After your last dreadful experience with jambalaya- when the preacher assaulted you for rightfully (and righteously)accusing him of consorting with Satan to produce an inferior product and you were forced to skip town to avoid his hell-backed reprisal –you’ve decided it’s best to stick to the professionals for your Cajun cuisine.
Your El Camino sputters and clicks as you bring it to a stop in the parking lot of That Guy Who Sells Jambalaya, a local restaurant where a guy sells jambalaya. On your walk from the car to the shop, your army surplus camouflage pants and red flannel shirt feel just perfect in the cool afternoon air, and the long hair at the nape of your neck flitters in the soft fall breeze.
“Mmmmm,” you mutter, “mmm mmm mmm.”
A bell rings overhead as you push through the plain wooden door of the humble restaurant. You take a cursory glance around- half a dozen four-top tables sit in two rows of three in the sparsely decorated dining area. A ficus sits lonely in the corner like a punished child, and an old black-and-white map of Louisiana hangs on an otherwise bare wall just a few feet away.
Directly across from the door, you spy what must be the service counter, manned by a young woman who can’t be older than twenty. In front of her is a well-polished silver service bell. Slightly confused, you make your way towards her.
When you reach the counter, the young lady begins to greet you. “Hello! Welcome to-“
Her polite greeting is immediately interrupted by the sharp chime of the service bell in front of her. You repeatedly slam on the bell’s button with a fast, steady rhythm.
“Umm…?” says the young lady, elevating her voice to cut through the noise, “Sir?”
“Yes, young lady, how can I help you?” you ask curtly. “I’m sure you can see I’m quite busy right now trying to complete a business transaction.”
The young woman smiles sweetly. “I can help you with that, sir! What can I get for you?”
You laugh. You laugh long and loud. Your laugh lasts so long that the young lady’s smile fades and inverts into an irritated frown. Seeing that your mocking has had its desired effect, you cease your giddy chuckling and close your eyes, then rub the bridge of your nose with your thumb and forefinger. You give out a deep sigh. “Young lady, if I’m not mistaken, I walked into a restaurant bearing a sign that said ‘The Guy Who Sells Jambalaya’. Is that correct.”
“Yes, sir, that’s right.”
“Okay, then it should not come as a surprise when I respectfully request to do business with The Guy who sells jambalaya, not the little girl playing pretend.”
“Sir,” the young woman responds through clenched teeth, “I am the one taking orders today, thank you. I’d be happy…to help….you.”
Although you are move by tootsie’s sincerity, you are a man of principle and, as always, you must stick to your guns. “Young lady, I don’t think you quite get it. Where is the eponymous Guy who sells jambalaya at this very moment?”
“He’s in the kitchen.”
“Well, don’t that just beat all? Look, far be it from me to come into a man’s place and tell his wife how I think he should do business, but one only has to read the Word of the Lord to know that it seems you’ve got a little role reversal going on here.”
You give out a soft snicker. “Well, don’t know you? A woman’s place is-“
“-in the kitchen.”
“What’s wrong young lady?”
“Well, you said that thing. So now I have to do this.” The young woman vaults over the lunch counter and, before you know what’s happening, has all the knuckles of her right hand embedded in you left cheek.
You shake your head in disbelief. “I seem to have lost my appetite,” you tell the young woman.
“I should hope so,” she replies. She follows you to the door.