Our Town – June 2, 2016
The Soupster overeats.
The Soupster overeats.
In all the events in Our Town’s long history, few went as unnoticed as the Soupster’s arrival in the final decades of the 20th Century.
After much research and creative shopping prior to his arrival, the Soupster had largely succeeded in his quest to resemble a bona fide inhabitant of Our Town. On Day One and Day Two he blended in like a chameleon. On Day Three, however, the Soupster made a fatal mistake: he stepped out of his apartment in blue rubber boots.
How could the Soupster have realized before he got to Our Town that nearly half the population would be wearing brown boots? Was there a brown boot cult? Were people really staring at his boots or was it his imagination?
In those early days the Soupster absorbed many new words and phrases. “Way out the road” referred to a place that was no more than five miles away. “Skookum” meant either “awesome” or “fitting” or both. “Butt cheek” might refer to a human posterior or a savory delicacy found on a flatfish’s face.
“That there is a new one on me,” the Soupster frequently thought.
On one of those days, the Soupster noticed a banner outside a waterfront hotel beckoning in the breeze. “Sumptuous Buffet Lunch Brunch” it promised. The price was stiff, but the Soupster calculated that he could get several meals down on one sitting and come out well in the end. (ed. note: T.M.I.?)
Once inside, the Soupster saw that “sumptuous” had not been an exaggeration.
Crab legs, king salmon, prime rib, Eggs Benedict, abalone – and that was only the protein! The richness of the Alaska food chain was more than represented on the L-shaped table covered completely with silver food warmers.
The Soupster paid the stiff price and found a seat. He wanted to collect his thoughts. To get three meals out of one sitting required a strategy to succeed. You couldn’t just fill up on mashed potatoes and water and hope to escape hunger pangs 36 hours later!
The Soupster joined two people already filling their plates and starting doing the same. His mouth watered and his stomach growled. With his plate, he returned to his seat. But he chanced a glance back and noticed a sign that he read as: “One at a Time Only.”
This was strange. Buffets are designed to accommodate numerous people grazing at once. Why the limit? But there had been a lot of strange things the Soupster had seen and heard on his first few days in Our Town.
So the Soupster waited until the buffet line was empty and then he went up and filled a plate again. A waitress looked at him quizzically. Three more times the Soupster waited until the line was empty and then hurried up before anyone showed. Three times the waitress glared at him.
As he sat down with his fourth refill, the waitress walked up to his table.
“Nice boots, unusual color,” she remarked. “Get enough to eat?”
The Soupster nodded, his mouth already full.
“You read the sign that says `One Time Only,’ right?” she said.
“One Time Only?” said the Soupster, sputtering out baked red snapper. “I thought it said, `One At a Time Only.’”
“Well, I thought I’d heard it all,” said the waitress, ‘but that’s a totally new one on me.”
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