Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Jes' take it off!

The five of us were on vacation. Spring Break, to be precise, which we were spending driving around Florida without a terribly clear plan, but with an objective to eventually arrive at the Keys and get in some snorkeling.
So we had stopped for lunch at the inevitable burger joint. What else, since we were all students? Anyway, one of the main protagonists of this story is a character named Prashant whom I met at Florida State University, where we both studied. I had once heard a radio host talking about a life-size version of Bugs Bunny that was a part of some local promotion or event or something: she described him as tall, good with kids, vegetarian, with big brown eyes, and ears and teeth that were also on the larger side. This would be a pretty fair description of Prashant too. But I digress.
The point to remember is that he is a vegetarian. So when the waitress came around, he ordered a vegetarian burger, which was called a Boca Burger (maybe in an attempt to make it sound more exciting, I don’t know). The waitress, let’s call her Martha, took down the orders and heaved off.
She soon arrived bearing a burger for Prashant, while we others still waited for our orders. She set it down on the table. However, something made me suspicious of that burger. “Wait,” I said before he dug into it, and sampled it myself. Sure enough, it was meat. This burger was about as vegetarian as politicians are truthful. In a word, not. So Martha was summoned again and apprised of the mix-up. “Huh?” she said. Then she understood. She snatched it up and shuffled off.
Presently, she returned. Meanwhile, we four other equally hungry would-be lunchers still waited. Martha bore an elaborate burger this time, which she set down with a proud, toothy grin. We looked at her offering. It had a large, juicy strip of bacon right across the middle, a little grease running down the sides.
Prashant buried his face in his hands.
This time Martha was waiting. “The bacon,” I said, pointing. “It’s a problem.” “Huh?” hazarded Martha. “What’s the problem?” “My friend is a vegetarian.” I said stoutly. “Well” Martha said. She had a wonderful, melodious voice that I’m sure was a big hit when she sang in church on Sundays. “He can just take the bacon off, can’t he? The burger don’t have meat in it. Just the bacon on top.”
Prashant sat there chewing on the tablecloth; it probably tasted a good deal better than any burger that Martha was going to serve up next. My fellow lunchers followed the drama, hawk eyed but silent.
I looked Martha squarely in the eye. I hoped she wasn’t running out of patience, because she was about 70 lbs heavier and about a foot wider than I will ever be in this lifetime. “The Boca burger comes with the bacon,” she announced. “Jes’ take it off.”
Finally she hmp’hed and ambled back into the kitchen.
She returned with the manager, who carried in the right order this time. He looked around at us then glared at Martha. “What about lunch for the lady and the other gentlemen?” he enquired in a typical managerial silky-but-nasty tone. Martha shrugged. “They was fussin’ about the bacon,” she explained. A dull red flush rose on the manager’s face.
At this point, Prashant lunged at his burger and tore into it.
Suffice it to say, a peaceful and pleasant meal was subsequently and somewhat surprisingly, had by all. Except for the animals served up as lunch in the other dishes, no blood was spilt. But every time I hear the term “vegetarian burger”, I remember Martha and wonder how she is doing. Perhaps she won the fistfight that no doubt ensued later with her manager and continues to wreak mayhem with vegetarians, somewhere in one of southern Florida’s million burger joints.


chotu said...


capricornian said...

You should have carried some fresh carrots for the Bunny!!!

2015130119 said...

for Prashant it's obviously too late, but please, never ever compare me to any animal. please!

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