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Zaph
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xx Sauce On Rice
« Thread started on: Apr 9th, 2008, 9:53pm »

Sauce on Rice

by Zaph


The group of friends decided to go to lunch. After much discussion, they selected a Japanese restaurant as the venue for their outing. Even though he was fond of Japanese cuisine, everyone but Zaph had been to this particular establishment. They loaded into the car and headed for the restaurant.

Zaph asked Charlotte, who was sitting next to him, “How is the food there?”

“It’s very good. Just be sure to ask for sauce on rice.”

“They put sauce on the rice? On the white rice?” asked Zaph.

“Yes. It’s very good sauce. Make sure you ask for it when you order your food.”

“Okay,” said Zaph.

“They get mad if you ask for the sauce after you order,” said Paul from the front seat.

“They do?”

“Yeah. Make sure you say, ‘Sauce on rice’ when you order. That way, you’ll get the sauce,” said Paul.

“You have to ask for the sauce when you order,” said Wendy as she weaved swiftly through traffic, her eyes on the rear view mirror.

“Yeah, Charlotte told me that.”

“They get sort of mad if you ask for the sauce after you’ve already ordered your food,” reminded Paul.

“Thanks. I think you already told me that too.”

“I just don’t want you to miss out on the sauce,” said Paul helpfully.

“Thanks, I appreciate it,” said Zaph.

“The sauce is very good,” said Charlotte. “It really adds to the meal.”

“I’ll be sure to ask for it when I order,” said Zaph.

“Just say, ‘Sauce on rice,’” said Wendy, expertly changing lanes.

“Okay, guys, I get it. I have to say ‘Sauce on rice’ when I order. I think I understand that part. Is there anything else?” asked Zaph.

“No. Just say ‘sauce on rice’ and you’ll be okay,” said Paul.

“Okay. I’ll remember that.”

“The sauce is very good,” said Charlotte.

“I can hardly wait,” said Zaph.

“We’re here!” said Wendy, screeching to a halt in the restaurant parking lot.

Car doors swung open and everyone piled out. The restaurant was a small tan building with Japanese lettering on its plate glass window. They walked quickly toward the entrance. Paul held the door open for Charlotte, Wendy and Zaph. As Zaph passed him, Paul said, “Don’t forget to ask for sauce on rice.”

***


The restaurant's interior was small and cozy, but had plenty of tables for its clientele. A couple of people were ahead of them in line, ordering off a menu that was posted on the wall above the counter. That gave Zaph a chance to look around.

He noticed that it seemed to be a family operation. An older Asian woman was cooking, an equally old Asian man was taking orders, and a younger man, possibly a son or nephew, was assembling and serving up the ordered dishes. Except for taking orders in slightly broken English, they were all speaking to each other in loud, rapid Japanese; it was more like shouting, actually. They all did their jobs well and it was an efficient set up, but to Zaph they seemed a little agitated because of the yelling. I guess it works for them, he thought; must be a cultural thing.

As he approached the counter, Zaph noticed some signs tacked onto the wall near the cash register. One sign read, “Order sauce when ordering food. NO SAUCE AFTER ORDER.” The other sign said, “Order extra sauce when ordering. Extra sauce $1.00.” Boy, they sure seem to take their sauce seriously, thought Zaph.

“Do we need to order extra sauce?” Zaph asked Charlotte after reading the signs.

“No. They give you quite a bit,” she said.

“Okay,” said Zaph.

“What are you having?” asked Charlotte.

“Tempura,” said Zaph.

“I love their teriyaki chicken,” said Wendy.

“The rice bowl is good,” said Paul. “They put a lot of sauce on it,” he added.

***


Zaph approached the counter to order. The older Asian man asked loudly, “What you like?”

“Tempura lunch, please,” said Zaph. He then added for all to hear, “Sauce on rice.” The Asian man nodded and wrote something on the order slip. The friends looked approvingly at Zaph, who smiled back at them.

“Something to drink?” asked the counterman.

“Coke, please,” replied Zaph. The friends went to find a table.

“How is the service here?” asked Zaph.

“They’re pretty fast,” said Paul.

“We never have to wait,” said Wendy.

“What’s your number?” asked Charlotte.

“17,” said Zaph.

“Mine is 15,” said Wendy.

“14,” said Charlotte.

“I have 16,” said Paul.

A garbled voice came across on a speaker system.

“What did he say?” asked Zaph.

“I think it was ‘13,’” said Wendy. They all heard another garbled number being announced.

“I think that was our order,” said Paul, rising from his chair and heading for the counter.

He returned with a tray that held his, Wendy’s, and Charlotte’s lunches.

“I guess the tempura takes a little longer,” said Zaph.

Another unintelligible number was called.

“Maybe that was my number. I think I’ll go check on it,” said Zaph.

***


Zaph approached the counter with the order slip in his hand. “Did you call number 17?” he asked the counterman.

“NO! Not ready yet!” said the man. “Okay,” said Zaph. Sorry I asked, he thought, turning to go back to the table.

“NO! You wait! Food almost ready!” said the man.

Zaph stopped and waited. Suddenly, a tray with food appeared on the counter.

“Number 17!” the man shouted clearly into a microphone. Zaph stepped up to the counter and looked at his lunch.

The steaming rice gleamed whitely without a drop of sauce on it.

This demanded action. Zaph looked straight at the man thinking “what the hell” and yelled, “HEY! I SAID ‘SAUCE ON RICE!’”

The man’s head snapped up, eyes bulging! In a flash he turned and yelled something at the old Asian woman; she turned and yelled something at the younger man who looked at the lunch order slip. Then they all began yelling at each other accusingly in staccato Japanese. Zaph smiled.

In a moment his lunch appeared once again on the counter. The rice was now covered in a rich, brown sauce.

“Thank you,” Zaph said to the man, taking his lunch and returning to his table. As he approached his friends he noticed they were staring at him with strange looks on their faces. Zaph sat down.

***


“I cannot believe you did that,” said Charlotte.

“Why did you yell at them like that?” asked Wendy.

“I thought they were gonna throw you out,” said Paul.

“I figured yelling was part of the charming ambience of this establishment,” said Zaph. “Besides, they forgot to put the sauce on rice.”

“The sauce is very good,” said Charlotte.

THE END
« Last Edit: Jul 5th, 2009, 8:19pm by Zaph » User IP Logged

~Unanticipated failure of Mentaglian Drive has caused us to abandon our vessel in a fluid mass~
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