The Book of Refreshments


Chapter 9 – An Epistle to the Lunch Crowd

Being a collection of the tales told by Ethelred the Cheeseless to those who tended to gather near him at lunch time for the simple reason that he was often willing to pick up the tab.

Verses 1 through 18

1. Ethelred had made a sandwich for lunch and had brought it in a bag of brown paper to his place of work, and at the midday break he did take the bag to the dining area in order to eat with his friends.

2. At the table he greeted Twill the Violent, Tok the Rhymer, Quad of the Blue Mountains, and Tim the Unintelligible.

3. And they greeted him with much cheer for they had just ordered a grand lunch that would cost a great many ducats.

4. They did then start to eat, and Twill did dine on fried phesant eggs and caviar, and Tok did have a large bowl of noodles with sesame oil and little bits of this and that, and Quad did eat a Yak, and what was eaten by Tim remains unknown but it smelled really strange, but Ethelred did only have his sandwich, which he would wash down with a glass of raspberry flavored beer.

5. Into his sandwich Ethelred did bite, and a smile did cross his face, and he did chew and did swallow, and he did give out a contented sigh which was ignored by his friends.

6. Ethelred did then loudly praise his sandwich and remark upon what good use he had made of the horseradish, and his friends instructed him to shut up.

7. And Ethelred then said, “This sandwich reminds me of a story,” and his friends did groan and pelt him with dinner rolls.

8. But Ethelred was oblivious to their pain, or perhaps he just didn’t care, for he then spake: “There was once an underemployed brickmaker called Weeble, and being underemployed he was often rather hungry.”

9. One afternoon, Weeble was passing through the marketplace and he happened to go by the stall of an overeager sandwich merchant.

10. The Maker of Sandwiches knew well a potential customer when he saw one, and could tell that Weeble could make use of a good many sandwiches, so he held up the sandwich he had just finished making and said, “Hey buddy! You should try this. C’mon, you know you’d love a good triple-decker.”

11. And Weeble did examine the sandwich proffered by the purveyor and did salivate quite profusely, but he was woefully short of funds and could not afford the price.

12. The Maker of Sandwiches however noticed Weeble’s hesitance and, knowing of the recent economic downturn, knew wherein lay the problem.

13. He said, “Hey, if you’re short on dosh don’t sweat it. You can pay me later.”

14. Weeble was joyous and accepted the proffered sandwich, and did eat it with great vigor, savoring the mixed flavors of the cheeses, and the tomatoes, and the lettuce, and the black olives, and the banana peppers, and the mayonnaise, and the onions, and the pickles, and the jalapenos, and the thinly sliced roast meats.

15. He thanked the Maker of Sandwiches profusely and then he did go about the town for days on end praising the skills of the Maker of Sandwiches to all those that could not get away fast enough.

16. After a short time of hearing Weeble’s incessant praising, his acquaintances did grow weary, and finally agreed to stop in at the sandwich shop and see for themselves.

17. And the Maker of Sandwiches was stunned to find that his business had increased twenty fold, so that he was always running out of seeded sandwich rolls on the weekends.

18. Thus did Ethelred finish his story, only to find that his companions had gone off to the bathroom, each in their own turn, and none of them had returned.

Verses 19 through 35

19. In time did Ethelred meet with his friends at the Soup and Salad Bar, for it was Tuesday and one could fill the bowl many times for one low price.

20. There they did make many trips, and Tok did partake of sunflower seeds, bean sprouts, chick peas, and all things that weren’t lettuce, and Quad did defeat the sneeze guard and eat all the bacon bits, and Tim did grumble many times that the chowder had tomatoes in it.

21. Then did Ethelred say “I like chowder with tomatoes in it”, and his friends decried his tastes.

22. With his spoon, Ethelred did loudly slurp the chowder with tomatoes, and did make an “Ahh!” sound to show great satisfaction.

23. Ethelred did then praise the chowder with tomatoes and remark upon the freshness of the small bits of seafood contained therein.

24. And Twill did falsely claim to have done something unsanitary to Ethelred’s soup.

25. Then did Ethelred say, “This soup reminds me of a story,” and his friends threatened to anoint him with a garlic vinaigrette.

26. But Ethelred’s skull was as stone to their taunts, or maybe wood, and he did begin his story anyway saying, “In the Land of Spork there were two brothers, Harry and Walter, who were both apprenticed to the same master.”

27. One day their master decided to test them, and he said to each one, “Make for me the best soup that you can, and the one whose soup I like the best will be promoted from the ranks of apprentice.”

28. Not wishing to be outdone by his brother, Harry slinked off to his master’s ancient recipe books and copied a recipe for clam chowder that had been marked in red and took it off to his corner of the great kitchen to work.

29. But Walter has seen Harry consulting the ancient books and said to himself, “If that rat is going to cheat then there’s no way I can win unless I cheat too!”

30. Therefor Walter also made his way to his master’s books with great stealth, and copied a different recipe for clam chowder which had also been marked in red.

31. At supper time when both apprentices were finished cooking, they presented their work to the master and awaited his judgement.

32. The master examined the soups and commented that one was cream based and the other was tomato based, and each apprentice felt that he had stolen the winning recipe.

33. Then the master carefully sampled each one, and then fell to the floor and frothed at the mouth, for he was deathly allergic to shellfish.

34. At this point in the story did Ethelred pause in order to allow his friends time to return from their latest trip to the salad bar.

35. And Ethelred did wait an awfully long time.

Verse 46

46. Ghirkus Asceticus did bite into the preserved vegetable, and while he was greatly pleased with the nice crispy texture and the bright happy greenness and the fine aroma imparted by the sprig of dill, he was still heard to say “Woah man! Way too much garlic.”