Subject: Manse Diaries: Bagel Shoppe of the Damned

Date: 14 Dec 1997 00:00:00 GMT

From: (MegaLiz)

Organization: MotPU: Where Binary Moodswings are ALWAYS on the Menu

Newsgroups: alt.foot.fat-free, alt.slack






I'm already regretting that I let my blood get so thin before I agreed

to go with the WHOLE fambly to the bagel place. I'm afraid I wasted a

couple of Dobbs given opportunities presented for my pre-Christmas

pleasure. And, no, I don't mean that I forgot a coupon.


This was my first visit to the place, of course. Jack often scoops up

the big girls and takes them there for hot chocolate terrorism, and

sometimes even for bagels, while I get a blessed hour of sleep and/or

complete sentences.


Jack started to harass me about what I wanted to order before we even

PARKED, so I was volunteered to order the foodstuffs and take my time

about doing something crazy like reading the MENU IN A PLACE I'VE

NEVER BEEN. PraJack. A heppy compromise was reached before we faced

the bovine bagel women.


Oh, my, and BOVINE they were. I'm pretty sure the big one MOOED at me

when I ordered sandwiches AND coffee from her, but she otherwise

patiently chewed her cud while I completed the instructions, slowly

rolled her good eye at me and announced that "that" would be handled

"over there." By THAT she meant beverages. She was not qualified to

operate the espresso machine, apparently. She wasn't qualified for

ANYTHING, I soon learned, except for following the convention of

wearing her ridiculously expensive engagement ring on a chain around

her neck so that she wouldn't conceal it under her fetching food

service glovewear. After she'd had time to meditate over my sandwich

request she asked her slightly swifter counter-counterpart what she

should put on a seafood salad bagel. The answer came with no visible

hesitation: seafood salad. Good girl.


Now while all THIS was unfolding before me, I began to speculate

whether or not I might faint. Sudden hunger has always been a problem,

but these days it's an EMERGENCY due to the demands of the

galactophage. I wondered if I was hallucinating the excruciatingly

slow pace of these people, if my time sense had become so distorted

that it would snap back so that I would abruptly find myself having

paid for the food and even having eaten it after the next breath. No

such luck.


By the time I reached the register and ordered the beverages, tiny

colonies of bacteria somewhere in this restaurant had experienced a

bloom of political success, a fruitful reign, forded important tiny

channels and launched successful exploratory satellites. A large and

confused family had hopped ahead of me and an irate man who wanted

nothing more complex than a bagel in a bag had slapped a dollar on the

counter and exited in disgust.


While I REPEATED my drink order, another man approached. His pstench

was the WRONGEST thing I've sensed in a very long time. He was dressed

in a too-fussy suit, and among other things, I noted that his neck was

freshly shaved, since his neck was at my eye level and he disrespected

my personal space so completely that I had a much closer look at it

than I care to mention. But I did. So there.


He politely asked the cashier to fetch the manager. I intuited that he

was part of some sort of "secret shopper" exploit along with the bagel

bag man. The bagel girls had served badly. They were busted, fersure.


When the cashier pointed vaguely at herself, Neck Man began to explain

his complaint. "I see that you have a witch on display here," he said,

pointing at the folksy witch figure that they had apparently forgotten

to remove before they put up all their Christmas decorations. He

continued, "I heard that this was a NICE place, a FAMILY place, and I

wanted to ask you to remove that...that THING, that symbol of EVIL,

because as a Christian, I find it terribly offensive to see any form

of WITCH."


She just goggled at him until he stopped for breath, then turned to

the Good Bagel Girl and told her to get Bob. "Bob is the owner," she

explained to me, I suppose because she couldn't quite bring herself to

speak to Neck Man. Then she walked away.


I fervently wished for a pamphlet, you could even say I PRAYED, but my

pockets were empty. Instead I decided to encourage Neck Man.


"So, I take it that you don't exactly CELEBRATE Halloween?" I asked.


"No!" he said, "I would NEVER engage in rituals of DESTRUCTION! It's

an EVIL night, a night when little babies are SACRIFICED in the name

of SATAN. The POLICE know about this, too," he confided, as if this

tidbit would make it much more convincing.


"Really, now," I said, "Don't you REALLY think it has MUCH more to do

with CANDY SALES?" No matter how many times I shifted away from him,

he got in that TOO CLOSE space and showed me his neck.


"Halloween is not any sort of thing for CHILDREN, or CANDY. It is all

about the black mass and darkness and corruption."


As his practiced spiel continued, I was mentally winding a hopefully

devastating argument. Something like: if the witch is IN FACT an

object of EVIL, and it has also managed to summon him to this place,

could he not be, however unwillingly or unwittingly, an AGENT OF

DARKNESS? How could he be certain that his refined sense of the

presence of Satan here was not some sort of RECOGNITION of his own

SIN? Would he be prepared to EXORCISE his personal demons after a nice

SEAFOOD SALAD BAGEL? Man, was I ready. I can only imagine how much

more efficiently I would have managed had I had proper fropulation and

adequate blood sugar. Damn!


As it turned out, Bob, the owner, interrupted us and became the

audience for Neck Man, while I had to repeat my order AGAIN.


At last, I got my food and managed to avoid getting an erroneous

flambeccino or a seafood croissant with cocoa sprinkles. At the table,

I told Jack he was missing the show. He jerked his thumb at the next

table and informed me that I had missed THEM saying GRACE before they

chowed down on their bagels.


The Neck Man's voice was getting closer as he harangued Bob. Bob said

very little, except I did hear him mention "kitchen witch" and

"menorah" before he gave up and concentrated on edging out of kissing

distance. When the conversation had migrated right behind us, Jack

shot Neck Man a look and asked him to lower his voice. I was AWED by

his restraint--Jack's, I mean. He's hardly EVER polite to loons.


After things quieted down, I was paying so much attention to feeding

myself that I missed the exit of The Neck Man. I motioned Bob to come

to our table, so that I could object to his colored light display,

being that it was offensive to purple people to exclude purple lights,

but he didn't see me and I decided that it wouldn't be nice to make

his cow orkers fetch him again.


When we left, the guy we'd seen on the way in was STILL on the pay

phone trying to persuade his wife to let him come home.





Spunky: "Lookit all the foot prints! Lotsa people were here!"

Sparky: "OR it was ONE THING with a jillion feet."

* alt.foot.fat-free: where you can collect yummy cheese!