Sunday, 6 December 2009

Lunchtime Dilemma-Part 2

"Pass the salt please."
Tim swore he could never have understood that Ohrft was acually referring to salt but his gesticulation rather than his words did the job. Nice one, he thought, that's a new rule he must add to the growing list. He wished there was a rule to help him pronounce the weird and often cumbersome names he has been encountering recently. Not that he had not thought of making a new law, he actually was in the final stage of perfecting the testing of it before filing it as a law. Mouth it first until you feel every syllable of it, that was going to be the name-pronoucing law. Until he met Ohrft. He had known immediately it was going to be impossible to pronounce such alien name with his thickened African tongue. Faced with such name it wasn't too hard for him to discard the golden rule. Perhaps he should list the name as an exception, that's a thought for another day. Now he needs to embrace the immediate challenge, the rainbow on his plate.
A casual glance around and he knew he had another exception for one other law. If he's concerned with watching first before eating he'd end up throwing up. Only diseased stool in his home country is permitted to look so pathetic.
"So, Tom..."
"Tim, please" He quickly corrected the alien before he too was a weird name. Who knows how it had started with Ohrft, maybe it was a human name that became so badly mutated. "As in Timothy."
"O asso! I now understand." No one else was talking so it became easy for all eyes to engage on Mr Alien as he cleared his throat to speak.
"So Tim, what's your country like?" He asked. Tim felt like he had been called to draw comparisons against Germany. His first impulse was to start extolling the beautiful foods that different ethnic groups had to offer. But he quickly decided against that, he would only appear like a preacher of a strange concept equipped with a strange language. Or how could they possibly understand what a yam is, or what foofoo is? And eba, and amala, and egusi...Tim smiled to himself, when the list got to amala. Amala. He smiled again. All eyes were on him now.
"Well, we sure have got a splendid climate," What he didn't say was how milllions would be willing to give up its splendidness on the platter of nothing "alternating rainy and dry seasons. The Sun is always out." He could almost feel them fantasize about the Sun part. Who wouldn't with the consistently grey cloud and freezing draft.
Comments passed around the table mostly in curious combiination of English and Deustch, with some French flavour now and then. They were all pleased with the knowledge that there some part of the globe with clear blue sky. Just the same way he too had longed for the cold climes while still in Nigeria. The talk soon drifted to another topic and another topic and then another. Everyone was smiling, he too was smiling quite forgetting the misery he was going through. Then noticed Lee look casually at him almost with a question plastered on his gentle face. What?, he thought to himself. Just then he discovered why, an ugly scowl attended every swallow that he took. Shit! That's not good, he shouldn't let them know what he's passing through eating this plate temptation. For the first time he is entire life he understood that eating could actually be a punishment, and in his case self-inflicted.
Then his stomach rumbled. "I'm now in deep shit." He looked around. "I didn't just say that, did I?" The look of amusement in the faces looking at him confirmed his fear. His stomach's throaty murmur has now been replaced with several serious of dragging hiss.
"Are you okay?" Claire looked concerned He was relieved none had heard the tirade from his bowel. "Yes I am, it's just some ugly incident that I just remembered" He lied. He quicky surveyed the cavernous dining wishing some strange genious had instructed the architect to build a toilet, a fat toilet in aseptic looking dining. I am not okay, now I am not. He tried to quickly shovel in the remaining so as to be able to excuse himself.
"I am in trouble, huge fat trouble!" Everone around the table burst out with laughter and of course except Tim who tried hard to replace the depressing scowl on his face with a smile. His face partitioned into two, the forehead and the jaws were trying to frown while the lips were told to smile. It was an order from above.
"It must have been an interesting recollection." Claire said as she reclined back of the flimsy chair. "You mind sharing it...with us?" They all readjusted their sitting position waiting for a feast of laughters.
He felt like crying. There's no story guys, can't you see I'm suffering here! But he mustn't say that. He started racking his brain for a good joke as his stomach continued with its accusations which gratefully were low-keyed.

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