The Ramen Burger, Part III

“Hi,” I said, shaking myself out of my daze and looking up. “Um, okay, yeah, I’m definitely going to have to take the ramen burger.”

“Ramen burger,” she said, writing on her pad. “And how would you like it done?”

“‘Done’?” I blinked. “Um, I don’t know, al dente?”

The waitress laughed, either because I’d just inadvertently said something completely adorable and witty or because she was being paid to keep the customer happy and this was the seventeenth time she’d heard this same joke today. “No, the meat,” she giggled. “Medium, well done…?”

“You put meat in it?” I gaped.

“We don’t have to,” she said quickly, “we also do a vegetarian patty-”

Oh God, no,” I hastened, wondering as I always did at the unique cowardice of restaurants clearly designed exclusively for carnivores having vegetarian options. What kind of self-loathing, misery-magnet vegetarian would come to a place like this? Or was it sadistic meat-eaters, dragging their vegetarian friends here to shock them out of their weird hippy ways? “No, no, no vegetarian patty,” I said, “I was just surprised. Um, rare. Yeah. Ramen burger, meat, rare,” I realised I was babbling, closed the menu and did my best to smile sheepishly as I handed it back to the waitress. “Al dente,” I scoffed.

“You want a starter or dessert?”

“No thanks,” I said, deciding I’d better quit while I was ahead, “no time.”

“Okay,” the waitress replied, in that neutral-friendly tone that told me she had taken in my casual attire and the fact that I was here at half-past one in the afternoon on a weekday, and knew perfectly well that I didn’t have anywhere important to be in an hour’s time or less, but also that she didn’t care anywhere near enough to ask me what I was heading off to in such a go-go executive hurry. She made a final note on her pad, and went on her way.

I sighed and sank back into my speculative noodle burger daydream.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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