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Restaurant of the Year

SYNOPSIS: A reviewer of restaurants has his work cut out for him when he finds himself in the presence of quite possibly the single most terrible restaurant he has ever reviewed in his life

 Barry Bardronsky sat in his red Porsche outside of the Overboard, the new restaurant which had recently opened in Melbourne. Bright red neon lights flashed in front of the restaurant, allowing all to be bewildered by its brilliant physical tranquility. He rubbed his black beard and sighed, hoping that this was not going to be yet another insufferable evening of unsatisfying products.
Barry was renown across the state for his reviews of new restaurants in the newspaper, becoming quite unpopular amongst many of the owners, especially when they closed down after the supposedly slanderous words that Barry used to describe their venues. It wasn’t his fault if their food was less than adequate to satisfy his tastes. After all, it was his job to warn the people if there was a problem with the food, not endorse venues that were unable to accommodate a pack of turkeys, let alone human beings.
He rubbed his hands down his blue shirt, admiring his black jeans and brown boots as he stared around at the other vehicles passing by his. He noticed one license plate specifying the owner as ‘KIKASS’ whilst another stated ‘PEN15’. Barry shook his head, not having time for humor much these days in the line of work he was in.
He gingerly stepped from the vehicle, holding a clipboard in his hand and a pen in the other as he made his way to the sidewalk and briskly marched through the cool winter breeze towards the restaurant doors. A man dressed in red opened the door politely for him and the other patrons as they stepped inside onto a magnificently constructed landing. The carpet laid out across the floor was a bright red in colour, with yellow lining around the sides. The walls were decorated in black and yellow patterns, whilst musicians played tender dinner music in the far corner.
Each of the patrons were dressed in fine luxurious clothes, Barry finding himself to be a little underdressed as he fixed his shirt collar, attempting to blend in with the rest of the crowd. The maitre d’ at the front of the restaurant who was allowing the queue of individuals hoping to enter recognised Barry, clicking his fingers for two of the waiters closest to escort him directly into the restaurant proper.
Barry had to admit already that if the rest of the evening persisted in quite the same manner that it would be one of the few restaurants he had ever credited.
He sat down at the finely organised wooden table, with blue napkins, sparkling cutlery and red menus that were each placed before him in a formalised fashion. He pulled the menu close to him and began to quickly skim over what he could possibly order, many of which he had tried at previous venues, each meal becoming a bad memory that he so desperately wished to forget.
The man who had allowed him entry suddenly appeared at his side, holding a gargantuan plush teddy bear in his hands. ‘Here sir, this was left for you.’
Barry didn’t know what to say as he took the plush toy and studied the card attached to its left ear.
‘Good luck at this new restaurant, love Carol’ stated the card as he smiled. It appeared his co-worker was not without a sense of humor as he noticed the strange looks he began to receive from the other patrons. Barry nodded at the man who returned to his post, whilst Barry placed the bear in the seat opposite him.
A waiter appeared moments later beside him, eagerly awaiting to hear what he wished to order.
‘I see you have quite an exquisite list of delicacies here’ specified Barry as the man nodded. ‘Tell me, if I order sausages, how long do you think they will be?’
‘I can’t be too sure sir’ replied the man, ‘but I would assume eight centimeters.’
Barry tilted his head to the side and sighed before continuing. ‘Moreover, do you serve crabs in this restaurant?’
‘Yes sir’ answered the man. ‘We serve anyone.’
‘I’m sorry, have I done anything to offend you?’ questioned Barry.
‘I’m the ‘idiot’ you insulted at the Royal Galah last month. And the ‘imbecile’ you insulted at the Skipping Kangaroo a few weeks before that.’
Barry nodded, failing to remember such insults, but coming to realise that he insulted nearly every waiter at every venue he had ever attended, so it was quite difficult to keep track.
‘In that case I’ll have the crocodile soup with your finest Merlot. On top of that I would like to have a breadstick. And step on it, I really don’t have all night here you know’.
The man nodded before turning to the plush teddy bear figurine. ‘And you sir, what would you like. Oh, I’m sorry, you obviously don’t want anything because, as I can see, you’re stuffed!’
With that the waiter turned on his heel and left back the way he came, a couple of the patrons sniggering at what had just occurred as Barry rubbed his temple. It was going to be a long night he thought as he put a mark down on the service at the Overboard.
A man dressed in white and black attire suddenly made his way out, bringing a plate over to Barry’s table with what he had ordered. Barry picked up the breadstick and shook his head. ‘Why has my bread been squashed?’
‘Well, the waiter said that you wanted me to step on it because you were in a hurry’ replied the man.
‘Not figuratively you moron!’ hissed Barry.
Barry took the spoon from the plate and had a quick taste of the soup he had ordered, spitting it back out in disgust. ‘And what’s more this soup tastes funny!’
‘Well, I don’t hear you laughing about it’ stated the man.
‘None of you are taking me seriously’ grunted Barry, becoming aggravated. ‘I’ve changed my mind. I no longer want what I’ve ordered. Instead, I would like a medium salad with egg and vegetable soup on the side’.
The man before him nodded slowly before taking away the products which Barry had refused as he yanked the cork out from the bottle of Merlot and took a great swig of the alcoholic beverage.
A few moments later the new order that Barry had asked for began to be brought over to him on two different plates, the man quickly retreating back to whence he came after deliverance of the products.
Barry took a forkful of salad before applying it with egg, placing the fork into his mouth, a foul expression coming over his face as he turned to the soup to look for something to wash it down. He quickly turned away after seeing what was in the adjacent meal, taking yet another great sip of Merlot and crying out for the nearest waiter to help him.
‘Yes sir?’ questioned the man as he arrived.
‘Waiter, this egg is awful’ explained Barry.
‘Well don’t blame me sir’ replied the waiter, ‘I only laid the table.’
Barry gave him a dirty look before proceeding with his complaints. ‘On top of that, there is a fly in my soup!’
‘Oh, don’t worry sir, the spider in your salad will get it!’ smiled the waiter as Barry quickly checked to see if he were been serious.
‘I’m joking sir’ grinned the waiter.
‘I don’t think you quite understand the situation’ grunted Barry. ‘There is a fly in my soup!’
‘If you like I can arrange for you to have a bigger one’ suggested the waiter.
‘No, I don’t want a bigger one’ shot back Barry angrily. ‘I already have one and I am telling you I did not order it!’
‘Please sir be quiet, or else everyone else will want one’ said the waiter as a man who happened to resemble a garden toad sitting near Barry’s table looked at his order and noted to the waiter ‘I’ll have what he’s having.’
The waiter beside Barry appeared to look a little upset as he continued on. ‘At least the hot water killed the fly. It could be a whole lot worse; it could still be swimming.’
‘Don’t you understand what is happening here you temperamental twit?’ cried Barry, beginning to attract some unnecessary attention. ‘I wish to talk to the owner, immediately!’
The waiter nodded as he began to escort Barry in the direction of the kitchens, making his way past the cooks who each eyed him dangerously before reaching a young woman in a gray uniform at the far end who was talking to the head chef. She turned to Barry as he arrived, her dark hair flying across her face before smiling.
‘You must be Barry Bardronsky’ she said. ‘I was just about to come out and talk to you.’
‘Yes’ nodded Barry, ‘well there’s no need now, is there?  As for why I am here, I think it is plainly obvious. I’m looking for the ring leader of this circus.’
‘Well you found her’ smiled the woman. ‘Abigail’s the name and cooking’s the game.’
‘Good’ nodded Barry with a nod of his head whilst pointing at her with his finger before noting, ‘great slogan too. Is there somewhere we could talk in private?’
‘Right this way’ nodded Abigail as she escorted Barry into an office at the back of the restaurant that was incredibly small and compact, Abigail seating herself in a small chair behind an even smaller desk.
‘You know’ commented Barry. ‘I’ve seen mental asylums saner than this dive. I can see you have a real handle on things here.’
‘Do you have an actual complaint you would wish to bring to my attention?’ questioned Abigail bleakly. ‘Or did you just come here to bitch?’
‘Is it just me, or do you and your little gang of nitwits enjoy getting everything purposefully wrong?’ cried out Barry. ‘I mean, what is wrong with you people? I mean, do you have any endeavours to do apart from live and die in this rotten restaurant? What do you wish to be when you’re older?’
‘A weather girl’ stated Abigail.
Barry threw his arms in the air. ‘What can I say to that? This place is filled with the most incompetent ignoramuses I have ever had the incredible misfortune to meet in my entire life!’
‘Well, you would know, wouldn’t you’ commented Abigail. ‘You know, a little bird told me you were an ass. I didn’t actually listen to her at the time, but don’t worry, I shot the little bugger before the news spread any further.’
‘I can’t take anymore of this utter rubbish’ grunted Barry as he began to leave the office.
‘It’s such a shame that you’re leaving us’ said Abigail, shaking her head with a laugh.
‘Yeah, I’m grief stricken too’ retorted Barry. ‘Especially since I won’t be able to see you go through puberty.’
‘Tell me Mr. Bardronsky, before you leave’ began Abigail. ‘You have quite a stomach on you, along with an appetite for been a total arsehole. Has anyone ever told you that you should work out?’
‘Work out?’ asked Barry with a snigger. ‘You see this?’ he laughed, bringing his hand up to his mouth. ‘I’m working out every time I bring the fork up to my mouth’ he said before leaving.
Abigail shook her head before sighing. ‘Idiot!’ she whispered.
‘I heard that!’ cried out Barry as he exited through the kitchens and back through the restaurant, grabbing his plush teddy bear before making his way to the exit. ‘Come on’ he grunted as he grabbed the teddy by the arm, the chair he had been seated in falling to one side with a loud clunk. ‘We’re leaving’ Barry hissed once more as he continued to head in the direction of the entrance.
Whatever the case, Barry was certain that by this time next week, the Overboard would be no more. His column in tomorrow’s paper would easily attest to that. It was true what they said – revenge was a dish best served cold.

The Only Girl

SYNOPSIS: A piece about a woman, who, even if she does not realise it yet, has a man wrapped hopelessly around her finger.

She’s the girl like Aphrodite, Cleopatra and Cher;
what could I possibly give to her?

She’s the girl who looks so sweet,
it is her I long to meet.

She’s the girl with the crooked smile,
I’ll see her again in a little while.

She’s the girl who I’ve seen in my dreams,
dancing around wearing pale blue jeans.

She’s the girl who I dream to hold,
since meeting her my heart was sold.

She’s the girl who I want as mine,
who attends restaurants and drinks exquisite wine.

She’s the girl I always see,
who knows nothing about me.

She’s the girl with nothing to lose,
who’d enjoy dining on a romantic cruise.

She’s the girl who I’ve always dreamed to kiss;
whenever she’s gone it’s her I miss.

She’s the girl from the perfect town,
who I’ve seen smile, but never frown.

She’s the girl with the pretty face,
from the different culture and ethnic race.

She’s the girl I see everywhere I go,
and yet for her I’ve nothing to show.

She’s the girl with the luxurious car;
at night she swims in her gold spa.

She’s the girl with the truly beautiful eyes;
all across her magnificent body her beauty lies.

She’s the girl with the magnificent voice,
who I would love if given the choice.

She’s the girl who’s never being alone at night;
who’s exceptionally talented and extremely bright.

She’s the girl who visits me in my sleep,
whose memory makes my heart weep.

She’s the girl who keeps in contact by phone,
when dreaming of her I’m not alone.

She’s the girl who looks like Spring;
to her body birds will sing.

She’s the girl who lights up a room,
with her face she can make a flower bloom.

She’s the girl with the single greatest Heavenly body;
whose taste in clothes is of utmost luxury.

She’s the girl whose everything I’m not-
what can I give to her that she ain’t got?

She’s the only girl I will ever love,
who looks down on me from up above.

The Man That Can’t Be Moved

SYNOPSIS: Jimmy, a student attempting to do a research project on the mysterious town of Gransnapia discovers a story about a statue of a man that is placed on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and why he will never leave.

Jimmy rode timidly upon his bike, the immaculate town of Gransnapia located around the bend, the entire town looking considerably bleak and dark, a shadow of its former self. He had never been present during its glory days, but had heard stories of its brilliance, which is why he had decided to do his assignment on the town. The teacher requested they write on something fantastical, and this was it. Jimmy however never imagined the town would be so frightening to behold, the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end as he rode into town. A dense cover of fog emerged from the confines of small broken town houses and spiraled around him like ghosts, eager to accept him as one of their own.
Jimmy began to feel his decision to come was a mistake, slowly turning his bike around before slipping to the ground,  gravel digging into his skin, the fog appearing to laugh at his own inconvenience.  Making his way to his feet, Jimmy noticed an old man standing a few metres away, his clothes ragged and dirty. The man turned his head to look directly at him, causing a shudder to crawl along Jimmy’s spine. Taking a deep breath, Jimmy summoned all the courage he could muster before asking ‘do you know any interesting stories about this town mister?’
‘Depends’ stated the man, taking a step forward. ‘Do you want to hear a story’ he asked, ‘or do you want to hear a story?’
‘Which one is which?’ asked Jimmy.
‘The latter is far more fanciful’ stated the old man. He pointed up at a statue of a man placed atop of a cliff edge overlooking the entire town. The statue appeared sad and alone, the body posture signaling the man had lost something significantly dear to him, his head bowed in a silence that could never be broken. ‘I can tell you a story about the man that can’t be moved and the story of his Juliette for all eternity’ he said, before beginning to tell the tale.

The town of Gransnapia was traditionally inviting. Bright and beautiful, lights flourished across the city at night making the small civilisation stand out like a beacon.  However, what Gransnapia was most famous for, were its apples. Gransnapian apples were sold for twelve dollars per kilogram, visualised as one of the most succulent and addictive forms of fruit ever conceived. This world renowned delight was what made the town so famous, comprised of many wealthy industrialists who had made a living of extravagance and luxury for themselves.
However, nobody ever distinguished the true nature of the townsfolk. They were, each of them pretentious, egotistical and presumptuous, having a great amount of prejudice towards outsiders. If they were not a part of their society then they were simply seen as misfits, the scum of the Earth whom they believed needed to be swept clean.
The townsfolk wore luxurious and exquisite outfits, dining at the only restaurants they had ever known, incredible arenas which were crafted specifically for the kings and queens of industry.
This behaviour was clearly represented the day the new shipments of parts for their hydro-electric dam were sent over by ship from the far side of Australia. The vessel was black in colour, looking like a beast on the horizon as it docked in port. The gargantuan containers were removed from the ship, and in addition there was one passenger.  Nathaniel Buck was his name. His costume certainly wasn’t extravagant, appearing dirty and ragged from his trip at sea, his face unwashed and covered in hair. The townsfolk looked down at him as though he was a weed, one which needed to be destroyed quickly before any harm could be done to their Garden of Eden.
Nathaniel immediately had trouble attempting to be accommodated into a room at the local hotel, and the next morning found it even more trying when nobody wished to offer him a job, instantly being deported to the docks to ensure the area would be kept immaculate.
Whilst working there however, he couldn’t help but notice the comings and goings of an extraordinarily beautiful young woman. Virginia Copperfield was her name, daughter of Harvey, one of three men who had founded the Gransnapian apple trade.  Her blonde hair flew out behind her as she rolled by in a luxurious gold trimmed carriage, her attire being a blossoming gown made from the finest silk imaginable.
Nathaniel was told by fellow workers he was crazy for having any romanticised thoughts over such a person. But the dock master liked the work that Nathaniel had accomplished, providing him with a larger economical cash flow, and as he built up his savings, Nathaniel made himself more presentable.
Even after Nathaniel had dined with the best of the town however they still failed to provide him with any respect, especially Harvey, who had noticed the stranger looking at his daughter on countless occasions. He needn’t have worried however. The stranger was never able to sum up the courage to communicate to such an attractive young woman, believing, like the town did, that he was a creature no woman of such brilliance could ever have feelings for.
One night after watching an adventurous piece of dramatic art about a couple of travelers and their escapades, Nathaniel had actually met Virginia in the booth above the stage whilst he was making his way towards the exit. The both of them had stopped what they had been previously doing and looked at one another for a second. Nathaniel had attempted to form words, but had ultimately failed, instead, tipping his hat in the presence of the beautiful young woman and departing from sight.
Although he was still disliked by the locals, Nathaniel did indeed begin to have additional occupations opened to him. Through these he was able to pull off many endeavours the entrepreneurs wished to have accomplished, from moving something from one place to another, to helping to advertise for bigger business. The most attractive feature of such occupational occurrences was the payment, which added to the luxurious lifestyle Nathaniel wished to concoct for himself. He had come to believe such wealth would make him appear to be quite the gentlemen in the eyes of Virginia, nothing apart from his self esteem been able to stop him from achieving his dream of finally being able to ask her to spend an evening with him.   
When Nathaniel realised Virginia was being sent by ship to Europe a couple of weeks later under the machinations of her father he felt his entire body begin to shut down in grief. As the luxuriously gargantuan vessel pulled out from the harbour, Nathaniel stood atop of a cliff edge overlooking the vast ocean, and for a moment, just one, he could have sworn he noticed Virginia look up at him. It was almost as though she too had wanted him to approach all this time, and in one split second all opportunities were vanquished.
Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months, and months inevitably turned to years as Nathaniel continued to wait on the cliff edge for his beloved to return, to tell her exactly how he felt and pray he was not too late to be with her for all eternity.
But never did the ship return. Nathaniel continued to wait after the ship and all of its crew were reported missing, and after a period of seven long years the constant brutality of the sun caused Nathaniel’s skin to crumble into rock, until he became a part of the cliff itself.
A few months later it was reported the vessel had been attacked by enemy troops invading Europe, no survivors ever being reported after the ship had being razed into the depths of the ocean.

Jimmy took a few steps back, his mouth open in shock, unable to say anything to properly establish the way he currently felt. ‘Wow’ he managed to say in awe.
‘Yes’ nodded the elderly man. ‘Virginia and Nathaniel were the best of all those who ever entered the town, and without them Gransnapia inevitably destroyed itself through wrong doing.’
Jimmy looked at his watch before shouting ‘gee, thanks mister, but I really must go now’, quickly leaping onto his bike and beginning to ride out of the town. He turned around suddenly and looked up at the statue one last time, instantly recognising the resemblance. The old man was the ghost of Nathaniel, trapped for an eternity away from his true love, the two of them cursed to forever be apart.