“Today’s special is roast haunch of prairie dog with a poblano-raspberry sauce accompanied by pineapple potatoes and gratin au gratin. We also have a chicken fried chicken with French fried fries and deep fat fried deep fat, au gratin. Finally, we have the Chef’s bucket o’ soup, and house salad, au gratin.”
Gazing at the menu, I said, “I think I’ll have the snapper with crab and shrimp, and a Caesar salad.”
[tumbleweeds rolling down the street]
[winter wind noises]
“’scuse me. Do you not want one of the specials that Chef Ptomaine created specially for you today? Is that what you’re saying?”
“Yes, I’d like the snapper.”
“Well, that’s your choice. Sir. Just so you understand. That’s. Your. Choice. Sir.”
I had a bad feeling about this exchange but I was in a hurry and I just wanted a light lunch. Nothing fancy. A little fish and a salad. How tough is that?
Later, the waitperson appeared by the table, empty-handed.
“Chef informs me we’re out of snapper.”
I checked my watch. Time was a’wastin’.
“I’ll just have the Caesar Salad, then.”
“You don’t want one of the specials?”
“No, just the Caesar Salad. That will be fine.”
“Is that your final answer?”
“Yes, (Attila) that is my final answer.”
I sat there and focused on my watch. I calculated my travel time back to the complex. I calculated the heat death of the Universe. I wondered which would come first.
Finally, a Kitchen Server appeared.
“Prairie Dog haunch and Caesar Salad?”
“No, sorry, snapper and the salad. No haunch.”
“What do you mean, no haunch? I’ve got it right here. It’s cooked and everything.”
“No haunch. Just snapper and salad. I didn’t order haunch. But, you’re out of snapper so it’s just salad. Leave the salad and all will be cool.”
The Kitchen Server was clearly out of his depth.
“What do you mean ‘no haunch’? Do you think these things grow on trees? Do you think Chef Ptomaine prepares these exquisite, succulent, morsels for free?”
“Sorry, but I ordered snapper and a salad. You’re out of snapper, so I just want the salad. Cancel the snapper. No snapper.”
Kitchen Server retreated with haunch and salad, only to appear somewhat later.
“Prairie dog?” he offered hopefully.
“No,” I replied, “Caesar Salad.”
“Chef cooked this special. Tastes like snapper.”
“OK, well, I don’t know quite what to do. I mean I’ve brought out haunch after haunch and, like, there’s no satisfying you. What do you want, man, what do you want?”
“Just bring me a Caesar Salad in the next 2 minutes and I’ll gobble it down, leave you an obscenely large tip and get the hell out of here!”
“Right, Sir, that’s clear enough. I’m on it! Back in a flash.”
And, with that the waitperson plus haunch disappeared in the direction of the kitchen and hibernated for awhile.
Finally, the waitperson appeared.
“Regarding your order, sir.”
“Yes?” I looked expectantly?
“The kitchen informs me that we’re out of snapper. Now, we’re out of haunch.”
“And,” I pressed?
“Regarding your Caesar Salad, sir.”