The sign at the front desk of the restaurant was emphatic: “WAIT TO BE SEATED.” No “Please” or “Thank you”. Bernie and his date, Sally, glanced at each other in awkward silence. “YES,” a gruff voice boomed from a speaker on the desk, “DO YOU HAVE A BOOKING?” Bernie stared into the webcam taped to the speaker.

This is the opening paragraph from A Window Table, a short story I “lost” for six months before sharing on the Tall And True writers’ website in March 2024. Please note that the Story Insight below contains spoilers.

Story Insight

I wrote A Window Table in August 2023 for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s monthly Furious Fiction writing challenge. The brief was was:

  • The story had to take place in a RESTAURANT.
  • Include a character who smashes something.

Lost and Found Story

There are always stories behind my short stories, but the one for A Window Table is the most mysterious because I “lost” the story for six months.

In early March 2024, I was working on a blog post to mark my fourth anniversary of Furious Fictions when I realised that August 2023’s story was missing.

I eventually found a copy of the short story, but as I wrote in the Lost and Found Story blog post, I didn’t recognise the plot or characters when I read it.

Share Your Writing on

Past Restaurant

Reading a story I knew must be mine but felt like someone else had written it was weird.

But the “DNA” proof that I’d written A Window Table was the restaurant in the first part of the story. I based it on a restaurant I booked for a date in my early twenties (forty years ago!) that also didn’t live up to its “good reviews”, like Bernie and Sally’s virtual restaurant in my short story!

© 2024 Robert Fairhead

Thanks to JamesDeMers for sharing the window table image on Pixabay.

N.B. Read A Window Table on Tall And True.

This post was proofread by Grammarly


Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please see Robert's profile for further details.


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