Friday, February 14, 2014

Buzz Lunch

You hits it, you eats it.

I think it's the cabbage. What else would explain all those flies at a vegetarian restaurant?

Of course it could be me. I go and flies follow. Everywhere I am, they are too. It may be ordained by heaven.

Or it may not — it could be that I stink. But I think that it's the cabbage. And if not, then it's because I stink.

But if it is my stink, then that stink precedes me, and arrives before I do in locations that I hadn't planned on visiting.

Mystery.

But definitely, there is one place that I notice flies, and that is at the Salutary Relationship Chop House of Good Eats. It is marginally a chifa house.

Chifa is Chinese cooking using local ingredients. The U.S. version is chop suey, but in Peru it's huge. In Peru and Ecuador it's called chifa.

The Salutary Relationship Chop House of Good Eats isn't quite that. Not that close to chop suey. Not all that close to anything.

For the typical cafeteria-style almuerzo (lunch) there, you'll find four mostly-raw options of mixed salad-like vegetables, plus two deep fried items, and then two stews, all meatless, but often containing varieties of soy concoctions wearing meat-like disguises. You get to pick four of the eight selections offered, and the whole deal comes with rice, a bowl of soup, and a glass of juice.

And flies.

I think it's the cabbage. Cabbage has two prominent qualities.

  • It has a pungent odor not readily apparent to all humans, but there, and pungent.
  • It contains a lot of sulfur. This makes flies think it's poo.

One way to deal with flies is to spray bug killer indiscriminately. Or hang flypaper. (By a wide margin though, diners prefer eating poison to sitting beneath flypaper.)

A third way to defeat flies is by installing window-and-door screening, and then keeping those windows and doors shut.

The Salutary Relationship Chop House of Good Eats has another way — rubber bands.

These are used by Feng (pronounced Fung). Let's call him that, whatever his name is. He runs the cash register. And hunts flies when it's a slow day.

And the way Fung does it is the way you or I would do it — loop the rubber band around the tip of your off hand's thumb, point at your target, and use your other hand to cock the weapon and fire.

Except that not so many of us would do this in view of customers in the dining area of any eatery, be it Ed's House of Slop or Delmonico's.

Fung's prey of choice flits anywhere and everywhere — ceiling, tables, chairs, walls, and he shoots with deadly care. Whether he takes out any of those nasty buzzing disease balls is a matter of speculation, since I cannot personally confirm any hits, and do not actually know the effect of a rubber band strike on the diminutive but sturdy exoskeleton of Musca domestica. This may require more deliberate study.

Nor did I see Fung recover anything other than spent rubber bands, though it is possible that his den is chock full of fly heads delicately mounted, moose-like, on tiny plaques, out back.

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