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Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Alien Truck Stop

Quick sketch (this is what went through my head today while waiting for our Thai lunch prior to seeing Ghost World)...

Enter Hank, macho male homosapien. He sits down at a table and ponders the menu of indecipherable symbols. Four essentially human patrons at the next table finish deciding and enthusiastically order one item in some language Hank is unfamiliar with. The waiter comes to Hank's table, sizes him up and asks him in English if he's ready to order. Hank says he'll have the same thing they're having (gesturing with a nod of his head to the side, toward the next table). The waiter looks marginally impatient for a moment, then says "Sir, perhaps you would rather have something a little more tame, like our chicken soup?" Hank reassures the waiter, who thanks him for his order and leaves.

A few minutes later, the waiter returns with a tray of utensils for the neighboring table, and a pair for Hank as well -- a small hammer-like pick, and a heavy wooden stir stick. He soon returns and places a lidded pot amidst Hank's neighbors, lifts the lid, trailing the usual poof of steam, bows and walks away. The four fist their utensils like eager patrons ready to demand their grub.

The pan starts to hiss, and then a moment later there's a loud popping sound, like a cork coming out of a bottle, and a white spherical object about the size of an egg flies up into the air. All four patrons yell "JOH!" in unison, and one of them swings his pick with remarkable precision and skewers the object on its way down, thrusts it into the middle of the table where all four beat on it aggressively with their wooden sticks for a moment, and then stuffs it in his mouth and chews vigorously with an expression of incredible delight. The other three nod and chuckle amongst themselves.

Another hiss from the pan, POP, and the process is repeated by the second one this time. Hank looks on with bewilderment, looks at the utensils in his own hands and wonders if he's holding them right. A third hiss, and POP, the sphere flies up, and down, but the swing misses. All four men jump out of their seats and are suddenly scurrying around as if chasing an escaping mouse. Hank can't quite see what's going on because his view is partly blocked by the booth separator. One of the men screams and jumps and starts hitting himself; the other three go after him with the picks and sticks and the ensemble tumbles to the floor. Beneath the screaming, Hank hears the pot hiss again. Three of the men jump up and sit quickly in their chairs, stone faced, the man on the floor still screaming. POP! With a deft swipe, the sphere is skewered, and they beat extra vigorously on it. The man stuffs it quickly in his mouth and chomps on it while giving concerned looks to his friend on the floor. The three move to return to attending to their friend, but then notice the waiter delivering another pot to Hank's table. They glance at Hank for a moment, and with wide eyes they fumble in their pockets, dumping whatever cash they have on the table, and rapidly exit, carrying their friend by two feet and an arm.

The waiter reaches for the lid.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com