by Howard Falk

Already a bad dream about a pre-scheduled evening meal with a lady had me as its hostage. No one ever issues AMBER alerts about kidnapped imaginations.

Arriving at the lady’s residence, I encountered her posing at the front door. As I handed the bouquet of flowers to her, she asked me.

“Which coffin did I steal them from?”

We got ourselves compellingly escorted to a fine dining establishment, about which I remarked that it should seat its patrons on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, she complained upon arriving in the parking lot that the staff already demonstrated itself as utterly incompetent, as she observed that no tables, chairs, utensils, napkins, & menus occupied the parking lot’s spaces designated as ‘reserved’.

After entering into the establishment, a host led us both to a vacant booth as I remarked.

“This is why we discarded our hesitant misgivings & reluctance about patronizing this locale, since we didn’t need reservations.”

Having seated us both in the booth, the host placed menus on our table top in front of us & departed. The lady glanced at the menu’s promotional illustration & suggested.

“I’ll insist that they serve the photos of the meals we ordered if they don’t appear as appetizingly delicious as they do on these menu covers.” I responded back to her.

“Until we see what developed, let’s not feel negative about it.” She reacted with a facial expression which even a translator of hieroglyphics & cuneiform couldn’t decipher.

An assigned (or inducted) server approached us both & asked us about what we’d prefer to drink. I ordered a diet soda, & the lady ordered a Pepto-Bismal. That server left, & returned delivering glasses of diet soda & strawberry flavored Nestle[‘s] Quik at our table to us, preceding their providing data that the establishment doesn’t serve seconds of the Pepto-Bismal, to which the lady replied.

“I’d feel grateful that I only needed just this one serving of it”. The server silently slinked away.

We both browsed among our menus’ pages, to attempt revealing a suspiciously conceled offering which we’d deduce the establishment didn’t want ordered, apprehensive that all other patrons might also insist on demanding it ravenously themselves as well. We finally both traced the “WHERE’S WALDO’ of camaflouged culinary concoctions for us to request of our server, who timidly crept back to our table to obey our orders.

After we’d dispatched the server to carryour directions to them out, we sipped a bit of our ordered and delivered beverages; I conjectured about if this establishment also offered diet Pepto-Bismal as an alternative option for selection. The lady speculated that she’d likely still choose the regular brand, to which I remarked.

“Perhaps the diet brand might have got itself labelled as ‘Pepto-Abysmal’ for conforming to the truth in promotion paradigm preference”. Yet again, her facial expression defied description by expert code-breakers’ efforts.

I inquired of her about if she’d attend a concert with me after we’d completed dinner, to which she respoded.

“It depends on if the concert is scheduled to hold a performance later tonight.” Then she asked of me.

“How do I know what you’re thinking about as long as I can’t hear you thinking about it?” Score one winning lottery ticket for my instinct &/or intuition, which she confirmed by suggesting.

“Perhaps this bouffet diner might reduce electricity costs if it’d install sun roofs in its ceilings for letting the sun shine in to light its interior up during the late evenings & nights.” At once I said.

“You’re sharp as a marble.” She thanked me about telling her.

The establishment’s server mercifully appeared, carrying our requested meals to our table barely in time for her to commence consuming cuisine for rendering her silent swiftly. I raised my diet soda glass to offer a toast. After I said,

“Have a happy Valentine’s Day’, she retorted back

“You shouldn’t tell me how to live my life”.

Just to set some semblance of conversation into motion again, I informed her that I watched harness r acing, to which she remarked.

“That must be difficult to race harnesses.”

After I questioned her about how her meal was, she responded.

“I’ve tasted better gold-leaf lobster tail & platinum-leaf crabs’ legs than this, so you shouldn’t feel so bad about that half of a salami sandwich your ordered for yourself.” Yes, ordering an affordable by default meal provided some comforting consolation to myself.

Upon requesting her to explain why she didn’t also order the liquid melted butter for the lobster tail & the crabs’ legs, she claimed that,

“The melted butter would’ve tarnished the gold & platinum leafing on the tail & legs, & I’ve got a digestive allergy to tarnish.”

Concerning a topic which might occur later on during the Valentine’s Day night, I asked her if I could pick her brain, to which she replied.

“I prefer the mind which I’ve already got.” No reason for that to surprise me, I felt.

The server returned for asking if we wanted to perouse the dessert menu, to which the lady responded.

“I don’t want to read an itemized list of those who left AWOL permanently from the Armed Forces.”

“I think you refer to desertions.” I attempted clarifying for &/or to her, previous to her answering back to the server.

“Oh, I’d like to browse through your desertions offerings, for selecting some after meal treat or two to savor.”

As the server backed away up cautiously for filling our request, the lady inquired about if I know any British poetry.

“Do you you like Kipling?” I questioned her back, to which she retorted.

“I don’t know; I haven’t kippled previously.” I knew I should’ve anticipated that answer from her.

Once the server returned back & handed the dessert menus over as though they resembled ransom money to us both, we scanned that menu’s offerings for delectably scrumptious portions for us both to orally linger luxuriatingly over & around & through, to hopefully foreshadow the anticipated highlights of the Valentine’s Day date night for myself.

“I’d like to sample some ketchup flavored sherbert sorbet.” The lady innocently blurted out in a way which compelled & induced my blood to curdle & my arteries, veins, & vessels to cringe about such a very appetite supprressing notion as that. Just guess who wanted to share a lady’s Pepto-Bismal now.

The server asked which which offerings I wished to try tasting, uninformedly unaware os the thought of taste turning tongues tossing.

“I’ll imbibe a ginger ale float, with French Vanilla ice cream scoops packed plunging plenty of ginger ale in.” I delightedly surprised myself in five percent inspiration, & 95 percent desperation decoying doubtful dodging of 100 percent expiration.

As the server left for preparing our last meal requests, prior to the coming capital punishemnt, I ruminated about my dating gestures.

“Perhaps I might’ve brought a painting of flowers for you instead.” I contemplated as an afterthought, to which the lady reacted..

“They’d’ve looked gorgeous, after I’d’ve placed them in a painting of a vase filled with water painted in that.”

The server returned & informed the lady that the establishment doesn’t have any ketchup flavored sherbert sorbet.

“She can share my French vanilla ice cream ginger ale float.” I offered as an alternative suggestion, to which she remarked.

“Ginger ale doesn’t blend with Pepto-Bismal.” I meditated about how ketchup flavored sherbert sorbet fits ginger ale like a latex glove; however, only as long as the glove gets lubricated.

“I’ll arrive with your French Vanilla ice cream ginger ale float, & the cheque.” The server announced, preceding their retreating back to the servers’ station for fulfilling their duties.

“You should’ve ordered a domestic American vanilla ice cream with the ginger ale to support our nation’s economy, instead of ordering an exotic imported product such as French vanilla ice cream.” She admonished me, prior to proceeding on. “Since you’d avoid putting our country’s native frozen dairies out of business.”

I strained at an effort to imagine any ‘frozen’ dairies manufacturing ketchup flavored sherbert sorbets to satisfy mass consumer demands.

While the server showed up delivering my dessert & the cheque, I glanced at the cheque’s charges & remarked.

“I’d need to apply for a second mortgage to afford paying this cheque off.”

“You should just lease, to avoid applying for a mortgage.” The lady recommended predictably, as I mulled on another issue.

“What gratuity should I leave on the table for the server?” I inquired of the lady, who advised back to me.

“Keep your gratuity to yourself. The server will clear plenty off the table , so they don’t need any extra tasks to perform, & they’d place it in their ‘lost & found’ bin if you returned asking them to search for it, & they should just purchase one for themself if they’d prefer one so much.”

At the night’s end, as I arrived with her back at her residence – for giving her back, I gullibly felt confident that I’d exchange Valentine’s Day Night smooches amongst ourselves, & , and orally gestured so, as she intercepted it & proclaimed to me.

“Dating a lady on Valentine’s Day night resembles gambling casino[e]s & investing on the Wall Street stock exchange: the odds favor the house.”

To which I my rectum awakend an [audible] evaporation out of myself in resentful reaction as a ‘good night’ hiss[!].

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