You find yourself lost on a desolate expanse of the nodegel. You had feared that you had taken a wrong turn off the Alesbury Pike and your anxiety deepened as your GPS lost your position. That was at least twenty miles ago.
Now you do not even recognize the landscape as that of New England. As your odometer clicks by the trees shrink from the side of the road and the vegetation grows dry and scrubby. Farms disappear and the few structures in the distance seem tumbledown and deserted.
Finally, up ahead you see what appears to be a small diner. Hope fills your chest and turns into relief as you turn into the gravel drive and find several autos in the parking lot. It is indeed what seems to be a functioning, vintage, chrome-sided diner with red trim and a neon sign that reads,
Welcome to The Everything Diner
Eclectic, Unconventional, and Unorthodox Cuisine
A few patrons within are seated on stools at the counter and several more in small booths behind the green tinted glass windows. You park and step out of your vehicle and walk up to the door which reads, "Open 24/7." A yellowed note taped below that says, "Do NOT feed Hostess products to the hamsters." Curious. You open the door and walk in.
You had only hoped to use the restroom and to ask directions back to the main highway, but before you are able to make your inquiry you find that the patrons of the establishment are amusedly absorbed in what appears to be an increasingly heated discussion between the two chefs behind the counter.
From what you can surmise, the first chef appears flummoxed and offended by something which has recently transpired. You grasp that she is attempting to defend and uphold the integrity of the proper traditional preparation of some favorite regional cuisine.
The second chef, gesturing wildly and yelling in a broken French accent, argues that cuisine is only defined by the whims of its creator. Or that is what you are able to gather between 'avocados', 'watermelons' and'crabcakes.'
As the argument escalates, skillets, chef's knifes and raspberries start to fly about the kitchen. You decide that it may just be best to quietly leave. But as you turn back for and open the door, you are momentarily distracted by...is that a My Little Pony figure prominently displayed above the stove?
The door suddenly slams shut, yanking the handle from your hand. A plate of deep fried crunchy seafood-smelling things is shoved right under your nose,
"OH, my God! Yoohavegotta TRY oneuvthese THINGS! They are SO good, I just figgureditout!"
You are instantly repulsed by the 30-ish man who, you conclude must be the bus boy, who has thrust these, these, you have no idea what these things are, into your face.
"NO! Uh, no thank you. I just need to know how to get back to the main highway."
The bus boy abruptly cuts you off with a hearty smack on the back and then corals you with his arm around your shoulder into the nearest vacant booth,
"Nonsense! Nonsense! You must be famished, just look at you! We cannot have you leaving here to go off out THERE, into the GREAT UNKNOWN, on an empty stomach! You look THIS over and I'll go get you...what? Coffee? Beer? Both?"
Despairing a bit, you realize that you might as well order something and you look down at the menu that has just been thrust into your hands: