A Complete and Ignominious V-day Catastrophe
“I’m honestly surprised that you asked me out to dinner again, after last year’s fiasco,” said Jhudora casually as she reclined in a puffy cloud armchair in the most elegant of Faerieland’s restaurants. She sucked an olive off of a toothpick and smiled wickedly at a rather happy memory of Sloth with a piece of thyme stuck in his teeth.
“That wasn’t a fiasco,” answered her interlocutor, green-skinned, red-eyed, caped, and evil as always.
“It wasn’t? Then what was it?”
“A catastrophe of such proportions that it altered the frequencies of the universe.”
“...why thank you, Sloth. That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”
“Any time. And if you try to poison my drink again, I’m going to impale you with that toothpick.”
It is a generally accepted fact that when two villainously-inclined clients make their way to your restaurant, you ought to call the authorities, or at least evacuate the premises with little hesitation and great haste.
Not so at Chez Faellie, where the food was expensive, the drinks mysterious and pretentiously-named, the wait staff snootier than a herd of Royal Unis on coronation day, and the décor actually beyond price.
“If we call anyone for help, this place is going to be swarming with every kind of faerie possible, there’s going to be some huge fight, and someone is going to spill caviar on the pink cumulus rug. Which would be, I am sure we can all agree, tragic beyond expression.”
The pompous head waiter glared severely at his staff of waiters and waitresses after making this declaration. The effect was doubly impressive in that he was a Quiggle with such buggy eyes that he was staring at the busboy on his far left and the chef on his far right at the same time.
“Jhudora and Sloth are sitting in the dining room as we speak. We are going to serve them as we do all of our customers: with the highest standards of politeness, discretion, tact, and efficiency. Chez Faellie serves the cream of the crop, the best of the best, the VIPs of VIPs -- even if they are VIPs of the forces of evil. We serve them their food, they leave, they plot a joint takeover of Neopia, but that’s not our concern, as long as the pink rug remains pink, the Thyora’s Tear chandeliers unbroken, and the Attack Pea marquees intact. Any questions?”
“You think they’ll leave us a tip?”
“Yes, if you consider keeping your head attached to your shoulders a tip. I hear Jhudora is quick with her cutlery, you want to keep a good three feet away from her dessert spoon.”
“So, Chez Faellie’s, hm? Pretty swank for a broke criminal mastermind,” remarked Jhudora conversationally over her Transparaberry Cocktail.
“Yeah, pretty swank. Not that it matters. I’m not planning on paying,” answered Sloth, just as carelessly as though he had just made some completely uninteresting remark about the weather, as opposed to declaring his intention to rob the place.
“Nice. That’ll show them for selling such overpriced raisin bagels.”
“Oh,” clarified Sloth. “That’s not what I meant when I said I wasn’t paying.”
“I meant you’re paying,” said Sloth, and he favoured Jhudora with a wide smirk.
Jhudora grasped her fork in a manner that was extremely aggressive and viciously speared an innocent olive with it.
“Hm. Tell me, do you like your eyeballs?”
“I am quite attached to them, thank you.”
“Glad to hear it,” said Jhudora. She stared pensively at the olive on the end of her fork. Sloth followed her gaze and understood very clearly what Jhudora’s intimations were; that is, that if he displeased her further then the next victim of her fork might be his left pupil.
“So anyway, stupid suggestions of yours aside, how are you?”
“I’m fine. But I really can’t pay.”
“Forgot my wallet.”
“Tell me you’re joking.”
“I’m not. Why?”
“I forgot mine too.”
Back in the kitchens, the wait staff was more anxious than a flock of paranoid Palmplats being pursued by rogue houseplants. Which is to say, extremely.
“They haven’t even looked at the menu yet,” quivered a Zafara waitress. “And I think they’re having a fight about something.”
“Did you see how she speared that olive? I have never felt more sorry for an inanimate object in my life.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t offer them the black vine soup, in case they decide to dump their bowls on each others’ heads. That would completely ruin the wormobea-silk heirloom tablecloth that took those Shenkuu weavers twelve generations to make.”
“Let’s not lose our heads!” shouted the Quiggle head waiter over the hysteric hubbub. His name was, incidentally, Mr. Quigglesworth, to keep matters simple. “We’ll let them order their dinner and hope that they act like adults. There has been no indication of violence thus far.”
Mr. Quigglesworth’s calm helped to quiet the fluttering hearts and minds of his devoted staff.
“Does anyone have anything to add, before I go out there and take their orders?” he enquired.
“What is it?”
“We should hold a moment of silence for the olive.”
Jhudora perused the frilly pink menu in front of her.
“Huh,” she commented rather mysteriously.
“What is it?” asked Sloth.
“I was looking for typos, but I couldn’t find any.”
“Huh!” replied Sloth after staring at his menu, neatly reiterating Jhudora’s cryptic sentiment. “That is pretty impressive.”
Silence fell upon the table as both Jhudora and Sloth scoured the menu in search of incorrect subject-verb agreements.
“Some kind of giant nerd must have written this menu,” concluded Jhudora with the kindness and generosity of spirit so typical of her character. “Probably had it read over by that doofus of a Library Faerie.”
“Hey, be nice. I like her specs.”
“Specs? Please, those aren’t specs, they’re viewing ports she stole from some Kreludan spacecraft.”
“I think you’re jealous of her because she’s intelligent, kind, and very attractive in that bookish sort of way.”
“As opposed to?”
“A natural purplette with zero empathy, profound psychological issues, and the ability to go from zero to homicidal berzerker rage in less than five seconds.”
“Can you even count to five, thyme-boy?”
“I can count to eight bajillion. And I can recite Pi to a thousand places.”
“I never remember why I keep agreeing to go to dinner with you.”
“It must be my rugged charm and good looks.”
“Yeah. And you have a great personality.”
“Alright,” said Mr. Quigglesworth, “I am going to go take their orders. Three chefs on the stoves, two on seafood, one on dessert in case they decide to go for the chocolate mousse flambé, and the busboy on the fire extinguisher. We are good to go.”
Mr. Quigglesworth paused to make sure that his bow tie was on straight and he didn’t have toilet paper stuck to his foot, and then exited the kitchens at a very dignified pace.
“Look, Jhudora!” exclaimed Sloth as he perused the menu, intent on finding something that didn’t sound bizarre and repulsive, such as Slorg Patties. “There’s an item named after you.”
“Oh really? What?”
“Jhudora’s Large and Hollow Meathead. I mean, Meatballs.”
Jhudora’s eyes narrowed dangerously.
“Drizzled with bitter Chia Wort sauce.”
“Ahemahem!” coughed Mr. Quigglesworth from a polite distance. He addressed himself to Jhudora with a polite, “ladies first!”
“My lady. May I help you with your odour?”
“... my odour?”
“Excuse me. Slip of the tongue. Order.” Mr. Quigglesworth looked as though he wanted to eat his bow tie in mortification.
Sloth snorted with laughter for the first time in a billion years. “Yes. We would like to order some basic hygiene products for the lady.”
Jhudora smiled blandly into space. “I am surrounded by cretins.”
“I apologize for the misunderstanding, my lady. My fault entirely. Prone to mistakes like that. Very sorry. Your order. May I help you with it?”
Jhudora looked as though she was trying to decide how best to decapitate the Quiggle with her fork. She took a calming breath.
“I want a sandwich.”
“A sandwich?” repeated Mr. Quigglesworth incredulously, because no-one came to Chez Faellie to order a sandwich.
“Yes. Are you stupid or something? Sandwich. Ummagine and peanut butter on toasted whole wheat.”
Mr. Quigglesworth looked positively heartbroken that his beautifully-crafted menu, created by the most brilliant culinary minds in Neopia, was being vetoed by a sandwich. Ummagine, at that.
“That will be all, you incompetent nitwit,” said Jhudora, completely oblivious to these tragical feelings and still incensed beyond belief at the Quiggle’s query about her odour.
“If madam will permit,” said Mr. Quigglesworth, eager to make amends, “I offer you this dinner on the house, in light of my, um --”
“Formidable display of imbecility?” added Jhudora helpfully.
“Free dinner, I’ll take it,” said Jhudora.
“It certainly helps with our little, ah, problem” said Sloth with a knowing look at Jhudora.
“It certainly does,” said Jhudora with a pointy smile. “That’s called karma.”
“Yep. Thanks, stinky.”
“He said it was a slip of the tongue, alright?”
“More like a spontaneous blurting of the truth --”
“Ahemahem!” interjected Mr. Quigglesworth in his annoying way. “So, dinner on the house. What will the gentleman take?”
“Hm,” said Sloth. “What comes with this?” he asked, pointing at a certain item on the menu.
“It is served with a side of vindictive asparagus.”
“I think I’ll get that, then.”
“Very well, sir. One order of Jhudora’s Large and Hollow Meathead. I mean, Meatballs.”
Jhudora bent her fork into a shape heretofore unknown to geometry.
Dinner went downhill from there.