-awful as well?

Although I was shivering, the flaming sight of the store owner pierced a hole into my forehead, which definitely gave me some warmth.

It was just my luck such things took a terrible turn, but after all, I was the idiot who decided to walk out of the house in the middle of the night with 2% battery and the absence of my wallet.

After begging on my knees and bowing almost a 180, the shop owner still hadn’t agreed to free me from the prison called NOODLE WORLD. He planned to call the police, but my begging skills weren’t that bad.

The reason as to why he trapped me inside here still remained unknown. How else was I supposed to get money? Wasn’t it tiring for him too? Didn’t he just want to go home? Were we going to stare at each other all night?

The stubbornness of man was incomprehensible for the human mind.

Just when I thought I had the whole room to myself, the bell on the door chimed and now instead of one, there was two.

Two idiots.

Ah, so I’m not the only one with the bad idea of going to an eerie noodle shop at twelve in the morning, thank the lord.

His white dress shirt was half tucked in into his black pants while a thin silver chain hung around his neck, as if it were the remaining detail that completed a piece. In his hand rested a bouquet of lavender accompanied with a clear umbrella. Considering his canvas-like apparel, the purple petals were the most notable thing about him.

He nodded at the restless shop owner as he walked towards the counter, setting his belongings across the island.

“Who’s the sheepish character you have sitting there?”

“Don’t pay mind to him, he’s nothing but a fraud, a cheapskate!”

I sat speechless as my pupils grew as large as saucers, how could they talk so carelessly in my presence? Where was the decency?

The two didn’t grasp my baffled expression and continued their conversation freely.

“This halfwit supposedly left his money at home, but there was no way I would be fooled by this scammer,” said the man with a temper.

“Oh really?” chimed the man with a puzzle on his face, “He seems too spineless to rob you, when was the last time you’ve seen such a frail person like this?”

Rather than being delighted there was someone who believed in my weak truths, I felt dread. The man with the lavender was hope that there was someone as nonsensical as I was, but of course, things were never in my favor.

My mouth quivered as I awaited my turn to speak.

“Um… excuse me.. I-”

“HE CAN SPEAK?!” the lavender man cackled in exaggeration.

His grin made me feel awful, I shouldn’t have felt so small in front of an ordinary man in black slacks, but his wicked laugh went through my head as if it were being blasted on speakers into my ears. I felt engulfed by humiliation, never wanting to conjure a word ever again.

Trying to stifle my insecurity I replied, “Yes…?”

“I’m sorry, I just would have never expected you to speak up with a shrewd image like yours,” he said with a snark.

Have I ever met anyone with such rude language? I thought to myself.

Never.

Well, two could play at that game.

“What’s with the bouquet pretty boy? Did your girlfriend reject those horrendous bunch that you think are acceptable as flowers?”

“Nope.”

At this moment, I wanted to do nothing but to curl up into a ball and die.

And so, I did.

PLOP.

4:30 A.M.

While sleep conquered my body for the last twelve or so hours, I dreamt of an uncanny noodle shop that served as the epitome of my doom. Except, as I began to stare at the unfamiliar ceiling above me, I had realized, that my doom wasn’t a dream.

It was very much, unfortunately real.

I scanned the entirety of the room’s content vaguely as I felt fatigue sink into my bloodstream. Light poured into the room through the slits of the window, blinding me unintentionally. There was nothing much, really.

White walls, night stand, and a lamp.

The usual.

I looked beside me to find a note along with some of my personal belongings.

Mr. Leo Kusuma,

First off, if you’re wondering why I know your name, it’s because I looked at your ID in your wallet. DON’T WORRY! I didn’t steal anything! (maybe a couple bucks here and there but it’s no big deal). Anyways, you kind of passed out in my dad’s noodle shop. I arrived at the scene of my ridiculous brother (sorry if he caused you any trouble) and my dad dragging you from the floor and I almost collapsed since I thought they killed you, but I know the truth so it’s all good! Here’s your coat and wallet, and I charged your phone in the corner of the room. I don’t know what’s up with you but be careful next time! Hope you enjoyed your very thorough and long slumber.

Sincerely,

Grace.

After reading the note, I was left with a horrified expression as the night’s previous events crawled back into my memory.

YOU STUPID IDIOT HOW DID YOU PASS OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NOODLE RESTAURANT LIKE SOME BUFFON. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR NON-EXISTING PRIDE? LOOK AT WHAT YOU’VE GOTTEN YOURSELF INTO! YOU REALLY ARE A HALFWIT! JUST LIKE THE LAVENDER MAN SAID.

And if possible, my face turned even more sour when it hit me that I did not know where I was (it would’ve been helpful if this so-called “Grace” left it in the note) or what day it was. I frantically pulled off the sheets on my body and slid my way to my phone, only to reel in extensive disappointment.

Saturday, 3:00 P.M. 19 Messages. 6 Missed Calls. My funeral has definitely already been planned.

I checked the messages and missed calls from Adrian, who was relying on me that night. As I scrolled through the never-ending stream of cross messages, a lightbulb went off in my head. The exchange between me and Adrian pieced together instantly. I was supposed to pick him up from a run-down bar downtown, but as we all know, I never arrived to my original destination since I felt the obligation to enter an unfavorable noodle shop with pretty neon signs while waiting for his call.

Wasn’t I just the smartest man on this planet? Who could beat my intellectual capacity, really. Anyways, at least I knew I was confirmed to be absolutely screwed.

I took my previously drenched coat from the hanger next to the door and stuffed my wallet and my phone into it. My keys jingled as I exited to the hallway to find Grace to thank her and ask if I could use her restroom, but the house was brimmed with utter silence. I thought, maybe, I should leave a note for her as well.

Dear Ms. Grace,

Thank you for your kindness and hospitality, despite you exerting a couple dollars from my wallet. I guess that could be considered my gift to you. If you don’t mind, I have used your washroom to refresh myself and I will be leaving. I am very sorry this had to happen…

Suddenly, a shock of realization waved over me.

How did my wallet get here, when I swore on my heart with two swords that I left it at home? It was impossible for me to have it right now, and I definitely wasn’t in my residency with the framed and abstract looking paintings on the wall. They were very much not mine, as well as the polished and sleek modern furniture.

I dropped the pen and began to venture outside of the confined area, looking for any remaining trace of Grace.

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