Challenge: Pretend that you just had a meal in a fictional restaurant. Using prose or poetry, give us the name of the restaurant, where (and when) it’s located, a description of it, tell us something about the other patrons, describe what you had for breakfast/lunch/dinner, and finish with a review of the overall dining experience including the price.
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Nobody will believe this story unless they’ve actually visited Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. I think I died there, but you can never be sure when you’re traveling through time. I will-haven-had-verhaven-visited-wilvisit--
Geez, now you see why I failed time-travel English in school. I’ll never understand that future-pre/post-perfect, exemplary, might-have-been-unless-I-wasn’t-there tense. I hope you’ll settle for having me tell this story in a simple past tense, recognizing that it will happen far in the future; or may have already happened and we’ve just… Never mind. Here’s what happened or will happen that night or day or...
I was in a small bar just outside a spaceport and had been chatting up this cute little three-legged female being from Serellian Beta-4 when she mentioned that she was hungry. I offered to buy her dinner at the best restaurant in existence and she jumped up, waved at another table, and yelled, “Come on, everyone, Quark is taking us to Milliways.”
I was about to object when she turned to me and her four eyelashes slowly came down over her opaline green eyes, and she said, “I’ll be so appreciative, Quark.” Done deal!
Time travel is difficult on the body and all six of us were somewhat disoriented when we arrived. The waiter, understanding our disorientation, escorted us to a table, took our drink orders, and handed us menus.
I was just coming out of some kind of haze when my date said she liked the idea of the meat of the day.
“No, no meat of the day.” I looked at my date and said, “You don’t understand. If you order that, a very nice bovine will walk out, parade around showing off her prime cuts, and then offer any part of her for dinner.”
“Ooh, that sounds great.”
“No, it’s not. If you order a part of her, she’ll tell you she’s going to go back to the kitchen, humanely kill herself, and be served up for your dinner.” It took me a few minutes to figure out why everyone at the table laughed when I finished with, “I’m not eating any meat that’s dead,” and my target of the night lowered all her eyes to her laps.
I knew I didn’t want the meat of the day, but the “catch of the day” caught my eye. I could only imagine what kind of fish might be available at the end of the universe, but I wanted it. What intrigued me was the line: Guests are expected to provide their own catch of the day.
For some reason I pictured myself on a small star runabout trolling through the seas of one of the great ocean worlds, catching the dinner for my companions.
I guess the waiter was accustomed to guests who didn’t understand certain rules of the restaurant. When I ordered the “catch of the day,” he didn’t even bat an eyelash as he asked, “How do you want that prepared?”
Without consulting my date I said, “Well done. And I mean I want it charred on the outside and nothing raw inside.”
“Very good choice, sir. And who is ordering the meal?”
I looked around, smiled, and said, “I am, of course.”
The waiter looked toward one wall, snapped his fingers, and said, “Flamethrowers over here, please,” and asked me to stand up.
“Yes, sir, you wanted the catch of the day to be charred. You’re what, about 200 pounds? That will take at least three flamethrowers.”
“Wait, what are you talking about?” I looked around frantically and spotted a menu lying on a nearby table. I grabbed it and pointed at the menu item. “See, I’m expected to provide my own catch of the day. Now, I demand to be taken to the fish pond or tank or ocean or lake or stream or whatever so I can catch it.”
The waiter gave me one of those smiles that is reserved for the weak minded and said, “Sir, did you learn to read in school?”
I smirked at him and said, “Of course I did.”
“Excellent, sir, then you’ll please notice that the menu doesn’t say you’re expected to provide your catch of the day. It says: Guests are executed to provide their own catch of the day.”
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