A belated Bucky birthday prompt: Steve's a waiter at a heavily themed restaurant (think Rainforest Cafe) and he's tired of people blatantly lying to get the over-the-top Free Birthday Dessert. It's Bucky's birthday and he wants his over-the-top Free Birthday Dessert. He may also want his cute waiter's phone number.
All of the dishes mentioned in this ficlet are actual dishes off of the Downtown Disney Rainforest Café menu.
Steve Rogers has had it with these motherfucking college kids coming into motherfucking Rainfoest Café and ordering motherfucking free desserts when it’s not even their birthday. This happens at least once a shift, some group of giggling college first-years who don’t have good enough fakes to get into a bar, snorting as they say it’s Christie’s or Jeremy’s birthday and snapping pics on their cellphone as Steve brings out the Sparkling Volcano — a stack of mediocre brownies covered with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and caramel with a motherfucking sparkler stuck on top. The Sparkling Volcano is a pain, the fact that these kids never calculate the $17 that the Sparkling Volcano costs into their tip is a pain, and capitalism? Yeah, that’s a pain, too.
So when this table of formerly well-behaved people start giggling and elbowing each other when Steve brings the dessert menu over, he knows it’s game over.
“Don’t do it,” says the hot guy who (somewhat inadvisably) ordered the Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp.
The woman who ordered the Tribal Salmon grins. “It’s his birthday,” she says.
“Oh man, she went there,” says Kale & Red Quinoa Salad with Chicken. He’s pretty cute, too.
“Shut up Sam,” says BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger.
“You’re all assholes,” Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp says. BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger giggles and nudges Kale & Red Quinoa Salad with Chicken. Kale & Red Quinoa Salad with Chicken rolls his eyes, but is smiling.
Steve hates them all.
“So, we’ll have one of those chocolate lava things.”
Steve — who is a good employee and a good person — does not sigh like he would like to. Instead he turns to Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp, plasters on a smile and says, “Happy birthday!” knowing in his heart of hearts that it is not, in fact, this guy’s birthday. The way that Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp kind of slumps in his chair only confirms this to Steve. He turns back to the rest of the table. “One Sparkling Volcano coming up. Can I interest you in something to go along with it? A Maya’s Mango Sorbet or a Raspberry Lemonade Freeze?” The ‘that you’ll actually pay for’ is implied.
“No, just the Sparkling Volcano,” Tribal Salmon says.
Steve feels the corner of his mouth twitch. “Alright. That’ll be just a few minutes.”
“Motherfuckers,” Steve mutters after he puts in the order for the cake. He had liked that table. They had seemed nice. He could’ve sworn that Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp had been checking him out.
Instead they’re making him bring a free hassle of a dessert. Fuck them.
He has enough time to check on two of his other tables before the Sparkling Volcano is up. He looks at the gloppy mess, says a little prayer, then lights the sparkler.
There’s an art to getting to the customer’s table with a lit Sparkling Volcano; it takes time and a certain grace. Steve isn’t quite proud of the fact that he’s been at Rainforest Café long enough to have mastered that art — this is still just a day job that he does to support himself while he makes actual art — but he does have the act down. He grins and he walks to the table, ready to sing the Rainforest Café non-patented birthday song.
And then BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger says, “Holy shit, that’s awesome. Let me get this on camera!”
The next few moments are kind of a blur. One second Steve is bending over to put the Sparkling Volcano down in front of the birthday boy, the next BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger is hopping up and into Steve. “FUCK,” Steve says as he loses his balance, eyes going wide as he falls back, sparkling dessert falling back onto him.
“Clint!” Someone shouts.
“FUCK,” Steve shouts again as the Sparkling Volcano lands on him. He grunts as the sparkler hits his skin — the neck, of all places — then quickly pushes it off of him. As the chocolate sauce extinguishes the flame, Steve just lets himself lay on the ground, neck throbbing. He notices that the “storm” has started and nearby electronic gorillas start pounding their chests and grunting as thunder cracks.
It feels appropriate.
He notices Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp get down on the ground next to him. “Jesus,” he says. “Just tell me,” Steve says, eyes feeling heavy. “Is today really your birthday?”
Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp looks down at him with his very blue eyes. “Yeah,” he says. “Why?”
“No reason,” Steve says, then passes out.
Steve is sitting in the employee back room holding a cool washcloth to his neck when Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp walks in. “Hey there,” he says.
“Hi birthday boy,” Steve says. “Sorry I couldn’t sing to you.”
Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp smiles, a little sheepishly. “I told them not to order the stupid cake,” he says.
“I should tell you that it’s fine for something, but honestly? I really wish that they hadn’t.”
Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp barks out a laugh. “Sorry, sorry,” he says. “They thought they were being cute.” He kind of shuffles his feet, looks down. “It’s my first birthday since getting sober. They wanted to do something fun, so they gave me the choice between Rainforest Café and Chuck-E-Cheese. I chose Rainforest Café.”
Steve feels himself soften a little. “Sorry that it turned out this way.”
“Well,” Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp says, shoving his hands in the pockets of his peacoat and looking up at Steve, “it was going pretty good until my friend Clint knocked over the cute server I wanted to ask out.”
Steve blinks. “What?” he asks.
“God,” Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp says, running a hand through his dark hair. “I feel like such an ass, but if you wanted to maybe—“
“Yeah,” Steve interrupts. “I do.”
Caribbean Coconut Fried Shrimp drops his hand and looks at Steve, surprised. “Really?”
Steve shrugs. “Can’t be much worse than being burned by a free dessert.”
“I think Natasha left you a really nice tip.”
“Good,” Steve says. “Then maybe I can get you a decent dessert.”
Caribbean Coconut Shrimp grins. “Yeah?” he asks.
Steve nods. “I’m Steve,” he says.
“Bucky,” Caribbean Coconut Shrimp replies.
“Happy birthday, Bucky,” Steve says.
“Well,” Bucky responds, “it is now.”