Subject: Manse Diaries: Bagel Shoppe of the Damned
Date: 14 Dec 1997 00:00:00 GMT
From: email@example.com (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
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
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
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.
I LOVE DIS COUNTRY!
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!