Restaurant Experience

h August 2007 by Matthew Klein

You are eating at your favorite restaurant and ordering your favorite meal. A couple of bites in you nearly have a heart attack when you notice something in your meal that doesn’t belong there. What is it and how did it get there……?”

Radiant rays from the sun touched my skin with the warmth of summer as I stopped to catch my breath. The hours had raced past since my early start. After five hours or more of `Hard Yakka’, my parched mouth screamed for refreshment as the sun now sat high in the sky. My stomach was next to remind me of how quickly the hours had passed, grumbling with enthusiasm. Only one thing was on my mind, a ‘Mega Boulder Burger’ and a large coke. I dropped my tools and slowly wiped the beads of sweat from my brow. My hunger only grew with further anticipation as I made my way to my favorite take-out.

Seated in my usual spot on a bar stool, newspaper stretched open on the table at the front of the store. Here I could get a good view of the world as it passed by the large windows. My usual ritual when the paper had no interesting articles, or the sports section missing. It was my space, where I could stop and reminisce about the simpler things in life. Forever, grateful to be able to steal even such a small moment in time away from the hustle and bustle that was presented before my eyes outside. Life was simply moving too fast.

I slowly unwrapped my ‘Mega Boulder Burger’ the aroma began to slowly arouse my senses. As my attention was brought down to meet the beautiful site of my favorite burger. My stomach echoed a groan of satisfaction with full anticipation as I slowly brought the steaming burger towards my mouth. The first mouthful was a small measured bite, my taste buds danced around the fresh burst of ingredients and the flame-grilled burger. The second bite hit the back of my mouth and slid straight down my throat as I neglected to chew the taste sensation. A sudden urge to fill my stomach overwhelmed me as my stomach demanded more. By the fourth small bite I had barely reached a third of the way in to my meal as I grabbed my Coke and washed it all down with several large gulps.

I placed my cup down and flicked the newspaper over to the back so that I could inspect the sports section. A grin of satisfaction overcame me as I noticed my beloved Hawks high on the top of the footy ladder. The game each weekend gave me something to look forward to. I fisted the rest of my burger and looked down ready to sink my teeth in once again when I noticed something very odd in my burger. A sight I had never seen before nor experienced in all my sit-ins at Boulder Burgers. There in amongst my burger where the tomato and egg was topped off with fresh garden lettuce was a worm of sorts. I could not believe it nor could I conceive eating anymore as I dropped my burger down on to the bench top with open disgust. My stomach moaned begging for more, though I quickly if not instinctively grabbed the Coke opened the lid and skulled half of the cup. Intending to rinse clean my mouth as though it had been infected with millions of germs, how could this possibly happen?

The worm fell free from its resting place as the burger toppled open as it hit the bench. Disappointed after working so hard that I could now not satisfy the hunger that beckoned me, how could I eat something else now? Of all things a worm, or was it a worm? It was nothing like I had ever seen it was certainly some form of a worm though it had a slimy green body with as tuff of purple hair on it’s head. I wondered if I was only imagining what I saw. Some crazy hallucination brought on from being out in the sun for too long? But then it moved.

Hey, what are you looking at you big oath? Can’t you see I’m working here?”

Now I knew I was going mad first seeing things then hearing things. I looked around waiting for answers; perhaps one of the people seated behind me had said something. I looked at them with a daft expression almost searching for some answers, hoping one of them had addressed me. I only received blank looks from the two ladies facing me, the guys they were sitting with turned and looked at me with a piercing stare.

“Down here, you silly dope. Are you deaf as well as blind? Or are you just stupid, the Misses always said you bigguns were a bit on the slow side. Yes I am talking to you.”

As I returned my attention to the spoilt burger I noticed the worm, It now had two large eyes, which were peering at me as its body wiggled. It can’t be, I didn’t understand what was happening but sure enough it had seemed the worm was addressing me.

“Yes, you. Hello. Has the cat got your tongue?”

A sense of bailment fell over me as I found myself giving in to my crazed imagination. It certainly couldn’t hurt to reply considering I was really only imagining what I saw. Though I kept my tone down to a whisper as I carefully looked over my back making sure I wasn’t drawing any further unwanted attention from the other patrons.

“What are you? Better still what are you doing in my Burger?”

The worm blinked and looked straight in to my eyes as though it was thinking of how to respond to my questions.

“Ah. I don’t really remember. Last thing I remember I was out in the field collecting some lettuce for the Misses. You see she makes the best salads. Come to think of it, where exactly am I?”

“Your in my burger.” I responded bluntly.

“Burger? Well I be, it’s absolutely crazy. The misses always said I would one day wind up being a hefty meal for something if I didn’t stop snacking. She was almost right you know, I practically felt you breathing down my neck as you were chomping away at my lettuce. At first I thought I just had let go a bit of bad wind, if you know what I mean?”