Date: Sun, 12 Apr 1998 19:33:48 GMT

From: NENSLO <n@n.slo>

Organization: V.I.T.R.I.O.L.

Newsgroups: alt.slack


I have been looking for a good opportunity to tell this story, but it

never came up so I will just have to do it here and now before I get too

old to remember the awful details. One night Onan was over at the

Kooks Museum just hanging out with Mrs. Nenslo, and somebody, probably

me for irony's sake, got the good idea to go out for a snack somewhere.

Yeah I guess it was me because I was hungry. Sounded like a good idea

to everyone so off we went with visions of succulent delight dancing

through my head. I drove us to a nearby gentrification node, in the

knowledge that there were at least three places there to get very good

food, and at least two of them have excellent coffee. I was just

following Onan and Mrs. Nenslo down the sidewalk, dreaming of yummy

noshing when they suddenly swerved toward the storefront that used to be

part of the Used Magazine Store and then it was one of those excessively

odorous New Age kinds of places but has now become... A TEA SHOP. See,

one day Mrs. Nenslo came home from an afternoon with Onan and she told

me about this WONDERFUL TEA SHOP he took her to. Well I listened

politely, thinking how glad I was that she had the opportunity to enjoy

that sort of thing with people who also enjoy that sort of thing and I

sure was glad I didn't have to do it because it sounded like the last

place on earth I would ever care to go. I mean a fucking TEA SHOP, give

me a break. So here I am, walking toward the door of that very place,

feeling like the one sheep who begins to suspect there is something a

bit off about this ramp the herd is walking up toward that black doorway

where the horrible sounds are coming from. As they proceeded through

the door I had the presence of mind to ask, "Do they have coffee

here?" Even their negative response was not enough to awaken my from

my hungry daze and I stumbled blindly after them into the BOWELS OF A

NENSLO NIGHTMARE. Other folks probably wouldn't be affected in the same

way I was, but to put it quite simply I was in the ANTINENSLO UNIVERSE.

A tea shop. The kind of overweeningly excessively funky/quaint tea shop

they must have at some sort of twisted semi-hip new age Disneyworld.

The walls were covered with shelves and the shelves were filled with

jars of tea. Hundreds of jars of tea, and jars to put tea in, and in

between every two big jars was a little jar and beside those jars were

tins and teapots and teaballs and all kinds of dealybobbers for making

tea. I don't know how to describe the structure, decor, and ambience of

the place except to quote my first stunned ejaculation as I realised the

full depths of my despair, "Man, I'm glad I'm not here on a DATE so I

don't have to pretend I LIKE THIS." Then I looked around and saw the

poor fools who WERE there on a date and DID have to pretend they liked

it. But on the other hand those poor fools were ASSURED of getting

something they DID like later on that night because THEY SURE WERE

PAYING THE PRICE THEN AND THERE. Belive me, any guy who can keep his

mouth shut and keep smiling for an hour in a place like that is

definitely getting some pussy. My daze of horror and astonishment

melted down into vague rebellious murmurings as I stumbled across the

uneven floor to the quaint table-substitute that awaited us. My

murmurings became grumblings of protest as I attempted to perch on the

cute little teetering scrap-lumber stool that a CAT wouldn't sit on.

The table-substitute itself was made out of a big cubical crate with

some splintery boards nailed on top providing about eight inches of

overlap for me to try to cram my knees into while I leaned forward and

tried to rest my elbows on the boards without tumbling off the wobbly

imitation stool. Back support? NONE! On the fake table, to complete

the insult, was a vicious satire of a vase with a couple of dead weeds

in it, and a fake leaf with some POETRY written on it with a silver pen

said "Welcome to HELL, Rev. Nenslo." You'd think that at some point I

would have turned to my companions and informed them I was going to go

over to Zupan's and get a pastry and a double espresso but NO. I

decided I would see just how bad it could get. Then I saw the menu.

How does a man who asks only for a comfortable chair, a cup of joe, and

a cherry danish decide which of eighty different varieties of beige

water he'd like to spend two bucks on? How does he say, "I would like

THIS type of three-dollar tortilla and THIS tiny cupful of chutney to

dip it in? " He doesn't that's how. He says what I said, much to the

chagrin and disdain of my tormentors. He says "For me to spend a cent

on any of this would be a total waste. I am not the target audience for

this." Things didn't really get worse from that point, BECAUSE THEY

COULDN'T, but they sure stayed the same. I was able to prevail upon the

others to move to another recently vacated table which was more of a

deranged parody of a booth, made out of sticks and big slabs of rock. I

swear to god this is true. There were at least cushions to park my butt

on and I was able to find a spot on the slab of rock to lean against

which didn't have a projecting ridge to cut into my back, and then I

just sat and marveled. I felt I was in a universe populated by puppets

made of bamboo and paper. I could hardly believe that Onan and Mrs.

Nenslo not only found things on that menu to order, but actually

appeared to have some appreciation for the things they ordered which

eventually actually appeared at the table. Not everything did, but I

feel that was a blessing. Every new experience in that hellish domain

was another blow. It was perfect in its aesthetic cruelty, with even

the cups and saucers an insane melange of glaring incongruity. When

Onan's cupful of transparent yellow fluid was clunked onto the table by

the neurasthenic hippie waiter I winced at the visual impact and blurted

"Well THAT FIGURES." Yes, it all FIGURED. It all made perfect sense,

all fit together like the clashing fragments of a madman's dream. Can I

be blamed (a moot point since I know I WAS), when the conversation

turned tormentingly to The Titanic of all things, for snarling through

clenched fangs "Fuck the Titanic. I'm GLAD it sank. I WISH THEY'D

*ALL* DIED!"? Nay, I say. I should be praised for not EXTERMINATING

every person there, for not burning the place to the ground and dancing

on their blackened bones, for not hunting down the perpetrators of the

establishment and retroactively all their ancestors and torturing them

to death. One mystery yet remains. WHY DID I SET FOOT THROUGH THE DOOR




longer to live. My constitution shattered by that fearsome ordeal, I

await the blessed hand of death to deliver me from the lingering

illness brought on by that evening of horror. You think me an aged man,

perhaps seventy, even eighty years of age? No, dear friend, before that

fateful night I was young and strong. My hair and beard were not the

snowy hue you see, no, the broken man before you became that way in a

SINGLE NIGHT of terror. But the worst horror of all is that since that

night I have been unable to eat or drink anything save... TEA.