This story is in the first book created from this website, Mentally Incontinent. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, please consider picking up the book. It's chock full of stuff just like this.
Generally, my dining-out experiences are quite mundane and ordinary. My friends and I hop in a car, drive to the eatery of choice, dine and leave. Given the fact that I had to start this story with that particular sentence, one could pretty much surmise that this particular experience was not ordinary. Should one decide to surmise this, one would surmise correctly (sorry, I just learned that word today and had to use it).
I went to Outback Steak House this week with my wife and friends. Now, eating out in general isn't really all that important an event in my weekly routine. However, I get really excited over Outback. It is my absolute favorite chain-based restaurant, bar none. Where else can you get a gigantic hunk of meat, french fries topped with bacon and cheese, covered in ranch dressing, and a huge glass of super-sweetened iced tea? What other restaurant in this country has a salad containing more fat than a Big Mac with cheese? It's exciting stuff!
We arrived at the restaurant in a rather typical fashion. The typical pleasantries were exchanged with the hostess (who looked quite typical). We received the little vibratey-flashy-thing from her and proceeded to wait the typical 12 to 15 minutes for our table to be prepared. We sat in the waiting area in a typical fashion. So far, everything is very, very typical.
General conversation ensues and things are just plain fine for the next 12 to 15 minutes. Our little vibratey-flashy-thing starts flashing and vibrating, so we gave it to the hostess in exchange for a short blonde woman who leads us to our table – a nice big 12-top near the front entrance. We all sit; we all give our drink order. More general conversation takes place. Our waitress comes back with our drinks and we sip on them while giving our food order. Everyone orders their choice of hearty cuts of meat. My turn came and I ordered my absolute favorite dish at Outback – the rack of lamb, cooked medium, with extra cabernet sauce and mint jelly. Drool was oozing from my lips as I ordered it. I could just imagine the savory aroma and tender juciness.
About 15 agonizing minutes go by, during the course of which our drinks were refilled and even more general conversation took place. So far, this is so boring it’s mind-numbing. I seriously commend you for continuing to read this far.
Finally, Our food comes out. Each item is cooked to perfection, and everyone remarks how wonderful everything is. I focus on the lamb, which was prepared to my exact specifications. My stomach growled as I took a moment to savor the aroma eminating from this georgeous slab of goodness. Not wanting to rush, I drizzled cabernet sauce over the top of the rack very deliberately and evenly, then proceeded to place a carefully measured dollop of mint jelly on top of each shank. I sank my knife slowly between two sections of the rack, seperating a delicate, tender morsel from the bone. I place the bite into my mouth and savor the flavor - amazingly juicy, delicately tender and oh-so delicious. The blend of the cabernet sauce and the mint jelly with the tender juices of the lamb made for a spectacular flavor explosion. It was truly a party in my mouth.
It was also the last bite of that meal I would take that evening.
Just as I began to rave to my friends how absolutely heavenly my meal was, the front door of the restaurant swung open and in trotted 4 cows, all walking on their hind legs, covered in blood.
I couldn't tell you if it was the cheap felt adorning the cows or the plastic covering their hooves, but I could immediately tell that these weren’t REAL cows. Oh, no... These were people dressed as cows; each one splattered with a crimson paint which I assume was to represent blood. They all carried signs reading “Meat is Murder” and were chanting that exact phrase as they marched single file into the restaurant.
Truly, we were shocked, as it is not every day that one is party to a group of chanting cows picketing the Outback. The entire restaurant, completely silenced, focused in on these 4 very very very sad individuals. They all ceased their chanting and looked around a bit, their gigantic cow-heads turning almost independant of the heads upon which they rested. Once they were confident that they had the full attention of the crowd, one of the cows (the leader, I presume) spoke:
“Greetings, carnivores! You people should be ashamed of yourselves! Your dinner was once a living, breathing organism! How can you dine on the flesh of your fellow mammal this way?!?”
I’m not quite sure what they expected to come from that question, but no one answered. This angered the already peeved cow further.
“This is utterly despicable! It is gross that you would eat animals this way! We should live in harmony with the other life forms on this planet! Meat is Murder!”
Again the cows began chanting this phrase in a dulled shout, their voices muffled by the thin veil of fabric located in the neck of the cow costume which covered their faces. The entire restaurant, having overcome the initial shock of the talking cows, collectively murmured and generally scoffed at the statements that poor misguided girl made (well, it sounded like a girl… It had an udder. Who knows... The fact that this was even happening was enough to baffle me, I really didn’t need another conundrum plopped into my lap).
All of my friends were looking at me, expecting me to make something happen. I answered their silent questioning with a deafening “WHAT!?!” followed by a softer, yet stern “Why are you all looking at me? What am I supposed to do?”
Mike answered “I don’t know… It’s talking cows! I just expected you to do something.”
”Well, I don’t know what to do. I mean, like you said - It’s talking cows
, man! What exactly do you say to talking cows?" I took a sip of water, then continued, "Clearly, this situation is unstable enough as it is without me injecting myself directly into it.”
Apparently, fate disagreed. My loud exclamation of a query was sufficient to draw the attention of the bovine conspirators toward my table. I looked over at my right shoulder to find a felt-covered teat resting on my collarbone.
The lead cow spoke: “Sir! Surely you must have something to say! How do you defend your actions?”
How does one answer this question???
”I don’t really know that I can defend my actions, cow. I wasn’t aware that I was going to be called upon to do so this evening. Perhaps if you let me know in advance the next time that you and your friends plan to dress as cows and invade a restaurant I will be dining at, I can be better prepared.”
She looked up and back at her cow friends, swinging the gigantic foam cow-head back and forth.
”Ahh, a smart-alec! Guys, we have a comedian here! Well, mister funny animal murderer, we have no need for your sarcasm!”
Having never experienced anything quite this surreal before, I just plain didn’t know how to react to this situation. Given that these were 4 people dressed as humongous cows yelling as they marched through a restaurant, I knew that tact was right out, so I just said what I was thinking.
”Well, maybe not, but you have a severe
need for psychiatric evaluation.”
Perhaps this was the wrong answer.
She launched into a tirade: “NO! It is YOU who needs your head examined! Did you know that the steak you are eating is actually poisonous to your system? Hmm?”
”It’s, um... It's lamb.”
She reached her hoof out and seized the rack of lamb from my plate.
“IT DOESN'T MATTER! Beef, Lamb, whatever! Red meat does not get digested by the body the way vegetable matter does! It sits in your stomach for days, spoiling from the heat of your body before it is broken down!”
Before me stood a very volitile cow with a hunk of lamb in its vinyl-gloved hoof, cabernet sauce and mint jelly dribbling down it’s arm - er… leg, holding my dinner up as an example for the rest of the restaurant to see. Addressing the rest of the room she shouted, ”Do you see this?? This is POISON to your system! It is not good for you! So why eat it??? Why slaughter this poor animal so that you can be poisoned by it’s flesh?”
Mike spoke up: “Well... Because it’s DAMN tasty.”
The cow-woman whipped her head round, spinning the foam cow-head just a little too far to the left. She bungled around a bit as she adjusted her head back to forward, smearing lamb and sauce all over it in the process.
”Tasty?!? It tastes good, that’s why you eat it? What if I told you that urine tastes good? Would you drink that?”
“Wow, you know how urine tastes?” Mike asked.
A bit taken, the cow responed, “No! God, of course not! I was just saying –“
”Then why would you say urine tastes good?" Mike continued. "Are you some kind of a freaky girl? Do You drink pee-pee??”
”No, you jerk!" She lashed out. "I was just proving a point –“
”AAAAH, whatever," Mike interjected. "Just shut up! No one's going to listen to you! You drink pee, you dumb cow!”
Mike has such
a way with words.
The cow became frustrated. “No, YOU shut up, you infantile –“
I had to break in. “Infantile? You are calling HIM infantile? You are dressed as a cow, running around a steakhouse carrying a hunk of lamb in your hoof, woman! I don’t really think that you have a right to accuse him of acting like a child. I honestly think you guys need a psychiatric consultation. I know a GREAT doctor, he’s worked wonders for me…”
“Shut up!” She said in a way that implied that she really thought I would. Of course, I didn't.
”Seriously, you are crazy. You need help.”
“You have no right to speak to me that way, you bastard! You don't even KNOW me!”
Mike took the hand-off. “You are holding his dinner up in the air. I think he has a right to talk to you just about any way he wants, you fucking cow.”
The cow swung her head back toward Mike, causing it to spin too far once again. As she corrected its position, she commanded, “Don’t call me a cow, you JERK!”
”You have spots and an udder. What else would he call you??” I asked.
Before she could reply, Mike decided to try a different tact. In an attempt to reason with the incensed bovine, he offered, ”Look, you guys are clearly not winning any support here. Why don’t you just gather what little dignity you may have left and take off?”
She stuttered and stammered a bit, not sure what to say next. The other 3 cows just stood there in silence, holding their “Meat Is Murder” signs slightly in front of them. Looks were exchanged throughout the herd, each one waiting for something to happen. The rest of the restaurant had slowly but surely returned to their dining, occasionally checking out the events as they unfolded at our table.
Finally, the lead cow returned to forming complete words and stringing them together into thoughts. “NO! We are not leaving! We aren’t the bad guys here YOU are, you... you CANNIBAL!"
"Cannibal?" Mike asked.
She ignored him, continuing. "You are the ones perpetuating the slaughter of innocent animals, and for what? HMM?”
"Wait a moment - CANNIBAL??" Mike asked again.
I knew that his line of inquiry wouldn't really go anywhere, so I decided to go for the kill. “Mike told you earlier. They taste good.”
This really lit her fuse. “GRRRRRRRR! ONH MY GOD! You are so... so IGNORANT! Why don’t you see the error of your ways??”
”Cow," I answered, "The only error that I have made tonight has been refraining from lighting you on fire and pushing you out the door. Why don’t you put down the lamb and just go home?”
The cow began jumping up and down madly, flopping her oversized cow-head to and fro as she screamed at the top of her lungs. The once succulent but now incredibly messy juices from the lamb meat in her right hoof were flying all over the place, splattering on the table and our clothing. The entire time, she was yelling the most insane cadence of anti-meat statements, each in time with her jumping. I was afraid that our friend the cow was going to shake her head completely off. Before I could stop her, however, the manager FINALLY made his way over to the table to help diffuse the situation.
“Excuse - EXCUSE ME," he said sternly to the excited bovine who was ignoring him. "LOOK HERE! I have called the police, and they should be here any minute. I must demand that you leave this restaurant IMMEDIATELY!”
”We are exercising our right to peaceful protest!" The cow responded. "We don’t have to leave! It's our First Amendment right to -”
”Yes, you DO have to leave! RIGHT NOW! Get OUT of here!”
“We AREN’T Leaving, right guys???”
She turned to her left, and turned to her right. Alas, there were no other bovines in sight. (Yeah, I thought it was clever too.)
Her companions made the most tactful exit they could the moment she started throwing her tantrum. Alone and without recourse, the irate and angry cow slumped a little and decided that discretion was the better part of valor (well, as much discretion as one can exercise when dressed as a cow and covered in red paint), making her way out of the restaurant.
The restaurant erupted into raucous applause.
Everyone except me, as I was occupied with mourning the loss of my precious lamb, which lay in a heap on the table beside my plate. It wasn't the fact that it was mangled beyond belief that kept me from eating it... It was the thought of where the cow's hooves had been. I was nearly to the point of breaking down and crying when the manager returned to wax apologetic about his late response.
“I am SO sorry this happened to you folks!”
I tried to reassure him, ”Oh, it’s not your fault -“
“No, really... I had no idea this was going on. I was in my office on a phone call when one of my employees came in and told me what that some cows had entered the building and were protesting, screaming about how meat is murder and other such nonsense! I simply cannot apologize enough!”
”No, really, it’s ok," Mike said. "It’s not like you dressed up like a cow and drizzled meat-juice on us.”
He chuckled nervously in response, pleased that we weren't ready to lynch him. I felt so bad for this poor guy... Here he was, running a respectable establishment – my favorite, in fact – and he now has to make apologies for goofy retards who have decided that their station in life is to dress as hooved mammals and annoy customers at a restaurant, making sure that everyone in the immediate vacinity knew that they not only had an opinion, but a dire need for people to hear about it. Being a generally decent person, He offered to comp all of our meals, but we all immediately dismissed that idea.
“Well, you shouldn’t have to pay for that lamb," he said, pointing to the wreckage that was once my dinner. "I will definitely take that off.”
”No, sir," I responded, "It really is okay. Seriously, this was totally not your fault. Just make me a promise.”
”Anything, sir. What can I do for you?”
”If they ever come back, throw them on the grill and serve them to the customers.”
He did end up taking the lamb off of our bill. He also went so far as to have another rack of lamb sent out for me. It was almost twice the size of the original.
And it was DAMN tasty.
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