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Day #340: Strange Beat

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The Story:

“What a crappy day… how the heck did all of this pile up on me? I’m going to be here all night at this rate…”

Several minutes later, Teresa busy entering data into her spreadsheets hears what appears to be an African drum coming from somewhere in the building. Completely immersed in her work she looks up for a second before brushing it off- figuring it was just one of the janitorial staff’s Walkman turned up way too loud.

“I wonder if I call Laurie if she would come help me out with some of this…” Teresa muttered to herself as she stretched her arms and rubbed at the tension growing between her shoulder blades. That’s when she heard it again, this time the drums were louder and there was singing… yes, she distinctively heard a man singing along to the beat of the drum.

Suddenly, as if from out of nowhere, a black man dressed in what appeared to be tribal costume filled her doorway and after throwing a huge grin at her swung his drum around his body and entered Teresa’s office. Not far behind him came two young women, also in colorful costume including grass skirts and bold purple prints, swinging their arms and stomping their bare feet. “Ah Ha Ha Ha!!!” the man screamed. Answering his call in kind, the two women repeated in sweet melodic voices, “Ah Ha Ha Ha!!!”. And then the drumming began again. Dancing to the beat of the drum, the women swung around Teresa’s small office in an organized frenzy, all while a huge grin painted on both their faces.

Teresa was too stunned to move.

After a few minutes of drumming and dancing, the man began to sing in a deep baritone, “Oh, oh… Happy birthday… to you. Happy birthday…. To you-oooo-oooo… Happy birthday, sweet MAh-lisssaaa, happy happy birth-a-day… toooooo ahhhh youuuuuu!”

“Melissa?” Teresa said to herself and then repeating it aloud interrupted the man and his dancing ladies who had moved into a second drum-induced dance. “Wait a minute, who’s Melissa?”

The drumming stopped. So did the dancing.

“You are not Melissa?” the friendly-faced man asked, sweat pouring off his face from his efforts.

“No, I’m Teresa,” Teresa responded.

“So, it is not your birthday?” he asked, obviously quite confused.

“No, it’s not my birthday. My birthday is in October. I think you have the wrong office. There’s a Melissa on the second floor, maybe you guys are for her?” Teresa offered, strangely feeling a bit bad for disappointing the enthusiastic trio.

“Oh ok. Thanks!” and with that, they shuffled out of Teresa’s office and down the hallway. Teresa heard the ‘ding’ of the elevator arriving a moment later and after another moment the ‘whush’ of the elevator doors closing behind them.

Teresa sat for a moment and thought, “Yep… that wasn’t strange at all…” before returning to her work.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Tonight Andy and I joined a friend of mine for her birthday dinner at a popular tapas restaurant known as Café Tu Tu Tangos. This place is pretty epic… set up to look like an artists’ studio, there are independent artists painting in the restaurant, there’s a tarot card reader, a portrait artist and the food is hands down awesome (wild boar flat bread anyone? How bout gator gumbo?). By the time I was on to my second glass of sangria, I began to hear drums. Thinking perhaps I had received a bad batch of the fruity drink, I looked around for a minute before identifying the source of the suddenly loud drums that seemed to be coming from everywhere at once. A man dressed in tribal garb and beating a drum followed by two very limber dancers in grass skirts and necklaces made of shells snaked their way out from the bathrooms and into the center of the very crowded restaurant, where they then danced and shout/sang for a good ten minutes. It was freak-a-frackin awesome. The experience made me think, how funny would it be if a band like this just appeared randomly in other settings, like while you were shopping for shoes, or at work in an office building. How great would that be? Wonder if they are for hire, I mean my birthday is coming up…

Cafe Tu Tu Tangos

Love & Squirrels.

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Day #283: Killer Cake

The Story:

“We got another one, Harry,” Marci called over her shoulder to the hulking bus boy coming up behind her. “At least this time they had the good sense to pay first,” she grumbled as she snatched the ten dollar bill off the table and quickly pocketed it.

Grabbing the patron from under the armpits, Harry hefted him out of his seat and began to drag them to the back. “I never will understand why these people insist on eating all of it,” he thought to himself as he deposited the man’s dead weight in a heap next to the dumpster. “At least I only have to bring them this far,” Harry thought to himself. He couldn’t imagine what it was like for Dan-O, whose responsibility it was to take them the rest of the way, usually to the city dump or the river.

It had been like this for years, patrons would come in for a bite, some would leave with a doggy bag, some would leave in a body bag. Harry had a sneaking suspicion that the ones who ended up toes up were not as random as the rest of the restaurant staff would have him believe. No, Harry had been paying attention and those who unknowingly ordered their last meal followed a certain pattern. Take the woman last month at table 14. She had given Marci a hard time about her soup being too cold. Her last words had been, “I want my soup to be scalding hot, do you hear me! Scalding!” Then there had been the man two weeks ago who had only spoken Spanish and somehow still managed to argue with Marci over the onions in his salad. He should have just said “gracias” and eaten the damn things. Too late now.

Both customers had received gracious apologies from the restaurant manager and a complimentary dessert, their specialty in fact- a slice of the Killer Cake. And, just like the dozens before them, their eyes had bugled greedily as the giant slice of chocolate cake arrived, glistening with rich and ooey sweetness… and just enough poison to choke the life out of them.

Enjoy your complimentary dessert... it'll be your last you turd wad

Back inside, Harry tried not to think as he cleaned up after the restaurant’s latest victim. Bussing the table he thought back to the first sorry sucker he had the misfortune to watch die. It was a quiet night, they usually were, and Harry had only been 16 at the time. He remembered being so terrified, so paralyzed with disbelief all he could do was stare at the dead man doubled over in his booth, he hand still clutching the fork that had fed him his own demise. He had wanted to run to the police, he had wanted to tell his dad but guessing at his thoughts the manager, Derek and Marci had gotten to him first. Next thing he knew he was in cold storage, his head pounding and a simple message written in ketchup on the floor next to him- Talk and you’ll get your just desserts… and clean this up when you’re ready to get back to work.

Dumping the last of the night’s trash in the dumpster, Harry tried not to look at the distorted mass of the dead man and quickly returned inside to lock up. Pulling the locked door closed behind him, Harry began to walk to his car, turning once to look up at the florescent letters of the restaurant sign. Flashing boldly beneath the sign was smaller one that read “Home of the Killer Cake!”.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      I always thought it was amusing, the names some establishments gave their ‘signature’ desserts. “Death by Chocolate” and “Killer Cake” are two of my favorites, for both their terrorizing names and their pure yumminess. Tonight Andy and I decided to share a slice of the Killer Cake and I’ll be honest, I felt like dying on the ride home thanks to that little overindulgence. The thing is still sitting like a chocolate brick in the bottom of my stomach, like consuming a delicious paperweight.

TWO:    While at dinner, there were several interesting patrons sitting around us, including the woman who wanted her soup ‘extremely hot’ as she mentioned over and over to the server in a not-so-nice-tone. Then there was the couple across from us who had to bail early thanks to what I assume to be morning-sickness for the woman who we all know is pregnant thanks to her over-excited boyfriend.

Then again... she might have just had some of the cake...

Love & Squirrels.