Drop #10: Another

Benno is a skinny guy but he’d ordered a lot of food: an open-faced roast beef sandwich with Muenster cheese and horseradish mayo, which came with fries; a side of cauliflower gratin, and a pint of Guinness. I’m a big guy but a salad Niçoise and a Perrier was enough for me.

Benno is from Switzerland. I don’t know him that well but I like the fact that he calls small kids sir and madam. I’ve seen him do it more than once.

‘This sandwich is pretty incredible,’ Benno said, nodding lightly. ‘Really, it’s delicious.’

‘Good.’

‘Speaking of which, I just read a good book,’ he said, chewing. ‘The Dice Man.’

‘Oh yeah. I’ve heard of it.’

‘It’s worth a go.’

‘OK.’

‘Who do like to read?’ he asked. ‘Do you have a favorite writer or anything?’

‘Yeah, Kafka,’ I answered quickly and loudly, but it isn’t Franz Kafka at all; it’s Hermann Hesse. I only read The Metamorphosis, which I didn’t like, and The Castle, which I couldn’t even get a quarter of the way through. I don’t like Kafka at all, actually, so I don’t know why I blurted him out.

‘I never really got Kafka myself,’ Benno said, digging into the gratin. ‘I’m more of a Hesse guy. He’s not the greatest wordsmith, but thematically, he’s right down my alley.’

I felt too stupid to correct myself, and so, allowed another falsity into my life. I looked around in search of distraction, and settled on a backless dress. She was Tunisian or Moroccan, and well looked after. Her face, wide and overflowing with forehead, was a bit of a butchery, sure, but that long, tan back was enough for me, though God knows for what anymore.

‘By the way, did your sister get the job?’ Benno asked. I’d forgotten I’d told him about her interview last week.

‘Oh, yeah, she did.’

‘Wow. That’s great!’

‘It’s good, yeah.’

‘Tremendous! That’s terrific news.’ I was surprised that a Swiss person used such British adjectives, and surprised too, by how genuinely happy he seemed for my sister, who he had never met: much more enthused than I was. I’ve always felt dirty giving in to enthusiasm so entirely, but Benno rode that stallion proudly; then again, the sandwich seemed to fill him with otherworldly joy too.

He cleaned his plate, including the side, timing it to concur with his last sip of beer. ‘Superb,’ he said, raising two thumbs. ‘Very good indeed.’ Then immediately got the server’s attention.

‘I’ll have another,’ he told her when she arrived.

‘Another Guinness? Sure.’

‘No, another sandwich. Same one, but I’ll take an extra side of coleslaw this time.’

‘You want a whole nother sandwich?’

‘Yup – actually – let me get another beer too. You want something?’ he asked me.

‘No, I’m alright. Cup of coffee maybe.’

‘And a coffee,’ he told the server, then turned to me, smiling enormously. ‘If you don’t mind,’ he said, ‘I’ll wait and have my cappuccino after the meal.’

‘Sure.’

‘Boy, I’m already looking forward to it though.’

by E.M. Vireo

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About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

One Response to Drop #10: Another

  1. vworld26 says:

    Love this sentence” I’ve always felt dirty giving in to enthusiasm so entirely, but Benno rode that stallion proudly; then again, the sandwich seemed to fill him with otherworldly joy too.”

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