Their small beady eyes never moved. Their piercing gaze was locked on me. There was never any doubt that I would be the one to blink first. I would soon turn away but it was quite clear that those two black rats would continue to leer at me from behind the potted plant.
The lobby of the Mexican restaurant was decorated for Halloween. Orange and black streamers, miniature pumpkins and witch shaped wall decorations surrounded me. I sat in the worn leather chair waiting for my rice and beans to go.
The manager hurried through the lobby with a tray of drinks perched above his shoulder. He politely smiled at me and quickly muttered, “¡ Hola! ¿Cómo está hoy?”
“I am doing just fine”, I immediately responded in English. The quick moving manager was almost out of the lobby when he abruptly stopped and backed up. He cocked his head to the side and had an uncertain look on his face.
“Do you speak Spanish?” he questioned me in English.
I paused longer than would be expected as I tried to decide whether or not I did speak Spanish. The manager chuckled at my indecision and then rushed out of the lobby again with his tray held high.
I resumed relaxing in the shabby chair and waited for my rice and beans. I used the time to try and compose the sentence in Spanish, “Hey buddy, those black rats behind that plant are a pretty darn creepy Halloween decoration. Those rats don’t make me think happy thoughts about your restaurant.”
I went up to the cash register when my food arrived. I made polite chit chat, paid my money and took my hot bag of food. As I turned to walk out the door I glanced back at the potted plant. I was going to give a ceremonial wave goodbye to those beady black eyes.
Except, those two rats were gone. There were no beady eyes staring back at me. That potted plant sat all alone.
I rushed out the door a little bit perplexed and a little bit creeped out. And I wondered to myself how I would say in Spanish, “Next time I’m going to Subway.”
Check This Out!The Spice of the Month here at Slightly Exaggerated is smoked paprika. I find myself throwing a few shakes into more and more dishes recently. Canola oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, tons of cumin, a shake or two of chili powder, a squirt of lime juice and a generous shake of smoked paprika make a super great dressing. To make it a bit creamier I dolloped in a bit of Vegenaise (vegan mayo for the vegan teenage boy in our house) but you could use sour cream or real mayo. Throw it all in canning jar and shake it up. Pour it over a mexican salad or pasta or rice. It's awesome!