The Soupster learns that sometimes more than the peppers get stuffed.
The Soupster sat at a back table at Nemo’s Café, spooning Rockfish-and-Beach-Asparagus Chowder into his mouth. Hunched over his steaming bowl, he read a copy of his publication, the Sitka Soup.
Then the Soupster stiffened. “Waiter!” he called out. “There’s a fly in my Soup!”
Manny, the new waiter, hurried over to the Soupster’s table and examined the stew. “I don’t see anything in there,” he said.
“Not in my soup,” said the Soupster, waving a copy of his publication aloft. “There’s a fly in my Sitka Soup!”
Indeed, there was a fly, on page 10. (Ed. Note: yup!)
“Can’t help you there,” the waiter said.
“Manny,” asked the Soupster. “Have you ever encountered a real fly in a bowl of real soup?”
“Not flies in the soup — no,” said Manny.
“Stuffed fish and animal heads on the walls, like Guinness Book amounts of them — definitely.”
“Do tell,” said the Soupster.
“A place up north I worked at one summer, Ike’s Roadhouse,” Manny said. “In his younger days, Ike was an Olympian athlete of hunters. And he liked to stuff his trophies. Moose, goat, sheep heads on the roadhouse walls. Stuffed gamebirds all over. Mounted fish. An entire black bear.
“Doesn’t sound real hygienic,” said the Soupster.
“I have to admit that Ike’s place wouldn’t have passed inspection,” Manny said. “That is, if there was an inspector within 1,000 miles.”
“Anyhow, Ike was such a good cook, everyone was happy to overlook the occasional ptarmigan feather in the oatmeal,” Manny went on. “There was a bit of discussion sometimes about exactly what critters went into the fricassee, but that didn’t stop people from scarfing it.
“Then Ike got old and his son took over. And then the son got old, so the grandson took over. But Old Ike still went to the restaurant every day and sat in a chair in the corner, telling stories and taking silent naps.
“Old Ike would be telling you some tall tale and would fall asleep in the middle of a sentence and revert back to his silent, sleeping mode like an unconscious Jabba the Hutt.
“One day, a visitor arrived and announced that he’d journeyed 4,000 miles for a taste of the Roadhouse’s famous sourdough flapjacks. The man evidently read about them in some Great Land handbook and got an insatiable yen.
“So, the grandson makes the flapjacks and the visitor chomps away, all compliments. The visitor remarks on how colorful the Roadhouse was, with all the taxidermy.
“Then, he asks who started the establishment. Ike’s grandson proudly says Old Ike started the roadhouse half a century ago. And, tells how the old Sourdough has been in the restaurant every day since.
“`In fact,’ says the grandson, pointing to his granddad in the tangle of taxidermied creatures. `Old Ike is right there.’
“The look that crossed the visitor’s face was pure horror. You could see he was having a hard time telling if Old Ike was stuffed, too.
“The grandson turned around for a second, to chuckle at the old man sleeping away. And when he turned back, all that was left was a $20 bill and a half-eaten stack of pancakes. The visitor was gone!”
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