True Love at the Reality Cafe

Contributor: Pranas Perkunas

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For lunch I strolled over to the Reality Café. It was a clean-looking, red brick building in a friendly enough neighborhood, so I was a little surprised to see only a few patrons there, especially after I got a gander at the menu; my eyes lingered long on the items advertised with bold, colorful letters or written in fancy fonts: TRUE LOVE, HARD WORK=SUCCESS, GOOD KARMA FOR GOOD PEOPLE, IF IT’s ON TV IT’s TRUE, etc. And the prices were so reasonable! I shook my hoary head with smiling disbelief.

“Herow, may I hep you?” I looked up from my menu to see an astonishingly lovely waitress of the Asian kind, rockin’ that famous jet-black hair cut straight across her forehead and sporting lips like first-prize cherry blossoms.

“I bet you have a lot of Facebook friends,” I said.

“They shut my account down—so stupid—just ‘cuz that’s where I met my last boyfriend,”

she said, speaking now in an entirely Midwestern American accent.

“Who was your last guy?”

“The Pope,” she said with a giggle while kicking up one of her sparkly, pink heels with a dolphin sticker on it until it smacked up against the back of her matching shorts.

“What happened to your charming accent?” I asked.

“Don’t stereotype,” she said. I looked back down at the menu.

“I was considering ordering the TRUE LOVE,” I said, “but can this price be RIGHT?”

“Yup: Honesty, Sincerity, and just being Yourself.”

“Then I’ll take it!” I exclaimed, my hopeful heart leaping like a baby dolphin.

She calculated the going rate for honesty and sincerity on her Domo cell phone: twenty-one cents: American. I cheerfully handed her exactly that, and when I held out and glanced at her twenty dollar tip in my hand, I saw that President Jackson was now finally combing his wild, rock star hair, the old lecher.

The waitress giggled, kicked up her other heel and pranced back into the kitchen. My reverie was rudely thumped when something not-at-all plushy landed on my head. It was a sparkly, pink, high-heel shoe with a dolphin sticker on the heel. I took it as an omen—a good one. O how my heart jumped like a hormonal, teenaged dolphin!

While my eyes were busy glazing over with vanilla-frosted longing, I was rudely interrupted by a hard finger poke right between my shoulder blades. The digit belonged to Ms. Blevins, a co-worker who looked a lot Big Bird might without the yellow costume. My heart plunged like a dolphin tossed from an imagined heaven into an oil spill of epic proportions. From her altitudinous height, to her angular frame and sharp, hawk-like facial features, Ms. Blevins was the antithesis of one who could quench my hells.

I felt almost as badly for her as for myself, but I couldn’t conjure up attraction for her anymore than I could blame her for repeatedly inviting me to “see her jacuzzi” or take her “out for cocktails.”

“HI MR.G!” she screeched with her wrecking-ball of a voice. Then she smiled until her face crinkled like a contour map hastily shoved in a glove compartment since 1974. I bristled with horror as her scaly toe sandpapered up my shin.

“WAITRESS! WAITRESS! I demand to see the MANAGER!” I cried while getting up from my seat and gesticulating like a seventh-grade English teacher. The same waitress from before emerged looking risquely disheveled, and so did the manager next to her. His face was old and severe, and he had a long snow-white beard. (This was no Podunk manager.)

“Sir, I believe I ordered True Love,” I said trying to strain the sarcasm from my tone.

Old Snow Beard guffawed as he held his quivering belly in his hands. I recognized him then as the HEAD, head manager—of everything—if you catch my drift.

The waitress kept her professional cool even as a tiny, upright reptile struggled to topple the already shaken stay-calm tower in my toy brain.

“THIS isn’t what I ordered,” I said as Ms. Blevins ran her bony hand through my spray-on hair. The manager smirked as he warmed the waitresses’ bottom.

“Oh, I see,” he said, “WHOM did you have in mind?” he continued in a voice that was bellowing and seemed to echo from some deep cavern. Funny thing though: his lips weren’t moving.

“You KNOW well, SIR,” I said looking him dead in one of the eyes which had sprouted all over his face and body. Ms. Blevins excused herself to the “little girls’ room” after showing me the E=mc(2) tattoo on her unmentionable. The manager goosed the waitress, and the eye on his palm laughed as he pulled it away.

“Look, BUB, if you want a shot at one of my FINEST, you strolled into the wrong café, but you’re INVITED to my place across the street,” he said.

“Your OTHER place?” I said.

“They’re ALL my places, son,” he stated while pointing out the window, as a bead of sweat--or something--dripped from his finger. I bolted out of there because I had no intention of paying the bill. Once safely outside, I saw a line of people snaking halfway down the block. I made it longer.

“Where’s it we’re all waiting to go?” I asked the sad-looking rodeo clown in front of me.

“You know where,” he said in a monotone and without even looking my way.

After an hour or so of the line inching forward, I could finally read the sign in the distance:

DELUSION DINER. I have to say, they have the best menu in town, though the prices are higher than anyone suspects. Just the same, I’ve been eating there ever since.

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Pranas Perkunas (pen name) rejects everything you probably believe in. He fervently hopes that a new reality exists somewhere or sometime which is not predicated upon the premise of a food chain. If this is the only current reality, then God created surrealists as a kind of collective think tank.
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