Delicious cheesy fajitas
As I don't really have an outlet for my sketches, I thought I'd try converting one to a written piece. It turned out longer and less sketchy than planned, as I'd forgotten that I also enjoy 'proper' writing. Now I have a thing that isn't really a sketch and also isn't a very good story.
It's been a long, dreary afternoon and Fenella isn't sad to be walking out of the office, even if it's straight into the rain. It's not proper rain, just a halfhearted drizzle, as though the clouds have decided that a real storm would be too much effort – or as though they've sort of forgotten to not rain.
There's bugger all on TV this evening and Fenella has made plans – with herself – to go out for Mexican. It's easier than cooking at home and she might even be able to get very drunk while wearing an amusing hat.
It's not even a proper Mexican restaurant. It's 'modern Australian fusion', which as far as anyone can tell just means it also offers the kinds of dishes that are served with 'heirloom asparagus spears' and 'chat potatoes' and 'cutlery', with a side of 'jus' and 'ma'am, could you please put some pants on'.
The restaurant's grimy sign hangs apologetically over the door, suspended like a lingering fart: 'something-something-Sol', in large red and yellow letters. After three years she still doesn't know the name of the place. She pushes the door open without bothering to find out.
'Hi', says a young waitress brightly, 'welcome to [WHITE NOISE]; table for one?'
Good God. It's like my brain just blanks the name out.
'Just this way.'
Fenella is given a seat next to the window and opposite a glaringly empty chair. It's not properly pushed in, so there's a rather big gap between the chair and the table that practically screams 'insert human companionship here'. Excellent. Fenella has just become a living public service warning to passers-by.
A young waiter with a rag tucked into his black half-apron appears out of nowhere. He's a hipster, all beard and big glasses and self-esteem (why don't they ever seem to hate themselves like normal people do?) but seems to be one of the nice ones. He pours her a glass of water with a weird nod that's both cheerful and serenely subservient. He seems almost smug about it.
'Hi, there. Ready to order?'
Hell yes! I'd like something that burns my tongue off but is also absorbent enough to soak up the tequila when I try to dull my senses later.
'Yes, could I have the —'
'The chef’s special today is fa-JYE-tas.'
'I’m sorry?' Fenella asks, not sure whether to be offended but suddenly finding herself looking for the opportunity.
The waiter repeats, 'We’ve got a special on fa-JYE-tas', and looks at her expectantly.
'Are you trying to be smart?'
'No, ma’am. I’m offering you cheap faJYEtas.'
'FaHEEta! It’s pronounced faheeta.'
'I don’t think it is.'
'There’s a J in it.'
'It’s Mexican!' Oh yes. Fenella is now not only That Customer with No Friends, but also, officially, That Dick.
The waiter is clearly not about to drop it. 'Yes, but in Australia it’s pronounced "J"', he tells her matter-of-factly, and then adds: 'When in Rome.'
'We’re in Sydney.'
'When in Sydney.'
'When in Sydney what?'
'When in Sydney you eat faJYEta.'
Nope. I'm not ordering anything on the Mexican menu. God only knows what the kitchen staff would put on my plate if he tells them I want a vagita for dinner.
She says instead, 'I’ll just have the spatchcock, thanks', and immediately regrets it. The waiter looks at her reprovingly.
'That’s a bit inappropriate.'
'A SALAD, THEN. Just get me a Caesar salad.' She remembers her manners grudgingly. 'Please.'
This seems to trigger some sort of hidden internal reset button in the waiter, who's now back to his serenely, smugly subservient self. 'No entrée, ma’am?' he asks, stylus hovering over the screen of his handheld electronic order-taking device thingy.
'Not even a gourmett pumpkin soup shot?'
'No!' Fenella snaps.
'I’m sorry', the waiter says with buttery smoothness, 'I meant "gourmay". I just thought you might enjoy a little amuse-bouche.' The words dribble out sickeningly.
'It’s pronounced—' Fenella frowns for a second. 'OK, you’re saying it right, but now it just sounds dirty.'
Unruffled, the waiter nods and starts jotting. 'So, one [WHITE NOISE] Sol Creamy Caesar Salad.'
The waiter says the word 'creamy' a bit too slowly as he writes it. Creeeeeeamy.
'And for drinks?' he asks as he finishes jotting. He looks back up at Fenella, politely expressionless. 'I've got a semi-on.'
'Would you prefer a chardonnay?'
'Oh', Fenella says, embarrassed, 'you meant a semillon with an "l".'
'There’s no pleasing you, is there?'
'Well, if you’d pronounced it semiyong instead of "semi-on"—' Fenella stops herself. 'Yes, I will have the semi ... the white. Thanks.'
'Excellent choice. Also, just to let you know, our head chef will be giving a live demonstration of his world-renowned filletting skills at 9 pm in the open kitchen to your right. He can de-bone and fillett a mackerel in less than 15 seconds and will be signing copies of his book ‘My Filletting Life’ after the fillett show.'
Graaaarggghh! 'It’s pronounced fil-LAY! It's a fil-LAY show!'
'Fellatio?' asks the waiter, genuinely surprised. 'OK then. Our head chef will be performing his public fellatio at nine.'
Fenella's eye twitches. 'That’s it. I’m out.'
The waiter shrugs and heads back to the kitchen to tell the others what he's just heard the chef will be doing to a fish tonight.
Last five entries:
The distant future: Foil-wrapped for freshness - 2015-04-17
Delicious cheesy fajitas - 2015-03-11
In this week's news - 2013-06-12
Licence to Quill - 2013-02-20
Ant problems - 2013-02-16