Author's Note: Hello. Here is a ridiculous, nonsensical story involving language. It's got virtually no plot but I suppose it underlines my annoyance at how sometimes people cannot understand each other due to the 'tongues' in which they speak. However, it serves no other purpose except pure entertainment. Enjoy!
Don't worry if there are some bits you don't understand. The numbers appearing randomly by some of the dialogue correspond to some translations I've put at the end. Bon appetit!
Eine Katze dans la Cuisine
By M. G. Dempsey
Thursday evening. The restaurant was quiet as usual. This never surprised anyone, because its name, though German, did not have a very appealing ring to it. Das Essen, which in English means "The Food",was located on the corner of Derry Street in Hartley. A quaint little place it was, built in the late nineteen-sixties by some German dude named Herr Bauch (of which the translation would be Mr. Stomach). The chairs and tables were of a beautiful, deep-polished oak. Each of the tables was cute – a metre and a half by a foot, large enough for no more than two people. The chairs were cushioned with purple velvet. The walls of Das Essen were a splendid beige colour and contained old framed portraits of Bauch and his family. The carpet was deep, soft and navy-coloured. The windows had been newly replaced with double-glazing, and they did not quite seem to fit in with their older, more sophisticated surroundings. Shrubberies in baskets hung on chains. The lights were large, round and filtered with orange, casting the place in a warm, eerie glow, and they also hung from chains here and there across the white ceiling.
Bob, the new owner of Das Essen, was Bauch's oldest son, and now in his thirties. His hair was jet-black and his nose was slightly hooked. He also had a toothbrush moustache. He was tall, and one could see the outline of his cheekbones through his pale skin.
At this moment he had come to lean over the counter because his legs were aching from all the walking around. He sighed as his eyes skimmed the room. There was a young couple stationed at a table near to him, and a couple of old ladies discussing the prices of methotrexate over by the window. Business is blooming as usual, Bob despaired. He glanced at his watch: thirteen minutes past six.
'Are there any new customers?' a voice called from the back. Bob started at the sound of his brother Ben's voice; he had just begun to relax into a stupor.
'No, not yet,' he replied, annoyed at the disturbance.
Ben came out from the door to the kitchen. It was immediately obvious that he was the younger of the two. His hair was red (after their mother) and his eyes were large and watery. He had a bristly ginger beard and was shorter than his brother by about four inches.
'Oh well,' Ben said now. He walked right up to Bob and stared deep into his eyes, his own widening dramatically. 'The night is young,' he said mystically.
Bob raised an eyebrow as he looked down at his brother. He always was a bit strange, Bob said inwardly.
Just then the door to the restaurant burst open. In a flurry of snow a young woman stumbled in, cocooned in a huge puffer jacket, hood pulled right down over her eyes. Her arms were wrapped tightly around what appeared to be a thick, furry scarf. Bob and Ben were in their element; Ben bustled off into the kitchen and Bob stood erect behind the counter in his professional manner. 'Guten Tag,' he called.
'Oh, bonjour,' she replied clumsily, as she struggled to close the door while the scarf sat – writhing – in her hands? Momentarilyforgetting this,Bob would have been offended by the ignorance with which he was greeted,but he'd become familiar with customers getting the language of the restaurantand its staffwrong. So instead he gritted his teeth behind his formal smile as the woman came clattering her way across the room, bumping into tables and knocking over chairs.
The woman approached the counter, still having trouble containing her scarf or bundle or whatever it was. Bob frowned and wondered, how on earth can one possess a living non-living object? But for the moment he pushed that discomforting thought aside, and posed the question, 'What would you like?'
The woman pulled her hood back and Bob immediately went hard within his underpants.
It was as if the angels of Paradise had spilled over onto the earth; the woman was, quite simply, gorgeous. She had thick, delicious locks of auburn hair, which unravelled like melted chocolate and fell elegantly about her broad shoulders. Her eyes were enchantingly green and irresistible. Her skin was a delicate rose colour, and her lips were richly red. Bob wondered for a second, what would it be like to kiss those lips…?
'1J'amierais une salade et une bière, et un poisson pour mon chat.'
Bob stared at her. His mind suddenly hit a blank. The woman was speaking French. At least, he assumed it was French. He himself grew up in England and had a German father, and had never in his life heard a single French word spoken. So he merely grinned, praying to God that his incomprehension didn't show in his face.
Silence hung, and Bob felt his face grow steadily hot. The beautiful lady continued to gaze at him, calmly, patience etched into her visage. She spoke in the extraordinary tongue again. '2Voulez-vous que je répéte?'
Even her voice is incredible. 'Erm…' said Bob, without the faintest idea of what it could be followed up by. Thankfully however, the kitchen door opened at that point and Ben glided out towards them as if on castors. In a light, silky voice Ben sang, 'Gibt es ein Problem?'
'Une problème? Non, il n'y a pas de problème - '
'3Ja, ich habe ein Problem!' shouted Rob in a towering rage. '4Diese Frau spricht nur Französisch!'
'Truly?' Ben turned to the woman, and said politely, '5Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Oder Englisch?'
The woman looked innocently at him, giving the sudden impression of a lost little girl. 'Je ne comprends pas…' she uttered faintly.
'Scheiße!' Ben cursed, turning away in deep disgust. He and his brother promptly had a frantic, muttered conversation in German, while the woman stood there, gazing over them in mild interest as if they were on-stage performers who had forgotten their lines.
'6Was werden wir machen?'
'7Ich weiß nicht…'
Ben scrunched his eyebrows together in concentration. Finally he muttered, 'Wir könnten sie töten…'
Bob backed away from him in horror. 'Why on earth would we kill her?' he shrieked. He then glanced towards the lady to see if she had overheard, which of course she had; and to see if she'd understood, which of course she hadn't. Her expression remained indifferent.
Ben sighed, and said, 'we have to do something. 8Sie spricht kein Englisch!'
Bob nodded, and turned to her. He decided he was going to persevere and try to understand her. He opened his mouth to speak, but the thing in the woman's arms made a sudden squirming movement. He immediately inquired. 'Was ist das?'
The woman appeared to understand, either by the sound of Bob's voice or the inspecting look on his face, or both, for she snapped, 'Rien.'
'No, it's something…' Bob surprised himself by how he felt he understood that simple, short reply, because he was again reminded of a schoolgirl who had done something naughty and was denying it. He leaned forwards over the counter, which was easy because of his height, and amidst the thick coat he saw a small pair of bright-green eyes surrounded by ginger fur.
Alarm bells rang inside his head and his eyes widened. 'Eine Katze…' he breathed, his voice quavering. The woman again seemed to comprehend, in the way she frantically attempted to conceal the animal, but she was failing dismally; the cat struggled and writhed in her arms, mewing loudly, clearly desperate for escape.
'EINE KATZE!' Bob yelled. 'ES GIBT EINE KATZE!'
Ben came to the rescue. He approached and snarled at the woman, '9Geben Sie es mir.'
'10Mais il est petit et mignon!' the woman cried, clinging onto the beast as if it were her only son.
Still, the woman would not yield.
'GET HIM!' Bob thundered, spit flying from his mouth. 'GET THE FURRY LITTLE BASTARD!'
Ben performed an extremely gymnastic vault over the counter and dived on top the woman. She screamed as the two of them came crashing down onto the floor, and Ben seized the cat from her as if it were a handbag.
'Non, non!' the woman howled. '12Qu'est-ce que vous allez faire avec lui?'
Ben made no reply. The cat gave a horrible yowl of pain as it was wrenched from its owner's grasp. He got up and leapt back over the counter, clutching the cat in both of his hands like a rugby ball. He ran past Bob and crashed through the door into the kitchen.
The woman made to chase but Bob grabbed her by the collar of her sweater, and she choked for breath and flopped onto her back again. 'He's gone,' Bob said calmly, as she lay trapped between his legs, kicking and screaming. 'He's gone to a better place…'
There came a tremendous slam of the oven door shutting, then a rushing noise as a fire burst into life in its grate.
And the building was filled with screeching, followed by Ben's maniacal laughter.
The woman froze. Her face had gone white. She opened her mouth, faltered, then screamed, 'You seelly Eenglish!'
'Deutsch, actually,' Bob corrected her, smirking. She sent a knee into his groin, however, and his mirth was halted. He rolled off her in agony, and the woman scrambled to her feet, somersaulted over the counter and kicked open the door to the kitchen in a very Charlie's Angels manner.
Ben stood over the stove. He looked up, and upon seeing the woman framed in the doorway, her expression blazing in fiery wrath, he gave a frightened squeak and dived headfirst through the open window.
Now that that was over, the woman rushed over and pulled open the oven door. The cat flopped out, looking slightly blackened and dizzy, but alive. It gave a thankful mew as it lay cuddled in her arms. The woman took her pet and retreated to the dining area. Bob was lying on the floor, now dead for some unknown reason, and of some unknown cause. The other customers were eating contently, clearly oblivious to all the horror that had unfolded barely feet from them. The woman felt a slight discomfort at this, but decided not to dwell upon it. She walked to the exit, and turned. 'Au revoir,' she said, and departed.
La fin / Das Ende / The End
1. I would like a salad and a beer, and a fish for my cat.
2. Do you want me to repeat?
3. Yes, I have a problem!
4. This woman only speaks French!
5. Do you speak German? Or English?
6. What are we going to do?
7. I don't know…
8. She speaks no English!
9. Give it to me.
10. But he is small and cute!
12. What are you going to do with him?