“No, I don’t want any ham, and definitely none of those nasty looking green eggs,” I told Cindy, who was taking my order and showing me the specials d’Jour. “What else you got?”
I was immediately sorry. I didn’t mean to make Cindy Lou cry. It was already bad enough for her, losing that beauty queen contest to Honey Boo Boo.
It had been a rough night in Whoville. All the townsfolk, it seemed, had hung out at the town square till past midnight, mingling and singing out-of-key Gregorian chants that sent shivers down my spine.
There ought to be a law. Glad I was just passing through.
Cindy wiped her tears and tried to smile. “Well, there’s roast Thing,” she replied.
“Is it boy or girl Thing?” I asked.
She broke down completely, then. “We’ve never been able to tell!” she blubbered and dropped the appetizer tray.
The shift manager, Sam Iam, came over to see what was the matter. “Is everything OK up in here?”
He then told Cindy, “Clean up this mess.”
“Everything’s fine,” I answered. “I just had a question about the specials.”
“Roast Thing...is it boy Thing or girl Thing? Oh, and by the way, wouldn’t it be more interesting if it were Roast Thang?”
Sam threw down his menu and grabbed my lapels, clearly over the line in terms of personal space. He replied in his best stage whisper: “Gonna let you in on a little secret. It’s neither. Our Roast Thing is lightly seasoned organically grown and overfed androgynous mesomorphs, slow roasted in a candied wine sauce.”
“Excellent,” I told him. “Cage free?”
He relaxed his grip. “Of course,” he replied.
I wasn’t convinced. I glanced at the menu’s Happy Hour specials.
A blue elephant strolled past the front windows.
“I heard that,” he said.
Cindy was composed now and ready to take my order.
“I’ll have the Pumpkinburger,” I told her. “Oh, and can I have it in the cheese squirting whole wheat bun?”
Sam Iam turned abruptly and went back into his office, muttering under his breath. Cindy dropped the appetizer tray again.
“I’m so sorry!” she cried.
“I love you,” I told her.
She kicked the appetizer tray and threw her arms around my neck. Her breath smelled and tasted like Bubbliscious Strawberry Splash.
“Take me with you,” she begged.
How could I say no? How often does someone get the chance to escape from Whoville? We boarded the noon train for East Hell, making plans as if we had known one another forever.
Ed Coonce is an Encinitas, California, actor, artist and published author currently compiling his third anthology, “East Hell Boulevard.” A USMC Vietnam veteran, he studied acting under Monty Silverstone, and wrote and played the lead role in Play Mountain Production’s “Sheep and Wolf,” a finalist in the Oceanside International Film Festival 2012. He is the Creative Director for Theatre Arts West, hosts East Hell Writers, a weekly creative writing group, and was the featured artist in an exhibition titled “The Art of a Writer” at the Encinitas Civic Center Gallery in 2014.