GENERAL DECKER, so it was said by the help, was a troublesome man. He always wanted things just so and woe betide the waiter who brought him eggs boiled a few seconds longer or shorter than he had specified. As a general he had become accustomed to having his orders followed, and he expected no less meticulous attention from those who now served him in civilian life.
For Decker breakfast was a major production. His table was situated in the east corner of the dining room because there, he maintained, the lighting was best. This assisted him in scrutinizing each item of his fare. His punctual arrival at nine a.m. was always preceded a few moments before by the scurrying of the waiters, the captain and the maitre d'. To forewarn the chef, a member of the kitchen staff began to watch for the General's arrival at this time so his three-minute eggs could be placed before him almost as he sat down.
“How are you this morning, General Decker?” Duane, one of the dining room captains, inquired solicitously.
“You should be more concerned with how your waiters are. Yesterday Vernon brought my toast too light and my bacon too dark. Not only that, there was no ashtray on my table.”