Sunday, September 11, 2005

Salsa Bars and Unholy Wraiths

The other day Latigo Flint was waiting for his to-go order at a local chain restaurant when the microphone at the food pick-up counter clicked on by itself. The open channel hummed for a moment and then a shrill voice blared from the speakers.
"The ghost, the ghost, the deadly wraith, it's in the room with you."

This came as quite a shock to the patrons. Over the years we've become accustomed to hearing basically: 'Number 54, your order's ready, number 54.' and variants of, from restaurant speaker systems. This statement was obviously something entirely different, and involuntary shivers twitched through many a shoulder.

The voice continued. "It plans doom upon your children and a pox on girlfriends fair." Which was bad, of course, and the frightened glances people gave each other reflected this. Most of us would probably prefer that disembodied voices had something a bit cheerier to say.

The voice howled twice to silence the panicky murmur. "Defeating it, difficult--but defeat it you must; or it will rip your loved ones apart and make you watch." The voice cleared its invisible throat. "The wraith is next to the salsa bar!!!"

That, I didn't expect. A hundred homicidal faces slowly turned to me. I gulped, set the salsa ladle down and raised a wary index finger. "Okay now... that's just silly. You all know how silly that is, right?"

No, they didn't seem to. They slowly advanced.

"Hey!" I started randomly pointing at people, figuring odds were I'd hit a sensible one eventually. "Look now, I'm just waitin' for my food. Another day, another burrito combo meal. Just like you all, huh?"

The speakers hissed and wailed. "Believe his lies at your peril!!! At. Your. Peril!!!"

I glared at the microphone. "Why you unholy wretch! If anyone's the liar, it's you!!!"

A middle-aged woman in capri pants shoved her way to the front of the mob and threw up her hands. "Thank goodness" I thought, "a sensible ally".

"People!" The woman hollered. "It's clear something is happening here we don't entirely understand. But we sure don't want our children torn apart in front of us, so I vote we throw metal napkin dispensers at this guy next to the salsa bar until we're pretty sure he's dead!"

Oh goddamn it.

I tried to scramble for cover behind the salsa bar but was cut down by a barrage of metal napkin dispensers. They stopped beating me when they were pretty sure I was dead; overturned the salsa bar on my face for good measure and went back to waiting for their food orders. The phantom voice didn't return and that was proof enough for everyone to convince themselves they'd done the right thing.

I lay half-conscious on the checkered linoleum floor, blowing tiny bubbles in a pool of blood and salsa. My order number was called, and when it went unclaimed, someone picked it up and threw it at me.

Listen, they need to do one of those Unsolved Mystery shows about that goddamn voice. What the hell was it? Did it have it in for me personally or was I simply wrong place / wrong time... namely next to the salsa bar? They also need to send a friggin' convoy of hearses to Burbank 'cause when I can walk again I'm going to kill every single bastard who hit me with a napkin dispenser.

Oh wait, savage irony; I can't do that--that'll prove the wretched voice right.


The only silver lining is that I now have a small amount of salsa pumping through my veins and this makes me even sexier than I was before, if that's even possible.

I stood up around about 9pm, a dangerous glint in wild eyes. I wiped the cilantro from my hat brim and settled it low on a smeared brow. Blood and salsa ran in rivulets down my bare chest, and believe you me, every female employee working the evening shift licked her lips and touched her hair.


At 6:52 AM, Blogger slarrow said...

Where, exactly, was Kid Relish during all this? And had he been to Radio Shack lately?

Although the whole "he'll kill you" and the subsequent ironic foreshadowing that stopped you half-dead in your tracks does seem a little subtle for the Kid.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Dave Morris said...

I move for plastic napkin dispenser legislation.

At 9:40 AM, Blogger Monkeypotpie said...

I think perhaps it might be ok to prove the voice right and exact your deserved revenge. The blindly followed a disembodied voice in a fast food restaurant, after all, and as we all know most disembodied voices are notorious liars. On top of that, they didn't finish the job. I say you kill 'em.

Oh, and beggin' your pardon, I was not speaking in jest about The Kevin, as you refer to him. The man truly does suck.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger MJ said...

The fake blood in caplets that people get for vampire costumes at Halloween looks like salsa + blood, too! Ummmm... maybe you should collect the rivulets and sell the mélange in caplets for Halloween vampire costumes? Share the sexy!

At 10:30 AM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

That happened to me once, only what they were throwing were those paper cups they give you for the catsup. Do you know how long it takes to kill a guy by throwing paper cups at him? A. Real. Long. Time.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Ghost Dog said...

Latty, you should have told them about your Antwaan Randle El prediction. No one who is evil would make such an utterance, and it is likely that a Steelers fan (we're everywhere) would have pitched in to quiet the mob.

Oh, and #82 started proving you right yesterday.

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

Time to switch to Chinese food.

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I think I saw this on that 70's Show guy's "Punked" show.

At 9:14 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

I have to wonder: what prevented you from forcing your way back to the kitchen and doing horrible things to the guy with the wireless mike and seemingly unbroken legs and windpipe? But I'm often accused of unnecessary violence, so I'm probably not in a good place to ask these questions.

At 11:42 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Ah, wise Slarrow. I too initially suspected The Kid, but dismissed it for that very reason.

Oh hell yes Dave... for the safety and well-being of our children!!! (That's the part you have to add if you want any sort of support.)

I'd like to Monkeypotpie, Lord knows I would. But the Squinty-Eyed Gunslinger Charter forbids the vengeful killing of stupid people. You have to kill them in the act or not at all.

(Oh, and by the way... you just ruined yourself with that second paragraph! Pray you never meet me.)

Share my pain-earned-sexy MJ?!!! Allow people to possess it for a couple of bucks?! No snot-bubbles? No ragged, hitching breaths through collapsed lungs? I don't think so. No, I don't think it works that way at all, dern it!

But bless you for having the gumption to find out Old Hoss! And it won't be for another 15, 20 years if my prayers are worth a damn.

That was mighty fine was it not Ghost Dog? I'm telling you, I saw it in a vision. You're in awe of me right now, just a little bit, aren't you? (Just please don't tell anyone that I started Denver's Mike Anderson on my FF team yesterday... I somehow missed the vision that he was going to bust up his ribs minutes into the first quarter and not return.)

Chinese food leaves me cold and alone Steve. (It's complicated.)

Well I'll be damned LBB... how'd you figure out I'm actually Andy Dick?!!!

Well, let's see Amandarama... I think it had something to do with the hemorrhaging, the collapsed lungs and the overturned salsa bar resting full weight on my face.

At 3:09 PM, Blogger Ari said...

People have to breathe, you know.

That last sentence could be dangerous to smokers, fat asthmatics like me, or other breathing impaired people.


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