Pelican Brief

Pelican Brief

Published in: Dot Dot Dash 8 (Summer 2011)

Publisher: The dotdotdash Collective
(Western Australia)

ISBN: 1836-9308


The author's illusions of pelican benevolence are shattered, like an Escher mosaic taken up in the tender embrace of a wrecking ball.

Stimulus Response:

As the pelican incident so appositely shows, I rarely eat out for the food. In fact, none of my restaurant memories have anything to do with the cuisine on offer. Rather, the conversations come back to me; the laughter; the heightened propensity for mishap.

One of my favourite ever meals was served up courtesy of Zeus Ronin at the Golden Lake Chinese Restaurant back in October of 2000. Sitting with his back to the main area, Zeus embarked upon a relentless (albeit completely unintentional) mission to insult the waiters, waitresses, proprietors, and just about anyone who happened to be walking past. People misuse the word sublime, but this really was a most exquisite and prolonged demonstration of how to separate context from misinterpretable offence in the making. Avante!

(a) 'I tried snails once, didn't like them really. What? Oh, no, well, really I was forced to have it. I almost threw up, actually.'

(b) 'The powdery spice? No, I tried some before. I just really don't like it.'

(c) 'As a general rule I think ducks should stay in the water.'

(d) 'It's not their cooking, it's just the quality of the meat.'

(e) [In reference to a comment made by one of his fellow diners:] 'That sounded totally insincere.'

(f) [In reference to mud crabs:] 'They're just not very intelligent.'

(g) [In reference to the fact that he kept being overheard:] 'The bastards are setting me up!'

(h) [Having been unable to work chopsticks, having asked for a knife, and having received one while taking a sip of water:] [Rude silence and total lack of acknowledgement.]

Luckily for Zeus a couple more comments went unnoticed:

(a) 'I thought I saw an Australian chef in the kitchen. Perhaps they really can cook.'

(b) [In reference to his own attempts to co-ordinate fork and spoon in cutting up crispy duck:] [Insincerely:] 'Doesn't this look good?'

A truly outstanding innings of sustained unintentional rudeness, eclipsing the record set by Fat Bruce at The Colosseum Italian Cafe in 1999.

  - random selection from the unpublished memoire, Freefall